Monday, 24 April 2017

Chuckles Chat #14 Changing Book Tastes

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I'm looking at how book tastes can change over the years. This post is about my personal book journey and how tastes have changed.

As a kid, I was addicted to Enid Blyton's child detective and adventure books. I could not get enough of them! Famous Five, Secret Seven, Five Find-Outers, Secret series, Adventure series, The Wishing Chair etc. I also devoured her girls boarding school series like St Clares, The Naughtiest Girl and Malory Towers and Anne Digby's Trebizon series. I also loved the Sweet Valley High, Sweet Dreams and Cheerleaders romance books for girls. My dad read me Tolkien as bedtime stories and Gollum was an obsession for a while. I had a horse book phase too.

And yet today, the genres I rarely touch are epic fantasy, romance, crime and contemporary! Where did it all change? I loved those books and had hours of entertainment from them, rereading them over and over again. Those who followed me last year will have seen me talk about my childhood book tastes and phases in a series of posts about my childhood reads and see how different things are with what I read now. What took me away from these books?

In my case the answer is simple. Stephen King and the adult library card! At twelve I was presented with a card for the adult section of the library. Forbidden books were suddenly available to the bug eyed young Chuckles as she prowled the shelves and selected some Stephen King and other books with scary titles! After reading 'IT' for the first time, I never looked back at the kids books! My dad introduced me to James Herbert 'The Rats' and the discovery of Richard Laymon was next. So began my love of horror, which I still read now, recently discovering Ray Garton, Jack Kilborn and Hunter Shea to add to my shelves. However my reading life ground to a halt when I went to college and work and books became a distant memory.

Becoming ill with depression was a game changer for me. I needed something to help occupy me but concentrating on anything was impossible. I decided to join a mail order bookclub in 2003 and one of the joining offers was a box set of the first four Harry Potters, something a work pal had nagged me to read. The moment I started reading it I was hooked. It awakened my dormant love of books for me. After enjoying the character of Remus I wanted something else with werewolves and a search engine led me to Goodreads where I suddenly discoverd the genre of urban fantasy through Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris and Jeaniene Frost. All thanks to Goodreads! I heard about a zombie trilogy by ZA Recht and when I read it, I fell in love! I had always enjoyed zombie films like Dawn of the Dead but this series was my first introduction to fast paced gorefest zombie books and I was blown away by it! Now I am pretty obsessed with zombies, loving the Arisen series and Extinction Horizon.

I had never heard the word dystopia before I joined Goodreads but I started seeing the wide range of apocalype books that were out there in mainstream fiction. I started in YA dystopia and read some good books, some bad. But things changed when I saw a free ebook giveaway to anyone who would review David Estes 'The Moon Dwellers'. I read it and loved it and that was my first experience of an Indie book. It led me to open this book blog to promote indie books and to Goodreads groups that gave away free review books. I don't know how many books I read in that first year but I nearly burned myself out! Reading these books meant Amazon started recommending apocalypses and a lot of indie books.

My impression of preppers was a vague thought of people with guns hiding underground waiting for nuclear war and driving tanks to run over zombies. It wasn't until I started reading prepper books that I realised that was the extreme end of the scale and most preppers are normal people who choose to stockpile and get ready for anything that might come. Amazon recommended two indie authors called Franklin Horton and Darrell Maloney and when I read their books I was actually pretty scared by the description of what might happen if a disaster occurs and you aren't ready for it. What would I do if this happened other than panic? It really made me think. This was my introduction to prepper fiction. To say it has become an obsession is putting it mildly! The tension and excitement I get from these books makes other books look dull by comparison and I can't get enough of them!

Which books inspired you as a kid and do you still read those genres? Which book led you to a genre that you now love? What book phases have you gone through? What are your comfort read genres? What books do you associate with happy times in your life?

This is a topic that is long so if you want to seperate your ideas into several comment postings, please feel free to do so! I am happy to answer each point you raise!

