When The Well Rounded Reader Suddenly Finds Herself Not So Well Rounded

So I’ve always been a very eclectic reader. Sure, contemporary YA has been my main jam for the past couple years but I’ve always read a variety of things with it — all sorts of genres in YA and adult fiction. I’d say it was 50% contemporary YA and then 50% other things. But as I was making my top ten books I’ve read in 2014 so far I realized this year I’ve read A LOT of contemporary YA and barely anything else. And that was kind of true for much of last year.

As you know, I’m a mood reader so I just go where my reading whims take me and that seems to be overwhelmingly contemporary YA for this year and last. I’ve had a GREAT reading year so far so I’m okay with that but in some ways I’m kind of feeling like I’m putting myself in a reading box (this is not saying this is a BAD thing to read only one genre but it is strange for ME personally knowing how I normally read).

There’s half of me that’s really content to  just keep reading whatever is jumping out to me because I’m enjoying a good chunk of what I’m reading. But then the other half of me is wanting to force myself to stop reading contemporary for a little bit and branch out to some other things like I used to.

I don’t really know why I’ve been gravitating to just contemporary — maybe the stories just have been catching my eye more with how I’ve been feeling and what I’m looking for right now. Maybe it’s that, review copy wise, more contemporary is coming to me AND I’ve always BOUGHT more contemporary YA than any other genre so all my older reads are contemporary YA as well. Out of like every 25 reads, there has been like 1 thing that isn’t contemporary. Okay, that’s not real math because I didn’t actually look that up but that’s what it seems like. I’ve enjoyed the non-contemporary YA I’ve read in the past year or so but I don’t know why I’m not seeking it out as much as I used to. I even have many non-contemporary YA books I’m like really excited about. But somehow I just keep gravitating towards contemporary YA.

But this also makes me feel like I’m having a teeny tiny borderline existential crisis as a reader. I’ve always been able to say, “HI I’M JAMIE AND I AM A VERY ECLECTIC READER.” And it’s always been true. But right now I feel like that’s not accurate. And now I’m all, “Am I not an eclectic reader anymore? Will I ever be again??” And then on to bigger, more philosophical questions like WHY DO WE PICK THE THINGS WE PICK? Is there a science behind what we pick up?? (Okay, I’m not REALLY thinking about that too much but, for real, I want to know why I’m only gravitating to one genre right now).

I think I’m going to try and mindfully add some other genres from my shelf in the mix but just keep going with where my whims take me.

So let’s talk:

* Are you an eclectic reader or are you pretty much solely a reader of a certain genre?
* Do you ever go through phases where you gravitate towards a certain genre for a while?
* Recommend me a non-contemporary YA book you’ve loved recently or think screams THIS IS A JAMIE BOOK. (seriously, I read/will try mostly anything except erotica).
* ALSO, if you have any insight on The Science of Why We Pick The Books We Do….let me know! I want to understand my brain
haha.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. I definitely get into phases where I keep picking up the same genre. One thing that has really helped me stay eclectic (not that I’m suuuuuper eclectic) is having a reading buddy. This month our theme is read a book we own but haven’t read yet (since I am highly motivated by library due dates and put off the books I actually own). We’ve done a swap where we each challenged each other to read a book we knew the other was hesitant to read , in which she challenged me to read TFIOS and I challenged her to read The Selection. We also buddy read Cinder together since we’d both put it off for so long. It makes it fun to know I have a reason and a deadline to pick something up, and I get to chat about it with her in the end!

    I think you would enjoy Rebel Belle. The setting feels pretty contemporary but there is a supernatural element to it. It’s very funny and fast paced. I’d also recommend Noggin because it’s got all the same elements of a contemporary but with a sci-fi twist. And lastly, what about The Ring and the Crown? It’s historical fantasy but its got some pretty modern drama. I admit I was kind of giving the side-eye to all of these books but they really surprised me with how much I enjoyed them.

    • I love that you have a reading buddy you do that with! Book club sometimes forces me to read not contemporary stuff but for the most part we do end up reading a lot of contemporary!

      I’ve been interested by Rebel Belle (also the cover is really pretty!). Noggin and The Ring and the Crown are books I have so YAY! Thank you for the recs!

