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25 September 2011

The Sunday Salon...Change is Coming.



So. This would be my first Sunday Salon post. I'm motivated to do it this week because I've been thinking about some changes that I'd like to implement at me ole blog. First, in the next couple of months, a new blog design is coming. It will be simple and contemporary, and hopefully a little bit vintage-y, and I'm really looking forward to working with the new designer.

And second, my reading tastes are changing. Drastically.

As with all of you who blog, part of the reason why I started mine was to track the books I've read, but I also wanted to go through my own self-exploration to analyze the type of book I truly enjoyed reading. What do I gravitate towards? What makes my heart skip that happy bookish beat when I think about picking it up? I wanted to look back at my list and identify any trends in my reading patterns. (Of course, this has a lot to do with what my day job is. I spend a lot of time analyzing data, spotting trends, identifying problems, and implementing a solution. Yeah, you guessed it - yawn).

But here's what I found and I don't think it's any great surprise for me. I'm moving away from books that I would categorize as lovey-dovey (yes, I'm probably the only who describes it in this manner). I don't mean romance novels since I never read those anyway. When I say I'm moving away from the fluffy stuff, I mean books written by, for example, Nicholas Sparks. Well, not like I read his stuff either. But you get what I mean. (There was an uproar on the Internet last year regarding the terms "women's fiction" and "chick lit." Recently, I discussed the topic and if those terms were offensive on a Facebook post and it was interesting to read reactions).

I've looked back at 2010 and 2011 and found that I've read a few like that. Some I enjoyed at the time, some I didn't, but without question they just aren't ones that jump out at me today. In fact, when I think about reading a book that falls into that category, I cringe. It's not generating that immediate eager book-fan response anymore. Maybe my tastes will change again in the future, but I'm comfortable asserting today that I'm really in love with reading historical fiction, classics, magical realism, non-fiction, Persephone Books, dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy (thank you to Game of Thrones), young adult, and oh yes, even horror fiction...

A lot of this comes as a result of the RIP Challenge. I've found that I've had the best reading experiences over the past few weeks than I've had in quite some time. The kind of feeling that when I think about picking up one of of the books in the TBR pile for the challenge, I get all ├╝ber-excited and ready to just read for hours at a time.

I've got a few reviews to finish up, but I think that might be it for that type of book. Moving forward, I don't want to read a book that doesn't fall in the above categories that I love. If I do, I will just end up watching more TV, surfing on the Internet, reading other blogs, staring into space...anything else than reading.

So I'm not torturing myself anymore.
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QUESTION...What do you think? Well, first, is it offensive to use the terms "women's fiction" or "chick lit?" And, did you find your reading tastes evolved after tracking them?
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40 comments:

  1. I think that analyzing what you enjoy reading it a very important step to preventing reading burn-out. I have found that out myself. I have been integrating more classics and other just random genres into my audiobook listening to keep it fresh. I think its a good thing for your tastes in book to grow and evolve.

    Also, can't wait to see the new layout!

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  2. My reading tastes changed completely when I started blogging. I used to enjoy chick lit but moved on to more contemporary fiction before discovering YA.

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  3. I don't find women's fiction at all offensive. It's very descriptive of many books written by and about women. Chick lit is also descriptive and gives an idea of what books are all about, plus their target audience.

    I'm also getting a charge out of the book recommendations from Goodreads and LibraryThing.

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  4. Change is inevitable. Just go ahead and do what you want!!

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  5. When I read a book about women's issues (relationships, identity issues, work, parenting), I think of it as contemporary fiction. Definitely not "chick lit," which, to me, is something lighter or fluffier. I do enjoy a bit of both, along with mysteries, historical fiction, dystopian, and literary fiction.

    And the occasional paranormal and YA book, which is a new leap for me since I started blogging.

    It's great to analyze our likes/dislikes and develop insights into how we're evolving.

    Here's MY SUNDAY SALON POST and
    MY WEBSITE

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  6. No, I don't think those terms are offensive - I think they're honest. As for reading habits, I try not to make any lists or schedules or predict any trends for myself during the year, but rather let my reading-mood and blogger recommendations guide me. I have found so many fabulous books that way!

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  7. A. Very cool that you discovered something new about your reading taste. I can't wait to see what you come up with. Mine is always evolving. So I definitely feel you.

    B. Good luck on the new look. You know I looove vintage.

    C. You gotta read what you love. Life is too short for bad books.

    D. Which designer are you working with for your new look?

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  8. I've found, since I've been blogging (almost a year now), that my tastes have changed some, too. There's so much good stuff out there that I don't have the patience to read some of the things I would have in the past. Too many choices. I have to be more selective. I think it's a good lesson to learn. It has made things a lot easier for me.

