Random Thoughts of a Romance Blogger: Changes in Reading Taste

Posted August 21, 2015 by Francesca in Random Thoughts, Under the Covers / 16 Comments

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CHANGES IN READING TASTE

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing Instagram and saw a post from Audible.com asking readers “What book was your first love?” and it got me thinking about how much I’ve changed my reading taste throughout the years.  I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm.  Both my parents always had books around, which I tended to not look at.  But I was sold on the whole experience when a friend of my mother gave me a copy of FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON by Jules Verne when I was about 9 years old.  I loved it.  I stayed up and pulled an all-nighter reading that book and to this day (although I’ve never re-read it) I can still tell you about my favorite one liner jokes and moments from the book that were my favorite.  From there I started digging through my parents mysteries and quickly devoured every Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot story that Agatha Christie ever wrote.

In my early teens I went through a non-fiction reading period where I was fascinated by books about real life mysteries, like IN GOD’S NAME by David Yallop, and on more spiritual subjects like MANY LIVES, MANY MASTERS by Brian Weiss (there’s probably nothing more strange than a 12 year old gobbling up a book like ONLY LOVE IS REAL in one sitting), only to be quickly followed by my discovery of Jane Austen.  Ahh the joys of reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE for the first time!  Growing up in Panama, I didn’t have the same “classics” reading in school as is often thought of.  I in turn had to read a lot of Spanish literature (and loving the poetry of Pablo Neruda).  Fast forward a bit, and I discovered the paranormal.  My love of everything that goes bump in the night.  And that led me straight to Anne Rice.  I’ve read her most popular work, as well as some of the most obscure.  By the time I was 18 I was reading her other pen names and feeling mighty disturbed about some of the things that could come out of her mind.

That was also around the time that I discovered Harlequin.  I went through many a cowboy, tycoon, Blaze and duke romance.  But I felt there was something missing from those stories.  As many of those as I read back then, I couldn’t even tell you one author.  I felt there was something missing from these stories for me and I actually took a break from reading.  Life, yes, being young and a bit wild got in the way.   When I picked up a book in those years was only about my personal growth.  Everything from the teachings of the Dalai Lama and Rhonda Byrne to Napoleon Hill and Robert Kiyosaki.

While I was visiting my family in Italy one year I kept seeing the Twilight book EVERYWHERE!  Seeing it reminded me that I really loved the paranormal.  But I still didn’t feel the pull to read it.  It wasn’t until the movie came out and I watched it that I had any desire to read the book.  So on a wild whim I bought the whole series on audio (I think at the time the last book was yet to be released, or had just come out).  I was moving from Florida to New York, driving a big ol’ U-Haul across the country and making several stops.  So it was the perfect time to listen.  As much as I enjoyed the series, it was still a while after I finished it before I decided to give audiobooks a fair shot.  At this point, I didn’t really have time to sit and “read”.

While browsing Audible, I found the Sookie Stackhouse series.  I bought the first book.  After I was done listening to it, I couldn’t wait for my credits to renew (the month after) so I bought the second book.  I devoured that as well in record time.  And so it continued until I had consumed the whole series up to where it was released at the time.  I was again hooked.  That was just what I needed to get back into reading.  But all I wanted to read was urban fantasy, just like Charlaine Harris.  I extended my limits to young adult a bit, although I preferred more adult characters.

Going back to romance?  Did not even cross my mind.  After the Harlequin’s, I didn’t think contemporary (or historical) romance were for me.  I was all about the paranormal once again.  But I sort of got through most of the popular series that I saw recommended in forums (yes! forums, we didn’t have GoodReads back then, let alone blogs or Facebook) and started dipping my toes into paranormal romance.  I went kicking and screaming, and maybe rolling my eyes a bit about the heavier focus on the romance.  But when I would continue to see contemporary series being recommended I still thought “no, not for me, not again”.

Until I gave one a try.  That first contemporary author I picked up after all those years was Megan Hart.  Broken, to be exact.  And I cried, and I loved.  And I had to have more.  So that month I read everything she had ever written (that was available on audio) at the time.  And that gave me the confidence to look for stories in the contemporary genre that would make me feel the same.  I found romantic suspense and how it combined my love of mysteries with my love of romance.  I eventually discovered Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series, and that told me “Yes! You can love historical romance”.  And the rest, well, it’s history.