  2. I like to read a bit of everything, if it’s a good book, hand it over, but contemporary is my favourite and has been forever. I’m a proud contemp fan and it’s what I read mostly. To answer your question on The Science of Why We Pick The Books We Do…I think it’s because we tend gravitate to awesome books (and you have to admit, contemporary is pretty badass) and generally, we know what we like to read. That’s not to say you like every book, but maybe you’re attracted to ones you have great potential? I don’t know if I’m making much sense. Whoops!

    • *maybe you’re attracted to ones who show great Jamie potential

    • Yeah I definitely know that contemporary YA (at least for the near future) will always be my first love! It’s like…I LOVE other kinds of books…especially when I’m reading them….but my eye always goes right to the contemporary ones when I’m picking out books to read. And I like your answer…contemporary books ARE awesome and I know that they work for me a lot of time. Maybe that IS why? With contemporary I think maybe it IS a lot easier for me to pick out a “Jamie” book than it is in other genres? Maybe that’s why I keep gravitating towards those ones!

  3. Hi Jamie,
    Like yourself, I often describe myself as an eclectic reader (and for the most part it’s true) but I definitely go through phases of reading more of particular genres/forms – for instance, I used to read lots of short stories but for the past year I’ve found even the idea of them dissatisfying and a chore to read. I also used to read more biographies and books of letters but these have now fallen by the wayside. At the moment I’m reading lots of contemporary literary & womens fiction, particularly books by young, debut authors because I feel like I need something fresh, something that reflects my own life. And I think that is what it comes down to – you need and crave different books and different times of your life. In my early twenties, when I first moved to London and was trying to better myself (and lets face it, impress!) I read lots of literary classics & classic London novels, along with lots of pretentious poetry and biography (I was also working in a bookshop at the time so I needed the knowledge!) Now I’m older (and no longer chained to a bookstore) I don’t care what people think as much so I am reading purely for pleasure and I’m seeking things that represent the stage of life I am at, about to get married, thinking of children, that kind of thing.
    My recommendation to you would be a wonderful book called FRIENDSHIP by Emily Gould (due out in the UK on July 3rd) It’s about two 30-year-old girlfriends living in New York, struggling to find satisfying work, to make money, to find love and to survive in the city. The characters are wonderful and the situations they find themselves in are comic yet touching. This novel will no doubt attract comparisons to GIRLS the TV show and frankly they will be well deserved. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Friendship-Emily-Gould/dp/0349004390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403255459&sr=8-1&keywords=friendship+emily+gould

    • Yeah, I definitely think that makes sense. I think I’m looking for really reflective, soul-hitting kinds of books and most of the time, in the past, contemporary YA has been where I’ve really found some of those books. They are just so honest and I think, just where I’m at right now, I’m wanting those sorts of books. Not to say that I kind find it in other genres but I’ve really had great success finding those books in contemporary YA.

      Definitely adding Friendship to my tbr! Thanks for that rec!

      Thank you for that very thoughtful comment! I’ve been wanting to also read books reflecting where I’m at — late 20’s– but I have SUCH a hard time finding stuff!

  4. In 2012/13 I pretty much only read dystopian, with a couple of books from other genres thrown in, but this year I’ve been reading quite a lot of contemporary and romance. I think the reason I read so much dystopian / contemporary is because of the Booktube channels I’m subscribed too, a lot of those feature those genres so I get excited about that.

    I’m trying to expand what I read more but I’m not going to read something because I feel I have to because I won’t enjoy it. So if I feel like picking up historical fiction I will but I’m not going to force it.

    • I think that’s a good point! Sometimes trends within communities can really affect what we are picking up. I do think that’s true because I used to not be sent a ton of contemporary YA for review in this one mass mailing package I get from a publisher (because they weren’t publishing a ton of contemporary bc dystopian stuff was all the rage) but now I’m seeing about half contemporary and half other genres from them which is great.

      And yeah, I’m with you on that! The weird thing is with me? I FEEL like reading all these other genres but when I am standing in front of my bookshelf I just like go into default mode and end up with a contemporary YA haha

  5. For awhile I felt like I was a very one-track reader. I got back into reading with the dystopian craze and that’s all I read for awhile. Well, now that’s all changed. I read a wide variety of things now and even started getting into contemporary (which was so not my thing a few months ago) this year. And I’m loving it! But who knows? Maybe I’ll limit myself to fantasy soon. I think it’s just phases that I go through so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I’m trying to think of a non-contemporary that I’ve read that you would love and also haven’t read… Have you read A Mad Wicked Folly? (Historical Fiction) Loved that one! Um… I really should have more. Come back to me? Lol

    • Ooh I haven’t read A Mad Wicked Folly yet but I heard excellent things!!

