5 Ways Reading Habits Can Change Over Time
This struck me as weird. One of my kids came home from school with a “Making Connections” chart for a reading activity. Students were to write down a fact or an event from what they were reading and then write down how they related to it. It was kind of like showing your work in math, except it was for reading, and I just thought everybody made connections when they read, but I guess a lot of kids don’t, and the kids that don’t make connections probably aren’t good readers. Anyway (after I worked through all that internally), I realized I’m probably lucky that I just naturally make connections when I read.
For example, I just read an article in the USA Today that shows how reading patterns have changed over the last 20 years by comparing its bestsellers lists of 20 years ago with current lists. When it comes to authors of fiction, the bestsellers list of 20 years ago looks kind of (but not completely) like today’s, with authors like Stephen King, John Grisham, Danielle Steele,and John Sandford still writing top sellers.
Though some of the authors remain the same, there have been some changes in reading tastes. In the early 1990s, a bunch of self-help books were bestsellers. Today there are fewer self-help books and a lot more fiction, especially series. Today there are lots and lots of series. In fact, there are probably waaaay too many book series right now (but that’s a different topic for a different time)
And when I started thinking about these national trends (here comes the…”connection”), I realized that my own reading tastes/habits have changed over the last 20 years, but not in the same way the national trends have.
5 WAYS MY READING HABITS HAVE CHANGED IN THE LAST 20 YEARS
20 years ago…
1. I bought a lot of hardcovers. I was proud of my hardcover collection until I realized (after getting married and having kids) that hardcovers took up a lot of space, were too expensive (even at half price), and very impractical. Why was I buying hardcovers for books I only read once? If I were only going to read books once and NOT give them away, I should wait a few months for the paperbacks. Now… I buy paperbacks and only get a hardcover if it’s in the bargain bin (or at the library).
2. I was a lot more loyal to authors. If Stephen King or John Grisham (or even Tom Clancy) wrote a book, I’d buy it. Eventually, I realized that authors who churn out novels usually don’t churn out GOOD novels. I also realized that authors wrote the same book over and over again. I got tired of reading the same book over and over again. It took me awhile, but I finally figured that out. So now I don’t read (usually) read more than three books from the same author.
3. I read (past tense) political books. I was on one side of the political aisle and read a bunch of books that agreed with me. I still have the same political beliefs I did 20 years ago, but I don’t want my money going to political blowhards. I’d kind of like to get paid for being a blowhard though. But I’m not going to pay money to read somebody else’s political views anymore (unless it’s funny… I mean, unless it’s meant to be funny). If somebody wants to pay ME for reading their political beliefs, I’m open to it.
4. I finished (or made a legitimate attempt to finish) every book I started. Now, I quit reading a book whenever I feel like it. It doesn’t even matter if I spent money on it; if I don’t want to finish it, I won’t. I’d rather have wasted the money (hopefully not much money) than the time. I’m sure I’m missing out on great books for a stupid reason, but I’m also enjoying some pretty good shorter books, so I guess it evens out.
5. If there was a book series I was interested in, I would start at book one and piledrive through them, no matter how long the series was. Now, if I know ahead of time the book is part of a long series, I usually don’t bother with it, especially if the series isn’t done yet. I figure if the author can’t tell the story in a trilogy, then the author needs a better editor. 20 years from now, trilogies might be two books too many for me.
A lot of things have changed over the last 20 years. Hair styles, fashion, and music tastes are different. Technology has changed. We’re even living in a different millennium than we were 20 years ago. In the last 20 years, I’ve gotten married, had kids, and gone bald (and all three were major lifestyle changes). And because of a “connection” I made while reading somebody else’s article, I’ve realized that my reading tastes/habits have changed over the last 20 years.
But enough about me! I’m sure I’m not the only reader whose tastes have changed over time. How have your reading tastes changed over the last 20 years (or 10 years, or 5 years or 1 year)?