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Beyond the Lone Islands

Thursday, 12 August 2010

BTT: Have You Changed At All?

Have your reading choices changed over the years? Or pretty much stayed the same? (And yes, from childhood to adulthood we usually read different things, but some people stick to basically the same kind of book their entire lives, so…)

Hmmm... I guess I will have to give another "yes and no" answer... Because of my tendency to still like children's books (at the age of soon-to-be-55!), and also in later years having re-read quite a few old classics, I guess I could simply say that no, it has not changed all that much. But on the other hand...

I think as a child and teenager, I had a preference for mystery, adventure, humour, romance and history, but not so much "fantasy" (even if I did have some favourites that were "more or less" that genre). In my teens I also read quite a few classics: besides Swedish and English ones also French and Russian (in translation). In my twenties, I studied English and German and history at the university; that definitely influenced my choices. I never acquired quite the same feeling for German literature as for English, though. It remains to me kind of "heavy" reading (even though the German books from my study years are really all very thin!). English classics on the other hand I have kept on exploring and re-exploring without the help of any schedules.

In my late teens I read Tolkien, and a few years later became a huge C.S. Lewis fan - not only his fiction, but also his theology and literature essays, and biographies about his life. From there I moved on to other worlds of fantasy as well.

In my twenties and thirties especially, I also read a lot of Christian books - theology, Biblical history, counselling, ethics, spirituality, mysticism and whatnot.

In my mid-forties my reading habits changed physically, because of neck-and-arm problems after an accident. I had to get used to reading more with my ears than with my eyes, i.e. listening to audio books. Borrowing most of them from the library, this led to some catching up with contemporary Swedish literature, and other books popular enough to have been both translated into our language and recorded as audio books. That means a lot of detective stories! I'd say a few too many, actually. Lately I find myself tired of them. Especially the all-too-realistic sort with super-abundance of forensic details.

But I have also had time over the past decade to delve into more fantasy worlds - like Harry Potter, and Terry Pratchett's Discworld. I have also read and re-read some classics that I had either half-forgotten or never read at all. As for none-fiction, I think "mythology" has dominated this period (trying to get behind the origin and inspiration of the modern fantasy genre). But also on and off some medical and psychological books about how to deal with pain and involontary changes in life.

To sum it all up, I'm more fond of fairy tales at the age of 55 than I was at 5, 10 or 15. I take comfort in the fact (for example) that C.S. Lewis, old bachelor and learned professor as he was, didn't write the Narnia Chronicles until he was over 50...!


gautami tripathy said...

Except for paranormal fiction, I have always read pretty much everything. It can only get better with time and it is...

Here is my BTT: Evolution post!

Lori said...

My preference didn't so much change, as it did...evolve. Here's My BTT

GB said...

I read a book once. It had a green cover (if my memory serves me correctly!).

Ginny said...

Yes, my tastes have changed over the years. I used to love true murder mysteries, not anymore, I want to not dwell on the dark side of life. But they are not the same thing as a good who-done-it mystery, especiallty the good English ones. BUT we are so alike in our constant love of fables and fairy tales!!! I have fairy tale books from all different countries that I've bought and haven't read yet, I LOVE them!!! Have you read C.S. Lewis adult sci-fi trilogy "Perelandra"? You would adore it, I read it in my twenties, three books,excellent Christian sci-fi. the series may also be sub titled "Out Of The Dark Planet", I'm not sure it's been so long ago.

DawnTreader said...

Gautami, Lori... I guess evolve is a good word, one preference leading on to another.

GB, it's a good thing my memory is better than yours... I know you've read more colours than green!

Ginny, of course I've read the Out of the Silent Planet series by Lewis. First time back in my late twenties and I've reread them later, too.


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