      And yeah, I thought maybe it was just a phase but now it’s gone on for a while haha. Maybe a really LONG phase?? I just want to go back to being the eclectic reader I was but I can’t pry myself away from the contemporary YA!

  6. I am definitely a very eclectic reader and am one of those who reads whatever she feels like reading at the time. Until a year or two ago, though, I rarely ever read contemporary YA, but a good friend of mine changed that. Since then, your recommendations here on the blog and the recommendations of many others have allowed me to discover even more amaxing contemporaries. Sometimes I worry that one day all I will ever read is contemporary fiction, too. The genre is so full of brilliant reads and more and more titles are being released than ever before! But then I realize, if it ever happens that i stop reading all genres but contemporary, that day is still so far off. I look at my shelves and see that I still have so many fantasy and historical and sci fi novels to read. One genre that I do think I’m done with is paranormal, though.

    Not sure what the point of all my rambling has been, but I think you should read whatever it is that you want to read. You are never “putting yourself in a box” if there is ANY reading material in feont of you. Even different contemporaries take you to different places.

    • yeah, I’ve been trying not to “stress” about it because I’m reading things I like but I’m like CRAVING those other reads but still keep picking up contemporary haha. AND YAY I’m glad I’ve been able to help you in your contemporary YA reading journey! :)

  7. I try to read a little bit of everything, but I never force myself into reading something that I’m just not feeling. I used to have a rule where I would read one YA book and then one adult book. It worked out for a while but I felt like I was putting pressure on myself and sometimes I just really wanted to read another YA book or vice versa. So now I pretty much just read whatever I’m feeling.

    However, I don’t want to become a one trick pony. I want there to be diversity in my reading selections. I want to be reading new YA and classics so I like the idea of a TBR jar. Putting in a bunch of titles that I want to read but probably wouldn’t automatically pick up. Picking one a month and carve out time for that title during my month. That way I’m bringing something new into my life, and maybe I’ll end up finding new favorite.

  8. I’m a very eclectic reader, but I have to be. It’s kind of my job. I read not only a variety of genres, but formats as well. Perhaps that’s a way you could mix it up? Try audiobook or graphic novels. Or maybe if you’re not into adult or YA fantasy, try middle grade.

    People select books to read based on what they are exposed to and what they are in the mood for.

    My favorite YA fantasy series are Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers.

    If you want to try some adult fiction, I recommend anything by Laura Moriarty or Curtis Sittenfeld.

  9. I have gone through so many phases the past 8 years (since the beginning of my reading obsession). It started with Chick Lit, then YA Paranormal, back to Chick Lit/Adult Contemp, to Erotica, to NA. Now I’m trying to mix it all up, and I’d like to say I’m an eclectic reader. I love to read suspense/mysteries and I enjoy some fantasy, so I’ve been adding anything to my TBR list that sounds good within all of those categories I mentioned. Because like you, I am an extreme mood reader and I never know day to day what I’m going to be in the mood to read. I’m not sure why our brains do that to us – I have read a pretty good mix lately, but I definitely gravitate more towards New Adult lately.

  10. Mandy W says:

    Heh, I’ve been having similar thoughts myself! Or at least for my review books, which aren’t the only ones I read. I keep a spreadsheet of all the ones I review (yeah, I could just use GR, but I like the way mine’s set up better because I’m an organization nerd), and I’m currently in a string of contemporary. And before that, it was sci fi.

    But like you, the books I’ve been reading have been pretty good! And since I mix it up with books that I don’t need to review, it’s not so much reading fatigue than it is writing fatigue. I recently scheduled my reviews into August, and I shuffled some around so that I’m switching genres every week.

    It’s tough, though! Whenever there are months when ALL THE BOOKS are released, there’s like a glut of books I want to review but CAAAAAN’T. Esp. the books that need deserve more attention. #BookBloggerProblems

  11. You know my love for contemporary reads (everyone knows my love for them! lol), but I get what you’re saying. Sometimes you want to step outside the routine and try something different. That is why I have been trying to make an effort to read outside my comfort zone (I posted about this a few months ago). I read Graceling & Fire by Kristin Cashore and LOVED both. I’m planning to read Throne of Glass soon, too. My way of mixing things up a bit, but still reading what I enjoy could mean switching from a YA to an Adult read. Sure, it’s still contemporary, but the feel of the book is completely different. The themes and messages are so diverse.

