Around 25 years ago, while I was working in an academic library, one of the English professors came in to check out some books to read on a long flight. I happened to ask if she had read the latest book by some author. I don’t remember the title of the book or the author, but I do remember her response.
She informed me that SHE did not read general fiction as it had “ABSOLUTELY NO LITERARY MERIT.”
Do you read non-fiction?
Have you ever read a classic?
Do you enjoy reading fiction?
Now obviously she had a right to her opinion; I just did not happen to agree with the thought that everything I read had to be non-fiction or a classic, etc. At that point in time I did not challenge the statement. I had dealt with her many times and she was not the type to be swayed or to see any other point of view.
Every once in a while I am reminded of that encounter when I think about how we all have different reading tastes. What, if anything drives that? I know some people who read nothing but nonfiction and that is fine for them. Some love science fiction, others romance, mysteries, westerns, or other fiction. Some people don’t even like to read at all.
I started writing this post several months ago. Since that time the only parts that have not changed are the above paragraphs. I thought I had it all ready to go when I started thinking. Bad idea…..not that thinking is bad, but I have this tendency to way overthink things on occasion. I wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go. The only thing I knew for sure was that I did not want to get into a discussion of the merits of nonfiction versus fiction. Not even going to go there, thank you very much.
I had originally stated to write about my own reading tastes. Then I thought I would switch gears and discuss the different genres (types) of fiction and what draws people to each. While I have done more than my fair share of Reader’s Advisory, I feel that “nothing sells like experience.” For instance, I seldom read science fiction. While I could obviously talk about why people might like it, using what I have read or what other people have told me, I think it always sounds much better coming from someone who actually reads and enjoys it. The personal voice always means so much more.
With that in mind, I decided to go back to my original idea and talk about my own experiences, albeit with a slightly different slant.
I have always loved to read. When I was in elementary school, my parents had a hard time getting me to go outside to get some fresh air and play. I always had my nose stuck in a book.
Elementary school was a long, long time ago, but my first memories of reading were when we went into our reading groups. Back then, you were in a reading group according to your reading level. Even if you were in the lowest reading group, if your reading improved you could advance to a higher group. I always liked reading group time. We would meet in the reading circle and take turns reading aloud.
Another memory was going to our school or public library to check out books. I can still remember when our class would go to our school library. We even got to take turns assisting the librarian in checking out the books to our fellow classmates. And yes, that was WAY before computers.
I loved to read then and I still love to read now. I read both fiction and nonfiction.
Why do I read fiction? Well, I can list several reasons. I read for pleasure, to relax, and for entertainment. Reading is good for the mind; even though it is fiction, it still stimulates the mind.
Personally, I prefer contemporary to historical fiction. I read both print and e-books. I seldom listen to audio books, preferring the written word.
While a read a variety of fiction, the mystery has always been my favorite. Watching the plot unfold, sifting through the clues, ferreting out the “red herrings” the author throws my way, all in the attempt to figure out “whodunit?” And I will make a confession. Years ago, I went through a spell where the “mystery” was killing me and I would skip to the back of the book to find out the ending. I am much better now at resisting that urge. Plus, it is a lot harder to do when reading an e-book.
Well, enough about me. What about you?
Whatever your reading tastes, search our library catalog for a good read.