Have Your Reading Preferences Changed?

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

In the ten years I’ve been an agent my reading preferences have changed. In the last few years, I’ve been drawn to books that I wouldn’t have been interested in when I was in my twenties. When I started as an agent with Books & Such, I was primarily interested in fiction and had a strong preference for YA books. I still enjoy reading YA stories and lots of other types of fiction, but I’ve found myself drawn more to nonfiction these days.

I love reading articles, and while I don’t follow a lot of blogs, I read and enjoy blog posts that friends share on Facebook or Twitter. I use my friends to screen the blogs for me because I could spend all day reading them. There are so many wonderful voices out there.

Many of the nonfiction books I pick up are Bible studies, mommy help books (I need all the help I can get!), and books about finding balance. I wear many hats, so I crave a solution on how to balance everything just right. Since I haven’t found the perfect solution in a book, I find solace in reading about others who are just doing the best they can–working hard each day.

My fiction reading has taken a turn toward the realistic. I still love a great fantasy, but I’m more likely to pick up a women’s fiction or a historical romance.

I think my preferences have changed because I’m in a different place in my life now than I was ten years ago and my needs that I want fulfilled through my reading are different because of it.

Have you had a similar experience? How have your reading habits changed over the last 5 -10 years?

15 Responses

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  1. CJ Myerly says:

    Ten years ago I had just graduated high school. I loved fantasy, romance, and chicklit. I alsobread quite a bit of YA.

    Now, I enjoy romance- mostly contemporary, some historical, and some Amish. I don’t even attempt fantasy anymore. And chicklit is gone.

    I think my preferences changes because I reached adulthood, married, started a family.

    However I will always love romance. It’s what I read. It’s what I write. And those are the movies I gravitate toward.

  2. Interesting question, Rachel. I find that as my ability to read and absorb declines, I revisit old favourites more and more. Kind of like seeing old friends one more time, I suppose. And knowing the story makes it easier to stay in the flow; far less frustrating than always having to sip back a couple of pages.
    * When I pick up a new book, I’m much more apt to drop it quickly if I don’t like it, for whatever reason; there seems to be less of a need for me to justify my disinterest before the author, as it were. The time I spend reading is mine, and I can dispose of it at my own will.
    * I’ve become very selective in terms of tone; I really don’t need nihilistic messages, no matter how well they are presented. That’s not to say everything I read is about unicorns and golden-beaked ducks, but I have to find new ways to restore my morale every day, and what I read has to help that.
    * Finally, in the digital world, I’ve had to step back from following as many blogs as I would like; reading off a screen makes me queasy at any length. I regret that, because it’s also a stepping-back from the only social interaction I have left.

    • As a postscript, I should add, somewhat reluctantly, that no longer feel the need to be challenged by that which I read.
      * Part of this comes from writing my blog; having to face and write about things that I would prefer to ignore takes a lot out of my heart, and thereby my body. (Yesterday Barb said that I looked so bad that if I was a horse they’d shoot me, but since I’m human, it’s assumed that suffering is good for the soul.)
      * Challenge was nice, and it was good to open soul and spirit to growth, but right now I’m too tired, it hurts too much, and I think I’ll just light up a cigar and pop in a DVD…perhaps Ang Lee’s “Sense And Sensibility.” Or maybe “Godzilla”.

      • Hi dear Andrew, I have found on YouTube some absolutely wonderful descriptions of heaven from a man who died in a car crash and came back. I know some Christians think that can’t be done, but when I read “90 Minutes in Heaven,” and “Heaven is Real,” as a nurse, I knew those people had died and could not have known what they knew unless they could see if from the spirit world. I have thought this through as to why this occurs and did occur to Paul, and others since Jesus died and went to heaven. It is because Jesus made the way to hell and took the keys of death and hell with him, and also went to heaven where He sat down at the right hand of the Father. He made the way and makes the opportunity. Anyway, check out Richard Sigmund and his Journey to Heaven he talks about on several You Tube videos. Amazing! Wow, and it corresponds with other NDE of those who have gone to heaven and what I myself saw in my dream with my father in it. I think you and Barb would love it. And, maybe, seeing where we are going will bring you joy and
        ease some of your pain. Bless you my brother.