  12. Yeah, I’ve always been a very eclectic reader as well… that said, it’s okay to gravitate towards one genre or one age group more than another. Everyone has their tastes. In regards to genres, sci-fi has always been my main thing. But I grew up with a comic book artist dad so what do you expect? Haha. I’ve always been into fantasy but high fantasy has always been a challenge though I’m opening myself up to it more and more. Contemporary has to really grab me but at the same time, it’s like there’s an alarm in me or something when I haven’t read a contemporary in awhile because every now and then, I’ll stop everything and think, “I haven’t read a contemporary in awhile,” and I will drop everything to take a day or three to read one or three. And then I’ll be good for awhile. And other genres I’d say I’m pretty well rounded in as well though now that I think about it, I’ve read more genres in YA and in graphic novels than I have in adult. In adult, I tend to stick to literary fiction, women’s fiction, and thrillers. I also love, love, love memoirs. But with memoirs, I can’t read depressing ones back to back. I have to mix it up. Anyway, as far as recommendations go, read anything and by anything, I mean everything that’s written by Victoria Schwab.

  13. Before I started blogging, I read paranormal and fantasy almost exclusively. It was just the type of book that appealed to me. But since I’ve been blogging (and reading LOTS of other blogs), I’ve found so many other types of books that sound so interesting that I’ve spread my wings. I now find myself reading almost as much contemporary as paranormal/fantasy – still lots of YA, but also some NA and some adult thrown in as well. I also occasionally now read something completely different – a historical romance, a thriller, a horror novel, literary fiction or some chick lit thrown in there now and again. I find that the best way to keep myself eclectic is to visit a variety of blogs and see what books people are raving about!

  14. Awhile ago, I started intentionally alternating my reading. I found that if I read too many books of the same type in a row then I eventually got burnt out on reading altogether and it took awhile to come back. So now, to prevent that, I read more or less as follows:
    “Light” Fiction
    Nonfiction – history/biography
    Literary Fiction/Genre Fiction
    Nonfiction – pop science/medical
    Classic Fiction
    start over
    I don’t necessarily stick to that precisely, and if I REALLY want to read a specific book I just do it. But that keeps me from getting stuck in one genre and forgetting about all the others I like.

  15. I am a very eclectic reader. I read books from all over the place, and since I’m not a mood reader, if I notice I’ve been reading a lot of one genre, I can just pick up one from another without a problem. I had noticed that I was reading a ton of YA Sci-Fi and Dystopians so far this year, which is great since I’ve discovered that I loooooove it, but now I’m consciously throwing in some more Adult Chick Lit and Urban Fantasy. Maybe I do that just so I can continue to say I’m an eclectic reader (I mean, I don’t want to have to change my banner!) or maybe I really do just need a wide variety of genres to be content as a reader. Either way, I just want to read what I want whether that’s 70% Sci-Fi or a more balanced mix.

  16. As the months get warmer, all I want to do is read contemporary. Give me road trip books! Give me books with beach settings! Give me travel books! In fact, I usually stick to contemporary year round, except for around Halloween when I want paranormal books. Lately I, too, noticed I was reading a lot of contemporary and opted for a historical fiction but couldn’t get into it! All I wanted was… yes, contemporary. And that’s okay. At least I know what I like. :)

    By the way, totally reading Wish You Were Italian right now. I think it was your Mary-Kate and Ashley Trevi fountain picture that convinced me it should be my next read. :)

  17. I just finished reading The Storied Life of A.J. Friky by Gabrielle Zevin. It was wonderful and it’s all about loving books and it just made me so happy. I highly recommend it.

  18. Girl, it’s like you’re in my brain today. I’ve always been a really eclectic reader too: adult, middle grade, YA, and in just about every genre. I took a lot of pride in this. Lately, though, I’ve been reading mostly YA and I’m feeling less urges to branch out into adult and middle grade after a few failures. It’s probably just a phase, but I feel a bit like I should be trying to keep my reading balanced. But THEN the other part of me is like DUDE, READ WHAT YOU WANT. So yeah. I don’t know. I’m also reading so much more contemporary than I used to. My top books so far this year are almost half contemporary, even though I still think of fantasy as my favorite genre.

    I think we’re both okay, and I think we’re both still eclectic readers. We’re just in a phase where we want what we want. There’s nothing wrong with that, even if it does feel a bit odd. *hugs*

    Hmmm, a rec or five: Something Strange & Deadly, Poison (Bridget Zinn), Croak (Gina Damico), Touching the Surface, The Goose Girl.