I find myself looking back and comparing how much contemporary romance I read now versus paranormal, my first love, and see how things have changed.  How that balance has shifted.  And it makes me wonder why.  It also makes me wonder why I haven’t made time lately to pick up some of the other genres that I used to love so much.  Maybe it’s time to dust off some Agatha Christie’s and see how I feel all these years later.

So I’m fortunate to have had many “first” loves as my reading taste had changed throughout the years.  And I don’t think I would change that for anything.

 

How do you think your reading taste has changed over the years?
What book was YOUR first love?
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Francesca

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m a 30 something sun lover living in the Big Apple (read New York).I’m a book and coffee addict and lover of all things elephants.

I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!

I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.
Francesca
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Veronica
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Veronica

Luv it Fran! I think I have always been a reader. Mom said for as long as she can remember I’ve always asked for books. Started w/the Little Golden Books and graduated up to Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys series, Sweet Valley High, and yes, when Anne Rice released her Sleeping Beauty series, this chick talked my mom into buying her this “fairy tale” and I read with wonder and prob just a little bit of shock. I luv reading just about anything, but I think my tastes have changed over the years as well. I was always a… Read more »

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Under the Covers Book Blog

Glad to hear you’ve been able to find great reads through us, nothing makes us happier!

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Under the Covers Book Blog

And wait… I can’t NOT comment on the Sleeping Beauty at that age. Your eyes! Your eyes! LOL

Veronica
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Veronica

I’m trying to remember how old I was…prob a freshman in high school. I guess I’ve always been a wee bit pervy! LOL!!

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Under the Covers Book Blog

We knew that though LOL

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

As much as my mom read I didn’t fall in love with reading until much later…even when I devoured a summer to die by lois lowry in 6th grade and o pioneers by willa cather in 10th grade…I was about 21 when I finally fell in love with reading… it was a contemporary romance by jane gren called mr maybe…so it was contemporary romance for a bit… then I got into fantasy: anne bishop, r a salvatore, jim butcher, simon r green…then from there it was historical fiction: philippa gregory, bernard cornwell, marek halter, steven saylor.. ..then to historical romances:… Read more »

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I also went on a classics kick for a bit: jane austen, dante, bram stoker, homer…

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Under the Covers Book Blog

I do the genre switch now when I don’t want stories to blend or to not enjoy them as much as I would otherwise. There is a lot of same ol’stuff going around. 🙁 Lots of authors on your list there that I’ve wanted to read!!!

Sophia Rose
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Sophia Rose

I was a mystery and classics enthusiast at first, but now I love my romance just as much. I never really left my first love so much as took breaks from time to time.

Fun topic!

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Under the Covers Book Blog

I love to see all these mystery readers!!!!!

Christina
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Christina

Good to know that I am not the only one. I have switched around genres too. I started out with mysteries and then went to UF and PNR that still had a bit of a mystery element to them. For the last two years I have really gotten into m/m, which would be fine if I didn’t have so many UF and PNR books in the TBR pile. 😉

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Under the Covers Book Blog

Isn’t that the hardest part about switching? That you still love the other stuff you read and the TBR is never ending because you’re so into one thing (or a couple of things) that the other genres get left in the dust! Sigh, if only I could learn how to absorb the contents of a book by osmosis.

Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons
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Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

My tastes haven’t changed a lot. In middle school and high school, I read mostly Anne Rice and Stephen King. Today, I still read mostly paranormal, but I have added some more contemporary erotica like Tiffany Reisz and dark romance Skye Warren. I’ve also added some LBGT, mostly with Abigail Roux, but always looking for more. Paranormal romance and urban fantasy still make up the vast majority of my reading. I still add in a little bit of suspense/horror like the old King novels, but want to continue to add more.

Great topic.

Nelle
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Nelle

I’very always been a reader. From Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys to the Babysitters club then on to Fear Street. My first romances were those old Harlequin Victorian romances, you know the ones with no sex? Janet Daily was a favorite in the early years. Then I found my older sisters’ stash of Bodice Rippers! Avid reader! I would only read historical romances for years. I loved The darhunters though and that led me to loving the paranormal. Now I read such a variety! But those historicals are my go to genre!

Timitra
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Timitra

Charlotte’s Web is one book that has stayed with me since I read it I’m guessing 6 or 7 years old. I discovered romance at age 10, read historical for years then I discovered paranormal, erotic, contemporary…

Amy R
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Amy R

When I was younger 5th and 6th grade I would devour the Sweet Valley High, Cheerleader and Couples books. I always read all the yearly Mark Twain library picks to get the reward from school. I stopped reading for a years and started back again about 4 or 5 years ago.