The bookshelf meme of the other day got me thinking about my reading habits.
I began picking books from the adult section of the Mary J.L. Black Library when I was 13; there was no 'young adult' books back then, or certainly none that I was aware of. One of the first 'grown up' books I ever read was Sydney Sheldon's Rage of Angels, and I was blown away. Up to that point, I'd been reading the sappy 'tween' books, "Rachel hated being 14. Too young to date, too old for childish games AND she had a crush on her best friends younger brother... blah blah yawn blah". In Rage of Angels, I'd finally found a book that moved me emotionally while keeping pace with my need to consume plots and characters, and something that took me more than a wintery Saturday afternoon to read from cover to cover.
I carried RoA around with me for weeks, propping between the cover of my biology book, science text, or whatever class I was in (yeah, my grades reflected it)...
After reading everything Sidney Sheldon had to offer, I moved on to category romances - checking new Harlequins out as soon as they hit the circular racks. (Probably a good thing the Blazes weren't around then, 'cause those would have been one hell of an education for a small-town gal like me *snicker*)
I grew bored of Harlequin by age 17 and moved to Danielle Steele (The Promise *sigh* - I still remember Nancy & Michael. This is the first book that made me cry.), then eventually Johanna Lyndsay, Kathleen Woodiwiss (r.i.p.) and a few other romance divas.
Then it stopped. I couldn't pick up another romance or bodice ripper. I moved completely away from anything with any hint of romance and dived feet first into anything with espionage, guns or the cold war. Ludlum was my new god.
Fast forward, I went into mainstream and literary. I actually sort of privately scoffed at romance *ducking*.
My point? I've come full circle. On my bookshelf you'll find a little taste of everything, from Harlequin Superromances to literary - historical non-fiction, vampires, dukes and Borgias - courtroom dramas, suspense and chick lit.
What's important to me now is looking for a GOOD book - a well-written, well-plotted story that moves me emotionally and presents characters that I can relate to on some level and a believable plot (or convincingly unbelievable!). Now, where have a heard that before?
I've come full-circle as my tastes and expections matured. And if anything, I've learned not to shun a book because of it's genre or, to borrow a cliche, never judge a book by it's cover.
Unofficial Poll: How have YOUR reading habits changed over the years?
And writers - go check out Amy's musings on plotter vs pantser at Six Degrees of Sexy...