I often feel compelled to write these Ponderings posts. To me they are a useful tool to help me understand my reading habits and how these affect my reviewing and I believe this to be a good thing.
So. Lately I have been thinking about reading cycles.
As far as I can remember, my first real reading cycle started at 12. Up until then I can’t remember purposefully picking up books because they were written by a particular author or because of a trope or genre but I know that they were all children or YA books. But at 12, I picked up my first adult book, Poirot Loses a Client (or Dumb Witness) by Agatha Christie. I remember that moment very clearly: it was the summer holidays, I had broken my arm on the second day riding a bicycle (typical) and was stuck at home and I even remember hearing the kids playing outside. I was staying at my grandfather’s house while our flat was being renovated and my mother’s books were boxed and those boxes were in the room I was staying at. Bored out of my mind, having read all of my own books, I opened one of those boxes and picked up the first book I saw and never looked back.
Thus, the first reading cycle of my life were Crime novels, starting with Agatha Christie (I read all of them in a row), followed by Arthur Conan Doyle’s and a plethora of Brazilian writers too, some of them YA (like this series of AWESOME books by Pedro Bandeira in which these kids called themselves the “Karas” and investigate crimes and every time they had an emergency, they draw a K at the palm of their hands, OMG these books were so good) and whatever I could get my hands on.
After a while, I was sort of done with Crime and started reading other stuff, Classics mostly.
And then, a second reading cycle came at 14. It was also prompted by being bored at home, sick with pneumonia (again during school holidays) and having read everything that there was to read. My aunt had just presented me with this OLD encyclopaedia, a collection with like, 20 books or so and I started to flick through them and stopped every time I read an entry about Mythology. I was hooked. After that, I bought loads of stuff about mythology, from Greek and Roman to Egyptian, Celtic and Norse. This then started yet another reading cycle, where I read loads of books about Egyptology, Archaeology and History and that lasted for a long ass time, taking me all the way to University (first Archaeology but the course was cancelled on the first semester because of lack of students – no, seriously – and I had to move to Museums Studies and then finally, settled in History).
During my University years, I read non-fiction almost exclusively: not only the required reading but also tons of Philosophy and Psychology (loads of Jung stuff) . I refer to this phase of my life as the Non-Fiction reading cycle. I love my fiction and I don’t know how I managed to read so little of it during those years (it took me 7 years to finish University because I kept taking extra classes and doing extra work for teachers. WHAT, I loved to be a student) but I also loved all of the non-fiction I read.
That is not to say that when I am in the middle of what I consider to be a reading cycle I don’t read other stuff. I do. So for example, at 15, while reading all of those Archaeology books, I also had a Gothic phase (Wuthering Heights, I love you) and a Vampire phase (Anne Rice mostly) and a crappy Aliens Are Amongst Us phase (Erik Von Daniken anyone?).
Towards the end of Uni I stumbled onto The Lord of the Rings and this is effectively the beginning of my encounters with Speculative Fiction proper until I moved to England 7 years ago and all hell broke loose when I first walked into a Warterstones and saw how many SF/ Fantasy books there were.
And of course, it was a reading cycle that brought me to blogging. It was my Romance phase that made me find blogs, online friends and to want to start my own blog almost three years ago. In that first year of The Book Smugglers, I was completely enamoured with the Genre and read hundreds of Romance (with the occasional helping of UF and Fantasy on the side). But it came to an end, as during the second year of Book Smuggling, I started to read more Fantasy and then there comes YA and I have been on that reading cycle ever since (now with the occasional helping of Fantasy and Romance). I wonder what will come next.
The point of this post is: I love diversity. I love to find new stuff, to try new Genres, new books and new authors. But that also means that I am constantly on the move and I hardly ever re-read or have comfort reads for example and I get bored with reading tropes very easily.
I am not the same reader I was when I was 14; I am not the same reader I was one year ago; heck, I am not the same reader I was yesterday. I think that the best thing about books is how they change you even when they are not inspirational or self help or what have you. It’s because of the words and the ideas and the stories that my imagination is fuelled and I feel that I am always, always evolving as a reader and that obviously affects my reviewing too. Just like I am not the same reader I was three years ago when the blog started I am not the same reviewer either and that is reflected in the way I approach books and write about them here.
And I really like that.
What about you? Do you go through reading cycles as well? Do you try new stuff a lot or do you prefer to stick with what you know and like? As a reader of this blog, do you enjoy the diversity of Genres we cover?