  19. I’d say I’m a pretty eclectic reader, though I’m not as well rounded as most people. I tend to stick firmly in the science fiction and fantasy realm, very rarely wandering into contemporary.

    I totally go through phases where I gravitate more towards one thing than another. My standard gravitation cloud includes paranormal romance/urban fantasy, erotica, high fantasy, zombie books and YA. There’s no real rhyme or reason to what I’ll gravitate towards next. Right now I’m in a huge high/epic fantasy kick. Not that I’m complaining, but it certainly cuts down my ‘books read’ number when the books are twice the length.

    Oh goodness. I don’t know if you’ll like it, but Joss Whedon did. I absolutely devoured The Girl With All The Gifts earlier this week. It’s kept me in that book high since, so even my slight disappointment in Ruin and Rising hasn’t sullied my forward reading momentum.

    Also, hey, out of curiosity, do your movie tastes run the same as your book tastes? I know there’s not a lot of contemporary teenage romances out there that aren’t comedies… and there seems to be a decline in them since the late 90’s but it’d be curious to see if your other media tastes reflect your book ones.

  20. I like to think of myself as an eclectic reader but I also know that I go though phases. Currently, I am reading a lot of biographies and memoirs but a few months ago everything I was reading was fantasy. A trend I have noticed with my own reading is that I am always reading more than one book which wasn’t the case a few years ago. Makes me wonder if my attention span is decreasing…does anyone else have that problem?

    I would recommend you check out the The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Those are both books that made me fall in love with the respective authors.

  21. Probably an odd-ball commenter here, but I’m a fellow reader who doesn’t write a blog. I enjoy reading blogs, though, and I have gone through similar stages like the one you mention. What worked for me was intentionally exploring more diversity in the blogs I was reading. There are many that I love that are mostly YA – which is great! But I thought about it and discovered my recommendations were all coming from very similar sources. I tried finding more blogs that incorporate adult fiction and nonfiction titles too. With more options coming through my feed, I am more likely to discover titles that are out of the YA contemporary box. However, like other commenters mention, if you are simply ‘feeling’ a genre and having a strong reading year, I think you should continue to go where your whims take you. :)

    Random book recs: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, The Wednesday Wars, The Distant Hours, Left Neglected

  22. I have an eclectic taste in books too, but I am also a mood reader like you too. Sometimes I get stuck reading a lot of the same type of book and others I am all over the place. Lately I’ve been trying to mix it up so that I feel a little more well rounded. :) I wish you luck with reading a little more from other categories.

  23. Ah, you see, i think i’m the opposite. I don’t think i read a lot of contemporary. But then, “contemporary” is/can be such a broad genre. Personally, i place it on books that have no other clear genre. I would synonymise “contemporary” with “boring”–unfairly, i am aware… but if a book has no genre other than “modern” i find it has little thrill for me. Those are the kind of normal, average, nothing-ing books that, well, i can enjoy, but don’t grip me. I can’t read constantly, because they aren’t interesting enough.

    I think that i would claim dystopian as my favoured genre also helps explain why i personally see contemporary–as a genre–dull.

  24. I’ve definitely noticed that you’re a real contemporary girl! I’m a paranormal/fantasy person. My favourite genre is epic/high fantasy but I can’t seem to find much of it and always end up reading paranormal fantasy it seems. In the last year however, I’ve really been reading a lot of Dystopian/post-apocalyptic stuff. This can clearly be seen by my bookshelf – I have a contemporary shelf, a paranormal/fantasy one, and a sci-fi/post apocalyptic/Dystopian one. My contemporary shelf is nowhere near as full as my paranormal and sci-fi ones. I own a lot of the latter but I actually haven’t read a lot of them because I’m a mood reader too. And most of the time my mood gravitates me towards paranormal. Looking at my ratings, contemporaries don’t get as high ratings as paranormals for me. I give paranormals a lot of 3s and 4s but very rarely 5s – with the exception of Melina Marchetta, Gayle Forman and John Green. I tend to give paranormals a lot more 4s and 5s.
    I think a book you would enjoy is Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington :D I highly, highly recommend it. It’s published as One Past Midnight in the US. And if you haven’t read it yet, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (:

  25. I like to think that I am an eclectic reader. I do, without a doubt, have a variety of genres on my shelves and do read a mixture. However, I tend to get in phases. I will find myself one month on a contemporary kick, but then the following month I will be solely focusing on dystopian. And it isn’t on purpose- I will tend to just randomly choose a book and then after reading it I find myself wanting more of that genre. For example, I have been reading Harry Potter and I thought I could read something in between the HP books, so I picked up a contemporary, but only 20 pages in I couldn’t get into it. I was itching to just get back into HP because I am currently enthralled not just by the HP world, but the fantasy genre in general.

