Let’s talk about reading preferences and how we’ve changed as readers.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how much my reading preferences have changed throughout the years.
Just recently I finished Brave, the last book in the Wicked trilogy, by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Long story short, I didn’t really like it.
And it just got me thinking that if I had read it back in 2013 when I first got into the community side of reading, I would have probably loved it.
I think it was a strong case of ‘it’s not you, it me.’
I like to think that over these past few years I’ve grown a lot as a reader and as a reviewer.
I used to only read heterosexual romances.
Before anyone says it, no it was not because I used to be a homophobic asshole. I may not understand relationships or sexual attraction all that well, but I know for a fact people should be allowed to love whomever they want and you can fight me on it.
There is this fantastic quote in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda that states it so well:
“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever.”
I agree with this wholeheartedly. I am not a big fan of labels, but default blanket stating that me or everyone in the world is “straight” is an ignorant way of viewing the world.
But I digress, I mainly read heterosexual romances because I genuinely thought I would not be as invested in the relationship. I distinctly remember being recommended the book Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat and being hesitant to read it mostly because someone mentioned rape and I think I was like 15 at the time, but also because I knew it was M/M and I didn’t know if I would care about the romance enough to read it.
I really do not know why I had this mindset, but I am so glad I got over it because I ended up loving Captive Prince and Damen and Laurent. So many of my all time favorite ships, so many of my all time favorite books, feature lgbt couples whom I love with all of my heart.
I also think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I did not really know any books with non-heterosexual romances either. I will always be so eternally grateful for the Internet for helping me discover new things.
I used to lean away from books with male protagonists.
Again, like with the “only reading heterosexual romances” thing, I did not think I could relate that well to a character simply because they were male and I was female.
I think in a lot of ways I also preferred female protagonists because I wanted someone infinitely cooler and stronger than I was that I could only aspire to be. I wanted a role model to look up to.
And while I do not think there’s anything particularly wrong with preferring one protagonist gender over another, I am so happy I got over it because there are someone amazing male protagonists out there in literature.
I distinctly remember my teacher loaning me a copy A Darker Shade of Magic over the summer and me putting off reading it because I knew there was a male protagonist. And hey, look at me now, Kell Maresh is honestly now one of my all time favorite protagonists out of all the books I’ve read. I love him and I can relate to him with my entire heart and soul. He is forever ingrained into my brain.
I used to hate third person perspectives and want to read only in first person perspectives.
This is probably the biggest flip flop, which also happened around the time I read A Darker Shade of Magic and Victoria Schwab showed me how wonderful third person perspective was.
I used to absolutely dread reading third person perspectives and would actually not want to read a book if it was not in first person. The only exception I had was for Cassandra Clare books because they are fantastic.
Now, I honestly prefer all books to be in third person. I find the stories to be much more rich and more fun because it is more than just one characters brain. While first person let’s you intimately get to know the main character, you do not really get to know everyone else.
While I do not particularly mind first person, I would much rather prefer it in my contemporary novels than my fantasy novels.
I used to force myself to finish a book/series even if I was hating it.
This is a huge one for me. One I am still kind of working on.
I distinctly remember forcing myself to finish the Hush, Hush saga despite hating every minute of it and want to throw the book across the room.
I also remember rating the first book five stars because I was riding the hype and I knew everyone loved it and I wanted so desperately to love it too that I forced my brain to pretend that it did.
Not my proudest moment, I am so glad I have gotten past that.
The truth is, all of these things? None of them are really true anymore.
While I do still try to finish every book I start, I am not afraid to not finish series anymore. I did it with the second part of the Selection and the Bloodlines series. I did it with Throne of Glass and I am so glad I did because those books actually filled me with dread to read.
When a book makes you actually not want to read, do not continue reading it.
I guess what I am trying to say is, I will always be thankful to Jennifer L. Armentrout and her books for being such a critical part of my past self, but I do not think her books are for me anymore.
And I truly think that it’s okay. It’s okay for you to change and grow as a person. It’s okay for your reading preferences to be different.
It’s okay to once love a book and maybe not love it as much anymore.
Perhaps I will check out more of her books again in the future. I did quite like the Problem With Forever, but at the moment I’m done trying to force myself into devouring everything she writes.
I feel like this could possibly be taken the wrong way, but I just wanted to share this so we could all have a conversation, so let’s chat!
In what ways have you changed as a reader?
I honestly just find it so fascinating how people can change so much that revisiting old favorites just lose their appeal.
Life is complex, people are interesting, everyone is different, and I honestly think that is so cool.
What did John Green say?
“Your now is not your forever.”
I know he was talking about mental illness when he wrote that in Turtles All the Way Down, but I’d like to think it still applies.
Let’s be friends!