Sunday, October 4, 2015

Phases in My Reading Life

Like most readers, I go through phases of reading, and then abruptly or gradually move away from that phase (but often return to it later, in a new phase). For example, there have been times in my reading life – a lot of times, actually – when I have read many mystery novels, and then have gotten tired of them for months or years. (I posted about this on 1/27/10 and have mentioned it in other posts as well.) I have gone through phases of reading fiction from certain countries, from certain authors, and from certain “genres” such as “beach books,” “books about writers,” “books about books and bookstores,” "books set on college campuses," “books set in Manhattan,” “books set in Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard/Cape Cod” (okay, this one overlaps with "beach books"), “books set in San Francisco,” "books set in England," "books set in India,"and other favorites, often (but not always) connected with my own background and likes. A “genre” of novels (although they are generally not labeled as a genre) that I very much like and read large numbers of is the women-in-the-city-and-their-love-affairs-marriages-children-jobs-angst novel. This oversimplification and lumping-together is of course highly unfair to the novels and their authors, but I use it as a shorthand here. A few days ago I started to read one of these, suddenly felt myself get tired and bored, briefly skimmed through it to the end, put it down, and decided I just didn’t feel like reading more of this book or this type of books for a while. I had another novel of this type on my to-read pile, tried it too (the same day) and stopped reading it as well. I know it might have been just those two particular novels that I didn't like, or thought I wouldn't like, but I think it was more than that. I doubt my boycotting of this “genre” will last long, but it reminds me of the natural phases of my reading over the years.

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