    I am trying to think of a non-contemporary to recommend to you… have you read the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy? Some say the first one is a bit slow, but I personally loved it- it introduces a really interesting world and then it sets up the second book, Days of Blood & Starlight really well. The second one really goes more into the fantasy world and has more going on. Then, the third one I have yet to read, but there have been nothing, but excellent reviews on it.

  26. I wouldn’t call that a bad thing. One of the perks of being a blogger is that you read other reviews of books you haven’t read. You get a general idea of what else is out there. So if someone asks for a recommendation in a genre you’re not up-to-date on, or not as familiar with, you can admit that and say, “But I’ve read reviews on [THIS BOOK] and that might be something you’d like!” I wouldn’t say you’re less “well-rounded.” Think of it more as an expertise. You can call yourself an expert in contemporary YA — you know what’s out there, you know your favorites, you can help people find the right kind of book — and a dabbler in others. Nothing wrong with that.

    I used to be exclusively Old Dead People (British classics). Then I became Historical Fiction. And then YA Fantasy. And now I’m jumping all over YA, with splashes of the other genres once in a while. Phases are natural. Heck, my mother was all over American historical fiction for the longest time, and for the past two years she’s really into spy novels. Baldacci, Silva, you name it she’s read it. She’s merging back into mystery too with Grafton and Parker. Phases = natural. :)

  27. I definitely go through phases when I’m reading, and I think it’s perfectly okay! Granted, mine usually last for maybe three weeks at the most before I move towards a different genre. But still, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading books that you love and are interested in! My philosophy for reading is to read for fun, and nothing more than that! So, no matter what genre is catching your eye, whether it’s a singular one or a variety, I think, as long as you’re having fun, it’s okay :)

  28. I always thought I was an eclectic reader with a focus on literary fiction/crime fiction, but when I looked through my recent reading list yesterday I realized I’ve been reading with more focus on Indian authors, and there’s been only a sprinkling of lit/crime fiction. I am not sure I want to change it though, it’s nice to let your current tastes take the lead.

    Also, though I don’t personally read a lot of YA, I can see there are a LOT of YA books out in the past couple of years, so obviously the balance would turn a bit for you?

  29. That’s funny – I was literally going to sit down and right a post JUST like this lol! (Although in my case it’s fantasy). I used to read probably 60% YA, 40% Adult. Since I’ve been blogging it’s more like 95% YA…and that makes me feel weird. Added on top of that, I realized last year that I really DON’T read as many genres as I say I do – I pretty much stick to sci-fi/fantasy. And then I realized a couple weeks ago that I don’t even read sci-fi! I looked, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t read a science fiction novel that wasn’t a dystopia in….years. Which, again, makes me feel pretty weird. I’m like you – being able to say I read everything was sort of who I was, and I’m not sure I want to let myself get complacent and only read one genre, because then I’m never pushing myself to expand, you know?

  30. I think we pick up certain books, because of what we look for :) I love fantasy and I read it so often, because I like to be able to travel to all these different worlds that don’t exist. I like being able to escape to a story where things happen that can’t happen in real life. Creatures, magic, assassin’s: I love all those ‘unrealistic’ things. I love fairy tales, because it always has a happy ending. Retellings are my favorites, because I like the twists author apply to my beloved fairytales.
    Perhaps you pick up contemporary, because you look for something you can identify with?

