Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Where Are You in Your Reading Cycle? Mysteries? Romance? Science Fiction?

It has occurred to me (not for the first time) that I tend to read in cycles. When I was very young, I was just so excited to be reading that I would read anything and everything. To some extent that's still true. When stuck in a situation where there are few reading choices (doctor's offices and such), I'll read whatever's available if I've forgotten to bring a book.

But my reading habits over the years have changed and, in some cases, have circled back around again. In my early school years and into middle school, I had a taste for fantasy  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, The Borrowers, Miss Hickory, and fairy tales of all stripes, including the scary ones were some of my favorites. I read those when everyone else was on to Nancy Drew and horse books (it was a thing for girls in the sixties), and a friend once told me that I read "weird stuff." I also read all the Little House books during these years (and reread them several times more in later years).

I graduated to romance (sometimes) when a teacher introduced me to Jane Eyre. I went on to read Wuthering Heights and romances geared toward teens (does anyone else remember that Beverly Cleary of Beezus and Ramona fame, also wrote teen romance novels)? These were also my Louisa May Alcott years. I was such a fan that a teacher refused to give me any more extra credit for reading her books. I didn't care. What was extra credit compared to reading a favorite author?

Then I segued to books I considered to be "important books" as well as popular contemporary novels. This was back in the late sixties, and I've forgotten a bunch of them, but I distinctly remember reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and some Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream comes to mind). Of course, high school brought on a lot of required reading, but when given a choice of an author to key in on in depth, I chose Thomas Hardy. Later, a college professor told me that I must be a very depressing person if I could read one Hardy novel after another. I suspect (don't quite remember) that I started with Far from the Madding Crowd, which isn't quite as down as some others and then went on from there. At any rate, this was probably my most pretentious era (although I will confess that between 7th and 8th grade, I discovered a bag of my mother's Harlequin Romances and I devoured them. I also latched on to Lucy Walker, who wrote Australian Outback romances).

College, where I was studying to be a teacher, brought me back to children's literature (I loved the kiddie lit course where we were supposed to read something like 105 books) and this was where I discovered Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series, which I still love and have on my shelves. Still, romance was never far away. This was the era of the Gothic romance (Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart...). My mother read them and then I borrowed hers.

And then the romance world broke open. In the years that followed, sex was suddenly allowed in romance novels. Historical romance novels became popular. I discovered authors then that I still reread today (LaVyrle Spencer, Jude Deveraux, Pamela Morsi, Mary Balogh were favorites ,just to name a few).

But I still (and always) came back to children's novels, most especially fantasy (Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series, Michael Scott's The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, any of the Rick Riordan mythology-based series, Harry Potter, books by Neil Gaiman). It's all good.
I seesaw back and forth from one genre to another. Right now I'm leaning children's fantasy, but I always have a romance nearby. (And, I confess, I like a good science fiction novel now and then, too. Mars by Andy Weir was both a good movie and a good book).

What's your reading history?

Share if you like, and if you don't like...just enjoy whatever genre you're reading right now!

Best wishes,



Laney4 said...

Yes, I too "read in cycles". Right now I'm into biographies and decluttering books (jumpstarted by the Marie Kondo craze). I've probably read a dozen decluttering books in a row, but the tips I remember best are Marie's (not that I follow them all!).

I too "bring a book (or two) to appointments"; I'm lost without them. Don't enjoy reading others' materials if I've forgotten mine. (It's similar to watching my recorded TV shows and rarely watching something that just happens to be on the tube.)

I started with Dr. Seuss in Kindergarten (I spent my first 4.5 years of life in a children's hospital 2 hrs away, so no reading there), then my mom bought me a subscription to Raggedy Ann & Andy books; I looked forward to their 2 books every month for a year (but they barely whetted my appetite). Also loved Noddy books by Enid Blyton.

Preferred Hardy Boys and was bored silly by Nancy Drew when desperate.

"Graduated to romance" in Grade 9, when man across street (whom I learned at 39 years of age was actually my biological father) was reading Harlequins and Silhouettes most spring/summer nights after work on his front porch while his mom made supper. He took me to a used book store that opened my eyes to reading possibilities from that moment on (1973). I have read at least 250 books (mostly romances) every single year since then.

No choices given in school reading material, but I did enjoy Shakespeare (for fun too) and Wuthering Heights. Started reading hard-cover romances as well - especially LaVyrle Spencer.

I no longer read long stories like LaVyrle's; prefer Harlequins that take me about 1.5 hours in total to read - or even novelettes when I'm super busy at home and/or work. Just don't want to be kept wide awake when trying to go to sleep at night; sleep has become WAY more important to me since menopause (when I don't often get my 7 hours of sleep and appreciate even getting 5.5 to 6 hours in a row at times)....

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Whoa, you had some interesting tidbits in there (first 4.5 years in a children's hospital? the info about your biological father...).

I especially love your eclectic reading habits. Isn't it great that there are so many choices to whet our reading appetites? (I read some of the Hardy Boys, too. I borrowed them from my brother. He had a bunch of them).

I'm not familiar with Enid Blyton, but I enjoyed rereading Dr. Seuss when my kids were small.

And oh yes, on the difficulty of getting those seven hours of sleep. I tend to fall asleep early (before 10), but I rarely sleep past 5:30 and 4 or 4:30 isn't unheard of (of course, I get up and read)!

Thank you for sharing! I love talking books!

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Laney4, you always have something interesting to add to the conversation (Plus, I'm fascinated by your skills with badminton, baking, life hacks and scrapbooking). Thank you!