Monday, May 09, 2016

Reshaping My Life: Reading habits

On Bookish Brits, which I really hope you already subscribe to, I discussed my changing reading habits during 2016. In fact, a lot of things have been changing this year and it's something I'd like to discuss a little bit more on this blog in the upcoming weeks. I hope you don't mind. I thought, because this is primarily a book blog, that I'd discuss the bookish thing first.

Over the last 5 or so years, I've read predominantly YA fiction. Previous to this, I kind of floundered in my reading habits, jumping between genres ... looking for my niche, I guess. It was a lot of literary adult fiction and I enjoyed what I was reading, but I didn't really find my 'passion' for it in the same way that I did YA when I 'discovered' it. Because I started gaining a readership on this blog from a YA audience, I kept at it. I love YA. Especially emotional, contemporary UKYA.

But recently? I've found myself feeling under pressure to continue reading and reviewing YA fiction. And partly because of this pressure and partly because of a change within myself, I've been yearning to read other things. So I have.

Here is a little pie chart I knocked up quickly to show you visually the different types of books I've been reading in 2016 and the amounts.

I think it's quite fun to see this change in my reading habits in such a visual way. Look at the almost equal pie slices of YA, poetry and (adult and new adult) romances! While it is still earlyish in 2016, this is a huge shift in a different direction. And I can definitely say I'm very much enjoying the diversity of topics and genres that I'm exploring this year. YA will always have my heart, but there is also plenty of room in my affections for other types of books as well.

As I mentioned in my video on Bookish Brits, the romances are in there mostly because they help me in times of dire reading slumps, when I really can't bring myself to read anything at all, romances are my lifelines. They won't always be as necessary as they have been during the last few months, but they will almost certainly always be present in a round-up of what I've been reading lately.

But it's the inclusion of literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry that has made the biggest different in my reading habits this year. And long may they continue, I say! The literary fiction book that I read this year I'd mentioned briefly in a blog post a few months ago when I first started reading it: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. This is a book of interconnected short stories about Vietnam. It's a book about war and the effects that the Vietnam war had on a group of men and their families and relationships but it's also a book very much about memory and about storytelling. It was a very powerful book to read and I felt incredibly emotional while reading it. Tim O'Brien is an amazing storyteller and the use of language in these flashes of stories were incredible. I was very impressed by it. I definitely want to read more stories like this.

I'll probably be discussing the non-fiction and poetry more on my YouTube channel, but just briefly, I've loved this foray into new areas. The three non-fiction books I've read are Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson, Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig and The Highly-Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron. I think it should be no surprise that each of these books have a focus on psychology. Mind Your Head is a non-fiction guide to helping young people navigate areas of mental health, Reasons To Stay Alive is a memoir/self-help guide chronicling the experiences of the author's depression and anxiety and The Highly Sensitive Person is a guide/self help book concerning the 'highly sensitive' personality trait, of which I would describe myself as having. Each of these books were very intriguing and they have helped me in other areas of my life that I'm hoping to reshape (and discuss in a later blog post!).

And then there's poetry. My love for poetry at the moment knows no bounds. This year I've read many collections of poetry which contained poems from many contributors (Poems That Make Grown Women Cry, Poetry Please: Love Poems, Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy) and also collections from individual poets (Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, 22 and 50 Poems by e.e. cummmings, The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy, Ariel by Sylvia Plath and Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda) and besides the ee cummings collection, I've loved them all. It makes me so excited reading poetry. I want to explore more and read more and ...feel all of the emotions from reading so much poetry lately. Reading this poetry has inspired me in more ways than one and I do hope to discuss that further in another blog post.

So those are the ways in which my reading habits have changed during 2016 and some of the books I've been reading because of it. I'd love to hear if your reading habits have changed lately and how? Do you have any recommendations for me based on my changes? Do let me know!

1 comment:

  1. I find it quite difficult to read away from YA, and I think that's because it's easier to find the things I like (characters and storytelling) tend to be easier to find in YA books.

    When I do, it tends to be 'lighter' fantasy/scifi stuff. I've found audiobook's a good way of trying books that may not be my first choice of the shelf.


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