BTT: Trends


After a few weeks off with nothing to say about the question, Booking Through Thursday and I are back together.

Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

Of course they’ve changed. I’ve changed.

Beyond that simple answer, though, is a bigger one: the Internet and, more specifically, online book trading and BookCrossing.

I’ve always had a hard time finding people who read the same stuff I do. Pittsburgh just scored very low on the scale of people who aren’t sheep (or lemmings, take your pick), and so often, the people around me who read tend to pick up the latest Oprah book, or the latest Mary Higgins Clark or John Grisham… you get the point. The best sellers.

Once I began finding online book communities — and am now building one of my own — I’m finding myself exposed to so many genres, authors, books, and all the rest that it’s mind-boggling. I mean, hey. The wishlist I maintain here at home has over 1400 books on it, and I’ve got a good thousand more to enter from my pre-online days. (mostly of the higher-brow variety, which is one reason I’m not super hard on the trail of those books)

It’s refreshing to be involved with more than the literary set I was surrounded by during my grad school years. I like commercial fiction and have never made apologies about it. It’s what I write.

And with the book trading sites and with the friends I’ve made with whom I pass books back and forth, I’m finding that I’m more open to new ideas, plots, genres, what have you.

Well, so long as it’s fiction. Fiction has always been my true love; it’s just the way I’m wired.



  1. Bethanie

    June 5, 2008 5:40 pm

    I’ve always bopped back and forth between fiction (so long as it was sci-fi/fantasy) and non-fiction (the more abstruse, the better). That general trend hasn’t changed much, except that these days, especially since I started writing seriously agoin, my fiction horizons have broadened (come to think of it, so have my non-fiction horizons). I figure just about anything and everything has something to teach me. 🙂

  2. Florinda

    June 5, 2008 6:06 pm

    I know what you mean about the challenge of finding people with similar reading tastes – especially when those tastes aren’t in a couple of neat little niches, like mine (and yours). I agree that meeting other book-lovers online has made that easier, as well as exposing me to new reading options.

  3. On a limb with Claudia

    June 5, 2008 6:35 pm

    At least you know what you like and make that happen – that’s awesome! 🙂

  4. Susan Helene Gottfried

    June 5, 2008 7:16 pm

    I’m trying, Claudia. I’m trying.

  5. gautami tripathy

    June 5, 2008 9:05 pm

    I agree. Most in my vicinity are still stuck in he romance reading mode. I am the one who reads varied genres. Yes, net is indeed a BIG help!

  6. Lara Lee

    June 5, 2008 9:07 pm

    I’ve always loved to read and romance has always been my top choice, but I seem to be interested in everything. When I go to the library, if a book appeals to me I grab it. It can be about costuming, the internet, raising dogs, a cookbook (and I hate to cook), or a biography/autobiography about a politician, a book about magic or the middle east. My attention span is short and my interests fickle. But I never know when I can use some of it in my writing. I don’t think anything I read is ever wasted – even if it’s not apparent why I’m reading it. 🙂

  7. Thomma Lyn

    June 5, 2008 10:20 pm

    I’ll read anything as long as it’s good. 🙂 Love stories, literary, commercial fiction, science fiction, magical realism, etc. — if it’s got interesting characters in a compelling story that’s told well, I’m sold. :)BR/BR/Have my tastes changed? I’ve always been eclectic; still yet, my eclecticism has continued to broaden its range.BR/BR/Fiction is #1 for me, too, but I also enjoy non-fiction — esp. books on science (astronomy, physics, cosmology, and evolutionary biology are particular favorites).

  8. J. Kaye Oldner

    June 5, 2008 10:44 pm

    You are so right! The internet has really expanded my knowledge of what books are out there.

  9. Susan Helene Gottfried

    June 5, 2008 10:46 pm

    You DO realize, J. Kaye, that you are one of the people I can point to as being the broadener of my horizons???BR/BR/(broadener? WTF?)

  10. Darla

    June 6, 2008 4:47 am

    Online communities have made a big difference in my reading habits, too. The nice thing is that I’ve found, not just people with the same tastes I have, but people with widely different tastes who inspire me to try new things. BR/BR/I used to stick to sf/f and mystery. Now I read all sorts of things, including nonfiction, classics, and, most recently, some *gasp* bestsellers. 🙂 It occurred to me that I shouldn’t sneer without trying it out first. BR/BR/Speaking of finding people IRL with similar reading tastes–my just-turned-18-year-old son has two female friends who read a lot of the same things I do. I thought that was very cool.

  11. Bob-kat

    June 6, 2008 9:35 am

    It’s kinda like travelling isn’t it? If you stay at home then you are never exposed to all those other wonderful places and the wider your circle with books the more different genres you are exposed to.

  12. FRIGGA

    June 6, 2008 12:13 pm

    I used to only read fiction for fun. But once I wasn’t in school anymore I started reading waaayyy more non-fiction for fun. :)BR/BR/Happy Rockin’ Friday!!

  13. Winter

    June 6, 2008 1:57 pm

    I have no plans to start on my TBR pile. I am just gonna work on my projects until I get my autographed copy of Phury’s book. My secret weapon (aka Jen the BDB mod) got me a signed copy yesterday. HEH. I’m evil, aren’t I?

  14. Ann

    June 6, 2008 4:03 pm

    I’ve always loved fiction, but every once in a while I’ll grab a good nonfiction (e.g. Isaac’s storm, the perfect storm, or books about writing, myth, story, etc). I’ve even started reading some romances (considering how many of my peeps write them *g*). And ya know, if you ever want to borrow a couple… :)BR/P.S. when you come this way, bring your shorts, and sun screen (just sayin’).

  15. Jaimie

    June 7, 2008 10:11 am

    I didn’t find people with similar tastes until I started blogging! And I lived in a big city! BR/Lately when I see a young person or teen carrying a book, any book, I am happy. It doesn’t happen very often around here.

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