So many book bloggers – and readers in general – are very specific about their tastes. They read mostly YA, or mostly romance, or mostly SF/F, or mostly classics, etc. I, on the other hand, have what I like to call extended reading mood swings. Sometimes these swings last for a long time (possibly years), but eventually, my reading mood and interests will change.
Pre-blogging, the only kind of books I read on a regular basis were classics. I hadn’t yet found any modern fiction that I liked, and I’ve never been a huge nonfiction reader. In those years, when my mood swung away from classics, I simply went for long periods of time without reading anything at all. This didn’t bother me much – probably because I had three children in the infant-to-toddler stage for much of that time – and I didn’t really recognize the pattern as “reading mood swings” then. At the time, I just thought of it as periods where I wanted to read and didn’t want to read.
Since I began blogging in early 2008 and discovered a plethora of modern books I enjoy, I’ve come to understand these swings a bit more. I’ve gone from reading mostly classics (early 2008), to middle grade fiction (late 2008), to mostly YA and dystopia (2009 and early 2010), back to classics (late 2010 to early 2011), to modern adult fiction (late 2011), to various kinds of fantasy (2012 onwards). Even within the very long fantasy period, I’ve gone from reading adult high fantasy to children’s fantasy to YA contemporary fantasy etc. And over the last few months, I’ve started moving away from that, into what will surely be a very brief swing toward nonfiction. There’s no doubt that one day, I’ll swing back to my first love of classics again.
I don’t find it unnatural to enjoy one kind of book for a year or two before moving to an entirely different kind of book. My tastes are very broad, even if they’re also picky, and there are times when I’m just in the mood for something light, or from another culture, or emotionally engaging, or for escape, and so on. I admit, it does make blogging awkward from time to time, when people start coming for books of a certain sort and then I suddenly switch to an entirely new audience, heh. Regardless of the awkwardness, however, this is what I do.
You’d think, with liking all these different kinds of books, I could just read a balanced variety all the time, right? But that’s not how my brain works. Sometimes my brain can’t tolerate anything but old literature, and sometimes I want to read nothing but Harry-Potter-on-repeat for nine months straight (yes, that has happened before, back in 2005/2006). In 2009/2010, I fought against my brain, trying to force it to read a balance, and all I got for my trouble were dozens of books that I might have enjoyed at another time and instead found distasteful in the moment. Not good.
So I’ve stopped fighting. I’ve enjoyed my three years of fantasy, and if I want to read nothing but nonfiction for the next month, then that’s what I’ll read. Maybe after that, it’ll be something completely new for me, or a return to an old favorite. I never know where my mood swings will take me next, and these days, I’m just happy to go with the flow.