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  9. I think that it is important to take a step back and reflect. Life is all about change. I've decided that next year I am not going to do any challenges. What I wanted to read Nov/Dec of last year is not where I am today.
    "Read what you love, love what you read." To change a famous quote.

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  10. The RIP challenge has been a lot of fun for me so far too. I personally don't find anything offensive about the terms woman's lit or chick lit.

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  11. I don't think those terms are offensive so much as it's irritating in general that there isn't really any men's fiction. When men write books about families and relationships it's literature, but when women do it's usually classed under "women's fiction". But I use those terms myself, and to be honest with you, I seldom like women's fiction or chick lit myself. :p

    I have definitely witnessed changes in my reading as I've blogged for longer. I've gone away from a lot of the historical fiction I used to adore towards more science fiction / fantasy preference - I think because I prefer to study factual history now rather than read fictionalised versions. But I still enjoy some books, so it's perhaps a smaller shift than yours.

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  12. I cant wait to get into Game Of Thrones.... a genre I never thought I would like either but find myself drawing closer too... isnt it funny how our reading buds change?

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  13. I don't find the term women's fiction offensive at all. Some are cheesier than others, but there are some books that I would put in the women's fiction category that rocked my world. But my reading tastes have changed over the years. It is inevitable with all this influence around us!

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  14. Those terms aren't offensive to me - just a way of categorizing/identifying books. I think most people's reading tastes change over time... mine sometimes vary from month to month. Can't wait too see your new design!

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  15. Your taste in books sounds a lot like mine, and I am always happy when I come over here and find another review of a book that I haven't had the chance to be exposed to yet. I am looking forward to seeing what you are reading in the future.

    I also don't find those terms offensive, but then again, I am not much of a reader of chick-lit or women's fiction. That doesn't mean that I won't read those genres, just that I don't naturally gravitate towards them. I think that some people can get very sensitive about labels, but to me, it's not really a label, it's a description, and while these types of books don't work for me, they do have a steady and very vocal fan base.

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  16. I don't find the terms offensive either. I have seen a definite change is my reading patterns over the years as well. My brother is so in love with the Game of Thrones series, that he has be wanting to check it out.

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  17. I don't have any reaction to either description but they aren't books I read. Not sure if that has anything to do with it or not. Probably not or second thought, but to me, if a person likes a certain type of book, so be it. We're all different in our tastes.

    Since I started tracking my reading several years ago, I've noticed my choices have expanded considerably which I consider a great thing. Thanks to the internets, I've found new books and authors I love, and some I don't. Either way, I'm happy to have been exposed to them.

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  18. I don't find those terms offensive at all. I find them to be good descriptive words. I have found my choice of reading material is always evolving. I have picked up books from categories I would have never before touched and found myself actually enjoying what I was reading. If not for blogging, I probably would have missed out on many of those titles.

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  19. Can't wait to see the new look. I also adore vintage but don't have the time or the inclination to change my blog. Lazy vintage lover i guess :)

    I also track, trend, analyze data, etc. so I completely get you. As for my reading tastes, I never really thought about it. I though I was eclectic prior to my blog, but I have since expanded my horizons and included areas I didn't read previously, such as YA, and the dreaded chick lit. I haven't totally analyzed my reading, but I am more open to new areas and willing to try different subjects than before.

    As for chick lit, in my mind there are different types of chick lit. I like British chick lit, but not U.S. Sorry but divorces, and men are evil, or I'm discovering myself and love shoes, doesn't do it for me. I could on, but I've blabbed enough :) Have a fab week !

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  20. I think will all get into a reading rut at time, so it is always good to shake things up and move out of our comfort zone now and then. Enjoy!

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  21. I'm not a fan of the lovey dovey either...and a book being described as chick lit is a death sentence for me...I'm just not interested. My interests change frequently; right now I'm deeply involved in British history, mostly the Reformation period. I can't get my hands on enough of this stuff...I always enjoy the RIP challenge though so I'm going to try to pull some things off my shelves and get into the mood for fall. :)

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  22. I don't feel anything offensive about chick-lit, mainly because for me that word means light women fiction. I say chick-flick too. I try nowadays not to use that word, because a few people find it offensive, but it's hard sometimes. My reading tastes have changed a lot. I used to box myself into my stated 'preferred genre' for a while, but nowadays, I read anything and have stopped making myself stick only to one or the other genre.

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  23. Good for you in reflecting on your evolving taste in books. I'm glad the RIP challenge has been so helpful...so many seem to complain of challenges as a chore, but I find them to be an excellent opportunity to discover new genres and authors.