12 comments:

  1. As a kid I loved reading Nancy Drew, the Black Stallion series, and the Bobsey Twins. It was all about the mystery and adventure. Like you, once I started venturing to the adult side of the library, I began devouring Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Anne Rice. I still love horror today but looking back, I've pretty much always read a wide variety of genres. I never really thought I was a fantasy reader, but once I started Urban Fantasy books, general fantasy was a smooth transition. I really don't read a lot of strict romance books. There has to be something else besides romance to interest me. I still love a lot of the same genres but have branched out. After getting married, I didn't read for quite some time. I was busy with work and I did some crafting then. Once I started reading again, it became my main hobby and I've not looked back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved The Black Stallion books! I liked the ones with lots of horse racing in it though I don't actually watch the sport myself! Yeah once you get to the adult library there is no looking back is there! Real life does tend to get in the way of reading fun doesn't it! It's funny but the older I get the less I want to branch out...too many zombies waiting out there I think...

      Delete
  2. I read a lot of books about wolves and horses as a kid. I don’t read those anymore. I blame Stephen King for corrupting me, too. The Tommyknockers was the first King book I read, and it changed my reading tastes forever. There were a lot of years where I only read horror.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think once you discover great horror it is hard to want to go to something lighter! I certainly found that. Horror and UF will always have a place on my reading lists!

      Delete
  3. After growing up on The Hardy Boys, Choose Your Own Adventure, and the like, I cut my adult genre teeth on Stephen King's Pet Sematary. That was a pivotal book for me, as was Richard Laymon's One Rainy Night and Brian Lumley's first Necroscope book.

    Having grown up on Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, V, and more, it's no surprise I used to read a lot of sci-fi too. At some point I steered away from that, though, and mostly read fantasy and horror now. I'm not really sure why that is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a lot of fun with Choose your own adventure but I got stuck on the Citadel of Chaos and could never get a win in the battles. That sucked! One Rainy Night is one of my favourite Laymon books. I haven't tried Brian Lumley yet but I have him on the tbr. The funny thing for me is that I love sci-fi TV and films but I don't read sci-fi books much. Now that's weird even by my standards...!

      Delete
  4. Fascinating post! I started out with Hardy Boys and stuff like that and then sorta graduated to fantasy and SF. I actually discovered Tolkien spinoffs like sword of Shannara and the Belgariad before discovering Tolkien, but I spent a lot of happy hours in those worlds! I still read fantasy/ SF mostly now although I definitely have expanded my tastes to include dystopians, YA stuff and thrillers/ mysteries. Even the odd contemo now and again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is nothing like sinking into a really great book world is there! I used to try and get through my gran's old wardrobe into Narnia but I never managed it...You certainly have a good wide range of genres that you enjoy!

      Delete
  5. Isn't it interesting how much reading tastes change over time. I read the Little House on the Prairie books as a child and as a teen couldn't get enough of V.C. Andrews. I also remember taking my mom's romance books and reading those. I put reading on hold during college and when my kids were really little. When my youngest was about 4 a friend told me I had to read Stephanie Plum and I have been reading whatever I can get my hands on ever since. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always facinated by what people read as kids and how their tastes develop over the years. The good thing is that we have all retained our love for books regardless of the genres we read!

      Delete
  6. How funny, I have a similar story. I kinda stopped reading during college, but then I got my chronic illness and started reading a bit again, but it was rereading HP that reawakened my love for books and that was also the reason I started looking for more fantasy and books with magic and whatnot. (Btw, Lupin is one of my absolute favorite characters ever, though I actually don't care for shifter/werewolf books.) This was cool seeing how your taste has evolved! I have the same kinda post planned too :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll look forward to seeing your post on the subject too! I'm always curious about other people's book journeys and I enjoy seeing what they used to read. I think reading Harry Potter with kids might have brought some adult readers back to reading. I'd love to thank JK Rowling for that. College, having kids or starting a new job seem to kill our reading don't they!

      Delete