    * Are you an eclectic reader or are you pretty much solely a reader of a certain genre?
    I think I’m an eclectic reader, but I do have my preferences. Most of the books I read are in the fantasy/fairytale genre, but I also read Paranormal, dystopian, historical and the occasional contemporary. Fantasy/fairytales are just my favorite thing to read and there is nothing bad with reading only one genre. It’s the same with other things in life. If you love something, you stick with it :) You also stay with one guy once you fall in love, right? Haha, you don’t go around trying boys from different countries. Such a bad example, but that’s how I feel :’)

    * Do you ever go through phases where you gravitate towards a certain genre for a while?
    Sometimes I have periods where I read ALL the fantasy/fairytale books without reading anything else. I love those moods :D

    * Recommend me a non-contemporary YA book you’ve loved recently or think screams THIS IS A JAMIE BOOK. (seriously, I read/will try mostly anything except erotica).
    -I went to your Goodreads and stalked your shelves. Here are 3 of the books I picked:

    -Throne of glass; two hot guys, a kick-ass assassin girl.
    -I see you’ve read Shadow and bone, so why not try Siege and storm?
    -A.C Gaughen – Scarlet & Lady Thief :)

  31. I would say I’m an eclectic reader – but that doesn’t mean I read all types of books. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary (YA or Adult), but I like genres – like mystery, fantasy, etc. But I also go through phases, and I think it’s also okay not to be eclectic. If someone prefers one type of book – nothing wrong with that either :-)

    • No I don’t think there is anything wrong with someone preferring one type of book or not being eclectic. Not at all! What I’m saying in this post is that it’s strange for ME because I’ve always been an eclectic reader…so it feels weird that I’m not right now. My habits have obviously changed. It’s not at all a bad thing to read one type of genre. I’m just noticing a change and I’m just wondering what it means for me personally.

  32. I’m somewhat of an eclectic reader! But my two main genres that I read are Dystopian and Contemporary!
    I’m in a contemporary reading phase right now haha. Mostly ’cause I read too many Dystopians in a row and I’m kind of Dystopian’ed out right now.
    It’s contemporary, new adult (I know you asked for non-contemporary, but I just finished this book); “Virgin” by: Radhika Sanghani! It doesn’t come out until August, but I got to read it through Penguin First to Read, and it was sooo good! I definitely recommend it!
    Have you read the Incarnate/Newsoul trilogy (by: Jodi Meadows)? ‘Cause that’s a really good trilogy and it’s YA Fantasy! Definitely not something I’d normally read, ’cause I’m not into Fantasy.

  33. I definitely have my favorite genres (dystopian, sic-fi, fantasy) that I will usually read all the time, but after so much action, dark themes, and sometimes gore, I always find myself reaching for a contemporary . I feel like I kind of read in cycles, I guess. Whenever I read too much of one genre for a long time, I never enjoy it as much. Contemporary YA is kind of my ‘cleansing’ reads then!

    Lina @ http://www.everybookaworld.com

  34. I’ve always seen myself as a person who will read just about anything but I do tend to gravitate towards fantasy and sci-fi books. Recently I’ve found that romance books just aren’t doing it for me which was not the case a few years ago. Now I just want to read fantasy books with female protagonists! Although I the majority of the books I read are YA regardless of genre. But then again there are a few adult books mixed in!

    As for books I would recommend for you: Girl of Fire and Thorns (You have to finish this series!!!), Incarnate series, and pretty much anything by Tamora Pierce!

  35. Recently I started to read more contemporary reads for the past two months because I was tired of all the huge storylines in UF or paranormal books so I moved away from them. Then I realized I have been reading so many contemporary reads that my ratings on those books has been going down for the past week or so. I finally woke up and told myself I need to try some books with other things and right now I’m reading an alien book and I really liked it because it is different and allowing me to not compare all of my reads to each other. I think it is good to read random books from random genres all the time to keep it fresh. However, you should read what you enjoy. Who cares if you read 100 contemporary books and nothing else. If you enjoyed them and that was what made you happy then it works for you. I get bored if I read one genre over and over so I have to switch up but that is how I personally am as a reader.

  36. I do believe I’m eclectic in my reading, but I feel I go through periods where I’ll focus on one particularly genre/sub-genre. Right now I’m big on literary fiction and so most of my reviews reflect that. For a while I was all about cozy mysteries until I became a little burnt out on the formulaic plots. Before that, I couldn’t get enough of historical fiction involving art and artists.

    At the moment I’m reading a thriller and it reminds me of why I fell so hard for the genre in high school. Earlier in the year I read a PHENOMENAL thriller (phenomenal, as in ‘one of my favorites of 2014′) and now I’m craving for a return to those books.

    I used to be a big non-fiction reader, though I haven’t read many lately. There are two I recently bought that I’m really looking forward to – hopefully those will get me back into the genre!

