Saturday, December 10, 2011

Development of Taste

How has your reading taste changed over time?

I was always a voracious reader, ever since I realized I was pretty good at it. Funnily enough, I was in remedial reading at the beginning of my first grade year-I distinctly remember my correctly reading the word “world” was the trigger that convinced the teacher to move me up a level. By the end of that year, I was in advanced. Just goes to show-sometimes kids just need time.

But I digress. What did I like to read as a kid? What were my favorite books?

I started with the classics-Boxcar Kids, Hardy Boys, Beverly Clearly, and the like. Typical contemporary middle grade. I also admit reading a lot of the Sweet Valley High novels, which even back then I realized were a bit ridiculous-there was one novel where there is another set of twins, except they have black hair, who tried to steal Jessica and Elizabeth’s identity. It was soap opera stuff. I also read a lot of silly horror novels, like Goosebumps, and I did read Animorphs.

Around 4th and 5th grade I moved on to animal fantasy, which was the bulk of my reading for a while, especially considering I got all my books from my school’s library. Redwall, Martin’s Mice, any book with talking animal protagonists-I devoured them. I wish Warriors had been out then, because I would have loved it. That was also when I read my favorite book of all time-TailChaser’s Song.

Around 6th and 7th grade I started branching out a bit. I gave horror a try, trying and failing to find books with cool vampires. Even back then, I wasn’t that into paranormal. I also got my first taste of good historical fiction with A Separate Peace.

High school was where my tastes focused-when I read Wheel of Time. I became a fantasy fan, not limiting myself to animal fantasy. I also learned to enjoy science fiction when I read the Otherland series.

Since high school my tastes haven’t changed much. I’m open to nearly any genre, but my favorites are fantasy and science fiction. Naturally I insert gay romance into a lot of my writing, as that is my preference, but romance alone doesn’t do much for me-there has to be something otherworldly or fantastical in a story for me to really get sucked in.

I’m trying to find a pattern in my reading over time, but quite honestly I just think being open minded is what led to my reading patterns now. Also, being impressionable helps-if enough people say something is good, I’ll usually give it a try.  

I think having a good memory of the books you liked as a kid helps in writing, especially if you write for a younger audience. Childhood is where you discover what you like, and often it’s easier for children to  simply get sucked into a story and a world. When I write, I try to evoke that easy feeling of discovery.

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