  3. Hmmm … I think my reading habits have changed some. I read more books that my husband recommends (he almost exclusively uses audible so I have to get the book from the library or for my Nook) and enjoy a well written book with a primarily guy audience more than I used to. Yes, in the past I might have read guy books just to laugh at them … who would ever believe that the hero is flying a plane load of ORPHANS and is attacked by unknown villains. But my husband recommends better books, thankfully. I still love YA, and MG, and cheesy cozy mysteries that involve lots of food. So some things never change.

  4. Weird thing I just realized, although I am 39 … I really do not like women’s fiction. Perhaps some of us never grow up?

  5. Yes, there was a time when I only read non-fiction. I was going through a rough time in my life, and I needed help. And I wanted real. Later, when the right novel fell into my lap, I fell in love. And it’s sweet to incorporate all the lessons I learned–all the real–through one season into the next.

  6. It makes sense that as we grow/mature/change, we’d see some changes in what we read … although I hadn’t really thought about that until this blog post. Good food for thought. One thing I see changing is that I give myself permission NOT to finish a book, and that applies to both fiction and non-fiction. There are some excellent “Christian life” books recommended to me by people I respect, but if I find those books were written to answer questions I’m not asking … I move on. Life is short, I’m not getting any younger, and there are still TOO MANY BOOKS on my TBR pile. May it ever be thus.

  7. My interests have definitely changed. When I was fresh out of college, I liked literary and books where people struggled with deep, personal issues (like much of women’s fiction). Now that I’m older and dealing with life and responsibilities, I prefer to be entertained. I do like the characters to struggle and to overcome something, but I need a little more plot, action, humor, or romance to keep me engaged in their journey. It’s tough for me to slog through a book where it’s only the character pondering his/her life. I’ve always been a big historical and historical romance fan, but I’m currently on a suspense kick. I think it’s good to shake it up once in a while.

  8. Peggy Booher says:

    I read a lot more non-fiction than I used to. It’s easy to pick up and put down without losing the sense of the story. If I were to take a fiction book to work with me and start reading it on my break, I’d get so engrossed in the story I’d forget to go back to work! That wouldn’t be good for my continued employment!

  9. Thanks for the post Rachel. I read both and always have four to five books going, so I can pick up what I feel like reading at a particular moment. I usually choose fiction for just down time or “reward” reading when I have accomplished something on my list. The way I distribute my reading is one fiction, and the rest nonfiction of which two are generally self-help that I use not only for myself but others who come to me with questions about various life issues. Then I typically have one that is related to understanding the Bible in some manner, and one just to learn about a subject. How do I do all this, I just do it like I did in school, make time for it and I don’t watch television except for news and about two shows a week that my husband and I enjoy, “The Voice.” or “America’s Got Talent.” And a movie from Pure Flix on the the weekend. I also love to read children’s books especially if the illustrations are excellent. I must say though my nonfiction reading has gone up in the past ten years about eighty-five percent in order to learn and be able to handle some of the challenges that have occurred in my life and the lives of others. I would read more if I had more time, and it would include humor, chicklit, historicals, cook books, a ton of magazines, and well, the list goes on.

  10. My reading preferences have changed. I am on a mission of sorts, with that comes a need to know. The more I know, the more I want to know, and know . . . the carrot is always in front of me. It’s a good thing I like most of what I read or I’d be tempted to head in another direction. It’s all good. Once in a while I pick up a fun read and there goes the day!

  11. My reading habits haven’t changed. My favorite genre is Middle Grade fiction. I read about five books in that genre every week, and only one or two fiction or non-fiction books for adults every month.

  12. Mason says:

    I have accomplished something on my list. The way I distribute my reading is one fiction, and the rest nonfiction of which two are generally self-help that I use not only for myself but others who come to me with questions about various life issues.

  13. Jennette says:

    Hi Rachel! Yes, I’m experiencing this and I’m glad to hear I’m not alone. I’ve always read non-fiction, especially self-help and parenting, because, yes, I need ALL the help I can get too. About two years ago I hit this huge rut where I didn’t want to pick up anything anymore within the fantasy genre (YA fantasy, my usual reading choice), now all I want to do is read murder mysteries. Or at least, just this one series for now. I’m 9 books in. That said, how do you think our change in reading preferences influence what we write? I’m a bit concerned about this since I’ve been writing YA fantasy as well as working to brand myself as such. Thanks!