  37. I usually stay pretty comfortably in spec fic. Unlike you, contemporary doesn’t agree with me, for the most part. However, the nice thing about spec fic is that it’s so broad. I can pick up a fantasy, sci-fi, post-apoc, dystopian, paranormal, magical realism, whatever, and it flows so nicely. But as for staying specifically within one of those genres within spec fic, I don’t think I do normally. I’m a little too easily bored for that.

  38. I think I’m an eclectic reader, although I’d like to be even more so. I can’t stand staying with the same genre and fluctuate between a few every month. Certain times I do gravitate toward a certain genre; this usually depends on my mood.

  39. I definitely know what you mean! I get in moods where I read a lot of dystopian or contemporary YA and neglect other genres. Blogging, however, has helped “force” me to branch out again because I want to represent all kinds of books!

    One of my favorite books is actually a collection of short stories by Alethea Black called “I Knew You’d Be Lovely.” She’s a lovely writer and her stories were beautiful!

    I really enjoyed the post and am loving your blog!

    Haley
    http://readtwentyone.com

  40. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but this my first time commenting.
    I read nearly all genres (I could not get into science fiction), but I’m also a mood reader. I read several books at the same time though. One is in my room at university, on et home for the weekend, one for the train ride, and so on. I’m an English and German major so I read quite a few classics for university.

    A book I recommend to everyone, who reads is Little Bee by Chris Cleave (It says on the back of the book not to tell people what it is about, so I won’t; what makes the story so great is how everything is slowly revealed), The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (a man tries to find the perfect wife with a questionaire), Eleven by Mark Watson (it’s about eleven people and how their lives are linked by little things, I really love episodic stories where everything ties together in the end) and The Curious Incident of the dog at the time by Mark Haddon (an autistic boy and how he goes to find his mother on his own and at the same time solves the murder of the neighbour’s dog)

    Lena

  41. I was actually JUST thinking about this the other day and coming up with a discussion post vaguely similar to this! I think I’m a more eclectic reader than I used to be, but I still wouldn’t say I have eclectic tastes and I am 100% okay with that. I’ve tried to pick up books out of my comfort zone and I’ve sloooowly eased out and brought in new genres like fantasy or new topics and have loved them! But I know that if I push myself too far outside of that comfort zone, I’m not going to enjoy those books and that creates a bad experience for me AND bad buzz for the books and I don’t think it’s fair for either side.
    I still have my favorite genres and favorite authors and I will always gravitate back towards them because those are my favorite things to read and those are the books I fall in love with. I hope I fall in love with every book that I read and I know that I can’t actually do that, but I do try! Which is why I’ve been carefully selecting my books recently and unfortunately that means not always switching things up. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all! I think it’s nice to try to be a more diverse or more eclectic reader, but staying within our favorites and our comfort zones also help us find the books we really love and makes us more likely to promote the hell outta those books instead of having negative or lukewarm feelings to others! :)

  42. I am pretty eclectic! I kind of tend to stay more YA, but I read other things too. Recently I’ve read Night Film, The Rosie Project, The Reece Malcolm List, When You Were Mine, Pointe, and I’m starting The Girl With All the Gifts. I read a lot of romance books, too. Sometimes I DNF them pretty quickly or if I figure out it’s just not going to be for me. I think fantasy is probably my favorite genre, but I love so many and I like to shop around! Sometimes I get in contemporary YA modes, too. But I also kind of just nose around and it depends on what’s available at the library. I don’t know what to recommend to you! Pointe probably counts as contemp YA but I think you would like it!

Trackbacks

  1. […] feels like she’s not a well-rounded reader […]

  2. […] Jamie recently posted about realizing she’s not as well-rounded of a reader as she has thought and that got me thinking. What about me? I certainly feel like I am and, when asked, I definitely mention how I enjoy reading a wide range of genres, but does my reading truly reflect that? […]

  3. […] lots of different things but has recently been reading lots of contemporary YA. Check out the post here and let her know how you read and/or give her some tips on […]

  4. […] When The Well Rounded Reader Suddenly Finds Herself Not So Well Rounded on The Perpetual Page Turner. I have three things to say about this one: firstly that I adore this blog; secondly, that I totally relate to this post; and thirdly, that it’s an important issue/topic/whatever to think of and remember when analysing your own reading habits. If you do, you know… analyse them. (I do…) […]

  5. […] Changed My Life– It was really nice to reflect on how this journey has changed my life. 2. When the well-rounded reader finds herself not so well-rounded anymore– I shared about how I felt I was always an eclectic reader and then realized, when looking at […]

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