Discussion Post: I Miss Reading YA The Way I Used To

Every once in a while, I’d do a discussion-type post about something bookish that wasn’t a book review.  It’s been ages since I’ve done one, and I’m in a mood to talk about why I’m not as into YA as I used to be.

Reading wise, this hasn’t been a great year for me.  I haven’t been reading as much as I normally do, especially in comparison to previous years.  I am re-reading more, at least that I can recall, though this year is the first time I’m actually tracking what I’m re-reading, but for this year, a good chunk of what I’ve read has been re-reads. I’ve been crocheting a lot this year, and while audio books are great to listen to when I’m crocheting, I’ve found myself turning to Netflix or podcasts instead of audio books, and I’ve been turning away from books more than in previous years.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how little I’m reading this year, but there’s something in particular I’ve been thinking about a lot: how I don’t love YA the way I used to.

When I first started blogging, a majority of what I was reading was YA.  I loved it, and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was exciting and new and shiny, and everything was amazing and hit me right in the feels and I fangirled and said squee a lot.  There was a lot of jumping up and down in excitement and a lot of arm waving and it was something that really spoke to me.

But after 5+ years?  I’m not as in love with YA as I used to be.  It really bothered me for a while and while I still read it a lot, I’m not as excited about it as I used to be.  It still bothers me a little bit, because it’s something I really loved, and I want those feelings back.

I think maybe I’m a little burnt out on it.

I’ve read a lot of YA over the years, and I’m really starting to notice that a lot of books are really similar. Granted, I think YA’s always been like this- vampires and fairies and dystopia and…I could go on and on with the different trends.  Part of me feels like I really have to make an effort to read different genres, and to make sure I don’t read any genre back to back.  I notice tropes a lot more, and I’m reminded of similar books I’ve read, and how they compare to each other.

I feel like I’m reading the same story over and over, so I’m probably not mixing things up as much as I thought I was. That or most of what I’m picking up is in the same genre…probably a combination of both, knowing me. I’ve always been the kind of reader that just picks stuff up without really paying attention to the summary on the back of the cover.

Yes, the more I read, the more reference points I have for when I’m reviewing books.  And I’m a lot better at talking about books now then I was when I first started blogging.  I’m going to notice similarities more because I’m better at picking up on those things.  I’m a lot more critical now than I was in 2010.  It’s going to be harder for me to get excited about books the way I used to, because it takes a lot more for me to get to that point.

But I’ve noticed that over the last couple of years, my taste in books have started to change.

I’ve made more of an effort to read more diverse books- I’m reading more books that feature characters who are LGBT and characters who are people of color.  I’ve read a few translated books and books that set in different countries.  A lot of it is YA but a lot of isn’t, and I’m a lot more willing to get out of my reading comfort zone.  I always come back to YA, but I’m also not as willing to read one thing exclusively anymore.  Books are a powerful way to read about the experiences of those who are different from us, and everyone should have the chance to tell their story.

What I read is going to change over time- in middle school and high school, I used to love Stephen King, Anne Rice and Danielle Steel.  I didn’t read a lot in college, unless it was for a class, and then I fell in love with YA in my mid-twenties.  I’m going to like different things at different points in my life, and as I start reading a wider variety of books, I’ll probably start to find my new favorite book thing, whatever it may be.  Who knows, maybe I’ll still find that I love YA, and just need the book version of a palate cleanser.  Maybe I’ll read whatever I want, but still primarily read one thing.

I wonder if part of it is me getting older.

When I first starting blogging, I was 24.  I’m 31 now, and even though I feel like I haven’t changed that much…maybe I’ve changed more than I thought I have.  I still love YA, but maybe, as I’m getting older, the stories that speak to me are going to be different.  Maybe the stories I need to read have changed a little bit.  It’s not that YA doesn’t appeal to me anymore, because it still does.  Maybe, for now, I need something a little different.  It would be so much easier if I knew what that was, but if I keep reading different things, I could find it.

While this isn’t specific to YA, I’ve noticed that in general, I just haven’t been excited about reading this year. I’ve read and blogged pretty consistently since 2010 and while I’ve had a few (short) breaks and slumps, it’s never been the slump I’ve experienced this year.  If I’m going to be honest, it’s been nice to have a break.  I think it’s something I’ve really needed.  Re-reading has been nice- and really helpful, actually- because I’m reading, and not worrying about finding the motivation to review anything.

While the point of this really long post hasn’t been to come up with a conclusion for my disinterest in YA, it has been really helpful to talk about why I’m not as interested in reading it.  Even writing this, I’m starting to feel better about reading, and I’m starting to feel excited about reading…especially YA.  For some reason, I’m in the mood to read some really cute, sappy YA contemporary.  I (very sincerely) hope this is a turning point in my reading!

If anyone else has experienced this, how did you get through it?  Did your reading habits change completely, or did you take a break by reading something else?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Book Talk: Introducing Book Talk

Book Talk

I came up with the idea for Book Talk a while ago, and I thought I’d actually (and officially) introduce this feature!

Book Talk is my way of talking about non-book review bookish things.  How I feel about different things (like movie adaptations of books) and I how approach and think about reading has changed so much over the last 3.5 years, and my reading life is so different now than it was when I first started book blogging.  I do a lot of reviews (okay, mostly reviews) and lately (like, pretty much all year) I’ve wanted to do something bookish but not the book review kind of bookish.

My reading life before the blog is a bit of a blur, but it’s been such a positive experience for me.  I get to talk what I’m reading and I’m so much better able at talking about what I’m reading and why I feel the way I do about books.  I feel like I’m better able to pick out books I’ll like and put down the ones I don’t.  I feel like I’m more open to different ways of reading- I feel like I’d try an app like Oyster (or similar apps) and different formats (switching between print, e-book and audio book is no problem now) and even genres that I don’t normally read (which isn’t as often as I want it to be).  I feel like I’m more aware of what I’m reading, and am more open to reading things outside of my reading comfort zone, even though I have a tendency to go for what I know I like, instead of truly making an effort to diversify my reading.  I’m more likely to check out an author’s other books if I like what I’ve read by them.

I could go on and on about how much my reading life has changed because of the blog, and I’m hoping to talk about all of these things and more.  There are so many things I want to talk about, but I have a tendency to get scared about sharing my opinions. I’ve started so many posts that I end up deleting because I’m worried that what I’m trying to get across isn’t coming out right or that I’ll come across as stupid (or some combination of the two).  Sometimes, I don’t chime in, because other people have (and have said it much better than I can) or because I’m not sure what my opinion is.  And often, it’s because I feel like I don’t have anything to add to the conversation.  But I really want to get over that, and I feel like this new feature will help with that.

Another big reason why I’ve wanted to do something like this is some of the things that came up in a recent Top Ten Tuesday list where we shared some bookish/book blogger confessions.  I talked about how I feel guilty for not doing more discussion posts but I also shared how I wanted to do some non-review posts.  That post has really motivated me to get this feature going, because one thing that came to mind while working on that post was how I really do want to start talking about other book-related topics, and how I want to get over my fear of being a bit more open.

I also think it would be interesting to go back and look at it in a few years to see how much things have changed.  And I have so many ideas for what I could talk about- like not finishing books or what I think about series and or movie adaptations or even fun bookish events like when I went to a book launch party for The Kiss Of Deception.  Or even what I think of any adaptations, like The Giver (which I’m seeing this weekend) and If I Stay, which I plan on seeing next weekend.

Now I’m actually get really excited about it!  I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting the Book Talk posts, but for now, it’ll probably be once or twice a month.  Maybe more, but it depends on how chatty I’m feeling.