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  24. My reading tastes have definitely changed since I started blogging, but some of my likes haven't changed at all. The books that I can't get into anymore are the fluffy ones - so we have that in common. I used to love Nicholas Sparks and other fluffy light romance books - not bodice-rippers though (a lot of them set in the old west). I just get bored reading them now, and instead read more literary fiction.

    But I've loved reading nonfiction, memoirs, science fiction and young adult fiction for a long time prior to blogging and still enjoy them just as much. I still can't get into horror though - it's just not my thing.

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  25. Really honest and interesting post. I'm going to be writing one along the same lines as soon as I finish up my last batch of review books. For me, it's been the shift from reading classics and backlist titles to reading far too many new new new titles. I have no willpower, so if someone offers me a galley, I have a hard time turning it down. I have no time to read for myself anymore, and I miss it! Tracking stats is actually part of what helped me realize this. As I was looking at my stats to date, playing around with the numbers (I love spreadsheets!), I realized the year had started out heavier on classics and light on new releases, but the tables have turned completely around. I'm looking forward to setting things right! Good for you for going back to what you really want to be reading. After all, if your love of reading is being affected by your choice of book, there's a real problem. I look forward to seeing what you choose to read in the future!

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  26. I tend to define chick-lit as lighter in fare (Seinfeld in book format).

    For me, it doesn't matter what term people use to define reading.

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  27. Isn't it liberating when you come to these types of conclusions? You get to set aside old habits and explore new and exciting boundaries. Have fun and happy reading!

    Alayne

    P.S. If you care to share a link on your blog or Facebook, Rozlyn Press (www.rozlynpress.com) is open for submissions!

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  28. I find that my reading interests have changed as of late. I use to only stick to certain authors but lately have been exploring more.

    I am a new follower. Have a great week!
    http://tammysbookreviews.blogspot.com/

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  29. I think change is so normal. I change what I read from week to week! I've been focusing way more on classics and historical fiction lately, but this summer I tried some lighter fare. I think it's good to mix it up!

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  30. I totally understand. My reading tastes have changed wildly in the last couple of years, especially. I read far less now, but I read far more of the books I find truly rewarding and fulfilling. I'm OK with that!

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  31. Interesting! I started my blog to ramble about writing and ended up loaded with book review requests and now... I am slowly becoming a book blogger. Loved your blog by the way! What's a Sunday Salon?

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  32. Looking forward to your new look; can't wait to see what you come up with! As to reading tastes, mine have changed too as a result of my blogging. For one thing, I've been exposed to books I never knew about before...whole genres, such as Japanese literature, are now opened wide up. Like you, I never read much 'horror' either, but the RIP encourages me to pick up some classics in this genre every fall. I guess I've always been an eclectic reader, but I love the classics, the international works, and the ideas that blogging has brought to my attention. Not to mention friends such as you! XO

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  33. I have a lot of trouble with books that fit the classical definition of "chick lit" but on the other hand, I love those kinds of movies! :--)

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  34. My readings interests have changed too. Right now, I'm really into fantasy. Just finished Sanderson's Mistborn series, which was cool.

    Fickle Cattle
    http://ficklecattle.blogspot.com/

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  35. My tastes are always evolving and reading what other bloggers are writing about always inspires me to broaden my reading horizons. Glad you found the type of books that you will enjoy reading the most!

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  36. I don't know that I find the two terms offensive, but they're self-limiting and since they do turn off some people they'd be best ditched, IMHO.

    My reading taste changes all the time. In the past, I've overdosed a little by reading too much in a certain genre (mysteries -- still hardly touch them, many years after burning out) so I try to keep my reading as broad and varied as possible. But, things still keep changing.

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  37. This is my favorite time of year and I love the creepy reads that I find that others are reading. I think that everyone goes through reading changes..it is just natural :)

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  38. My reading tastes have changed a lot since I started reading. In fact, they change all the time. I tend to buy and read a lot of one genre for a while, then I'll switch to something else depending on my mood and what's going on in my life. Blogging has certainly presented me with new reading I wouldn't have considered before though.

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  39. I'm not offended by those labels. Marketing is marketing, I've worked in bookstores long enough to know that labels like that CAN help a reader but it can also put the author in a box. It doesn't really bother me. I don't really read many of those anyway!
    I am trying to just focus on reading what I'm in the mood for!

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  40. A few years back I read quite a bit of chick lit and I compeltely burnt myself out on it. All the categories that you now love are the same ones I would say I love as well. I can't wait to see where your reading takes you next!

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