books · discussions · shanti

finding new books

Hi Virtually Readers! My name is Shanti, and since the beginning of the year I have read 17 YA books, 7 non fiction books, and 9 adult aimed books. A year ago, those numbers would have been almost purely YA. My reading tastes are changing, and I’m coming to terms with that.

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I love YA books. I think it’s so important that they exist. I think they say a lot about teenagers. I think they are easy to absorb. I am so glad that I have had so many great YA books to read. But over the last year, I’ve noticed myself becoming more picky. I don’t just read a title because it’s hyped. I stay away from books featuring characters fifteen or younger. And I read non fiction books and grown up books as well.

I’m not planning on stopping reading YA anytime soon. There is so much that is good about YA (regardless of whether it’s a genre), and it is vital for teenagers to see themselves in stories. But I don’t like YA as indiscriminately as I did a few years ago.

See, the thing is that I know how to find YA books. I’m involved in this wonderful blogging community, and that makes me so glad. I know which books are coming out. I see reviews, I look at Instagram, I read threads on twitter. I know what’s going on, more or less. And that’s great. It’s so cool when you can share your excitement about books, about specific books, with lots of other people. Whereas for any book not marketed as YA, I’m not so in touch. I don’t know how to find the books that I’d like best. So I rely on authors I’ve liked before, or goodreads choice nominees, or lists on the library website. It’s a bit dodgy, at best.

The thing about YA is that it’s enjoyed by people of all ages. But the same goes for grown up books too. I know that there’s a thriving community out there for non-YA books too, one that I am barely on the periphery of. I have faith that I’ll find those people. I just have to be patient. And for the meantime, since I’m not stopping reading YA, I can continue to be involved in this wonderful blogging community.

In some ways, it’s new and exciting, poking my head out of YA land and realizing that hey, there are a heck of a lot more books beyond these narrow borders. I was at my parent’s friends house the other day, feeling bored and melancholy because I had nothing to read (or rather, nothing I wanted to read. I am rarely without a book/book containing device. She immediately plied me with a selection of titles—The Light Between Oceans, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, A Man Called Ove. All books I’d vaguely heard of and was glad to read. (Or, I haven’t read them all yet. But I will.) When I finished A Man Called Ove, there was someone I could talk to about it, not online, but in real life. Most of the people around me don’t read YA (other than Shar, obviously), so that made a nice change.

At the same time, though, this ‘new stage in my literary journey’, to put it particularly pretentiously, is scary. It’s not that I think that adult books are better than YA. It’s just that right now some of them suit me better. And that’s okay. It’s a new thing. It’ll take time. I have time to learn about so many new books.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I love rereading. There are some books that get better and better with each reread. There are some books that don’t. Books aren’t rivers. If you don’t like it anymore, then you know that it’s because you’ve changed. I usually have a good instinct about which books will improve with rereading, like Daughter of Smoke and Bone or The Montmaray Journals. I reread The Host once, and liked it better; I reread it again, and disliked it more. I reread The Protector of the Small in May, books I’ve been rereading for years, and found that the first two books were…less, somehow, though I continued to enjoy the last two. But I might leave them behind now, because I don’t want my love of them to be tainted by my inevitable change.

What does all this have to do with my changing reading tastes? Well, I’m trying to read the books that will grow richer with each read, even if I don’t reread them. Whether that’s YA, like Emma Mills, or adult, like Kate Atkinson, I want to read books that are enjoyable, not just because they are easy entertainment, but because they’re easy entertainment that shows me myself and the world I live in. I’m trying to read books I need. And I don’t know where non-fiction fits in there yet, or at least not yet.

But I’m excited to find out.

have you found yourself reading in different genres lately (or ever)? how did it make you feel? let me know in the comments!

 

10 thoughts on “finding new books

  1. i’ve read more YA after 30 than before 20 (when I was 10 I basically graduated from children’s novels to adult novels and completely skipped teenager novels, but when I was 32 a friend sent me “The Book Thief”, “The Fault in Our Stars”, and “Finding Alaska”, then I met you two.)

    The primary manner in which my tastes have changed is just that I keep getting more and more discerning. The older I get, the more quickly I notice that a book is poorly written, or predictable, or has problematic stereotypes.

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    1. yes but YA in it’s modern incarnation (as in fully fleshed novels and not, like Sweet Valley High, Hardy Boys, and horses, is somewhat new. Also I think it gets a lot more publicity now. I’m glad that I have helped you improve your life like this (pssst I think you’d really like The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan). I’ve definitely gotten more discerning too, but that means that more books are enjoyable though less are five stars.

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  2. I think all the books I’ve read this year have been YA and I reaaaallly want to change that. I don’t know where to start finding books out of the YA genre though…..You definitely gave me some amazing recs when we met up, but I’ve had almost no time to read (HOW HAVE YOU READ SO MANY BOOKS???? TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!)

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    1. I DO NOT KNOW HOW I READ SO MUCH LARA. I am perplexed. Yes there is so much good adult literature out there, it is good to not be narrow in our choices (was it you who read Eleanor Oliphant? if you haven’t, that would be a great place to start!)

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  3. I felt this way when I first went to college and started reading a lot of classics for my classes. Over time I realized that I actually gravitated more towards the classics than the YA genre I had basically stayed within for years, although I did like to dip my toes back into it every once in a while. It’s strange when bookish tastes change, but it’s also really exciting– so many new books to explore! ❤

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    1. I want to read more classics! I think I need to be in a more inspiring place with my English degree though :(. It does feel weird, but you get used to it I guess. It’s great, but now my TBR is huge so

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  4. I’m glad you’re keen on expanding though to fit your tastes! I think it was last year…or the year before 😂 but I started reading more adult fantasy and REALLY enjoyed it. But now I’m kind of circling back to only wanting to read YA, so I don’t even know what my tastes are doing haha. I do know the YA community is way more vibrant and big so I can imagine how it’d be a bit harder to find the sort of recs/reviews for adult books as we have for YA. But I hope you do find them!

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    1. I love the YA community and I definitely want to stay involved with that to a greater or lesser degree for sure. I think it’s okay to rember that tastes are fluid! also like YA doesn’t have decent non-fiction, just celebrity memoirs, so I do like the ‘general’ category for that.

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  5. This is also currently the stage I’m at. I’m trying to get at those backlist gems, those underrated gems, those diverse gems that are coming up this year but it can be quite tricky to properly balance them all out, you know?

    And I also find it hard to SIMPLY KNOW if I’d like a certain book or not so I’ll just check out random books out of genres I don’t usually read and hope for the best. And I’m also surrounded with people who don’t really read YA (well, my brothers prefer Fantasy and Superhero books but my younger one will read any contemporary I hand over to him. Though probably not in public if it’s a girly cover xD).

    When it comes to reading Adult fiction, I’m not really scared as I’ve been reading that genre for quite a while and the recommendations I pick up usually don’t disappoint me greatly. But as for Fantasy… it’s a bit riskier because so many readers hint at how Fantasy books are better but I read some of their recommendations and… I get disappointed at times xD But I won’t give up!

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    1. I know what you mean, Grace! I’m definitely reading less fantasy than I used to as well. Persistence is key I guess! It’s all about building your discernment, but not worrying about reading things that you don’t like.

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