Monday, March 9, 2009

The evolution of a reader's taste

I've loved reading for a very long time. The first book I remember having read to me is Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slodbodkina. I loved that story so much I could "read" it aloud before I could even read.

I don't remember much of the books I read from when I truly began to read until I was 12 to 13 years old, but I am able to remember a lot of the books, if not all, that I read during my early teens until the present and that is because I kept lists.

Reviewing these lists I have noticed a few books are absent (i.e. War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and Frankenstein). I'm guessing I either forgot to write them down when I read them, or I read them before I began keeping lists.

For those curious you can see my reading lists from 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by clicking on the hyperlinked year. As is evident by the titles and authors listed my earliest recorded years were dominated by Christian chic-lit. However, close observers will notice the occasional classic on each list. For example: I read a fare amount of Shakespeare during high school, though not all of it was required reading.

While posting these lists I read through the titles and quickly became aware of a few facts. First, and most obvious, my reading tastes have definitely evolved -- matured from what they were as a teenager. Second, during my college years and post college I read very little. I was really burned out on reading. Third and last, the biggest turning point in my reading came when I joined a book club. The ladies in that club have pushed me to read books I wouldn't have considered and that in turn has exercised my reading muscles and expanded my tastes. I still occasionally read chic-lit, but because of the book club I've learned to enjoy and desire more meatier works.

I think it will be interesting in another ten years to look back at the lists of books I've read and see how my tastes have changed once more.


Lenore said...

This is so interesting to see because I am actually working on a series about the phases of my reading life!

Carrie said...

What a fabulous post! I LOVE how you've always kept a list. I've regretted that I haven't in the past. I can only note what I've read from 2006 on and my memory is not all that fantastic and I forget . . .

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed this post.

Brittanie said...

I regret not keeping a list of mine also. I started when I entered the blogging world and did the Fall 2007 Reading Challenge. It inspired me and now I write it down. I don't want time to go by any faster but I think it will be cool to look back. :)

ღ Mey ♥¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨♥ღ said...

oh sweet i´m loving your blog... so much inspiration to me!

Whitney said...

That's awesome that you have a list for so many years. I would love to have one like that. I'm just now getting over the post-college slump. It's amazing to read whatever I want!

Quick question: how did you find your book club? There seems to be so much information online...but it sounds like a great thing. Thanks!

Sarah M. said...

Whitney, I found the book club I belong to through work. Several of the gals from work belonged to the group and invited me to join. The group started off in 1993 amongst several friends and grew until today it includes many of the original women and their friends and their friend's friends.

You might check at your local library, I know there are groups that meet or connect through that means. It is tough to find just the right group, but if there isn't one you want, I definitely say - start one!

Noel De Vries said...

I wish I had kept lists, too. I know I read Anne of Green Gables around ten or eleven, but when, exactly? I wish I knew.

I started journaling when I was 14, and always quoted a line from a book I was reading at the time, so that helps a bit, but let me tell you, I read a. lot. of. books. between 10 and 14.

That's one reason I love blogging, because it reminds me to log monthly reading accomplishments!

Amy said...

Very cool that you kept lists! i wish I had, but I still don't. Just not disciplined enough to take the time away from reading. :)