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Book-Talk Monday: You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (for your favorite type of books)

Monday, June 17, 2013
Open Book by Dave Dugdale

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

My favorite genre to read since I was eleven or twelve years old is historical romance. I’ve gone through different iterations of favorite tropes and authors over the years. Arranged Marriage/Marriage of Convenience stories are some of my favorites. I cut my teeth on American-set YA historical romances with the Sunfire books in the 1980s, and, at the same time, fell in love with the medieval setting by picking up my mom’s Jude Deveraux books around the same time. In the early 1990s, it was Regency and medieval, along with some American West. Beginning in the mid-1990s, there was a fair helping of Inspirational historical romance.

When I went to graduate school in the early/mid-2000s, I started reading contemporary inspirational romance, since that’s what I was writing. By the time I finished grad school, I was working full time as an editor, and because of my training in grad school of reading everything critically (analyzing and breaking down everything) and the editing I did eight or nine hours a day—in addition to writing—my reading ground to a full stop.

It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve been able to start reading for pleasure again. And for a while there, I fell in love with it and sometimes went to bed an hour of more early just to have more time to read.

But now, I’m experiencing a reading slump once more. I’ve started reading books that I should love, but I find myself getting a little bit into them and I want to move on to something else. So I have to ask: Is it me or is it the books I’m choosing?

I’m in the middle of re-listening to a book (Victorian-set historical romance) that I really enjoyed last year. I’m reading a new-to-me author whose book is set in a time period I’ve never read (mid-17th century/English Civil War). I downloaded a historical romance novella yesterday based on a review on one of my favorite blogs.

But I think I’m going to try to really shake things up with my next book choice. I’m really thinking about trading Stephen King’s novel Under the Dome before the TV series based on it starts (well, it starts next week, so if I do read it, I’ll wait to watch it until I finish). I’m not sold on this—after all, I’ve never read a Stephen King book. But is there anything more out of my reading comfort zone than that? 😉

Have you ever read anything completely out of your comfort zone? What was it and what did you think of it?

  1. Monday, June 17, 2013 7:06 am

    I prefer fiction to non-fiction, but one day I picked up a book called The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million. It was written by a guy who went searching all over the world to find out what happened to his dad’s brother and family during the Holocaust. I have never been so moved by a book in all of my life. It was the hardest thing I ever read, but it changed everything in my understanding of what happened to people then. They were ordinary people with ordinary lives who suddenly found themselves the objects of horrors that even Stephen King himself couldn’t have invented. I will never forget that book, although I have to say I may not read it again, because it was hard. And it hasn’t driven me to read more non-fiction. I’m between genres right now too. Not really sure what I’m enjoying at the moment, so I’m going back through my old favorites.


    • Monday, June 17, 2013 10:00 am

      I’ve had very few experiences with nonfiction (non-writing-related) in which it pulls me in and doesn’t let me go. It seems to work better on audio for me than actually sitting down to read. My favorite book that I “read” last year was nonfiction, and it was on a topic I already loved, which is the history of the English language.


  2. Monday, June 17, 2013 7:43 am

    I read Under the Dome and give it a thumbs up. It’s very Stephen, though, and if you avoid getting attached to characters you should be fine. He has been known to show no mercy.


    • Monday, June 17, 2013 9:58 am

      Ha! That should be easy. Because that’s the biggest problem I’ve been having with reading recently—I haven’t been able to connect with the characters. 🙂


  3. Judy permalink
    Monday, June 17, 2013 9:25 am

    I find my genre preferences rotate. I’ll burn out on a genre for a while, then return to it later with my original fervor.

    My life circumstances also affect my preferences. I enjoy the J. D. Robb mysteries, but when I’m having problems with chemotherapy, they’re too dark for me.

    If your only experience with Madeline L’Engle is A Wrinkle in Time, try reading Many Waters. Two 17-year-old boys unwittingly wander into their physicist father’s experiment with time and end up in Noah’s time before the flood, except they don’t realize it at first. L’Engle blends angels, the nephilim, anthropology, and theories about the earth before the Flood in a fascinating way.

    I haven’t read Stephen King in several years. You may be jumping into the deep end of the pool.


    • Monday, June 17, 2013 9:57 am

      I read Many Waters in high school; it may be time to revisit it!


  4. Ruth permalink
    Monday, June 17, 2013 10:54 am

    The first thing that comes to mind is Gangster Squad — a non-fiction book about the squad’s work in LA in the late 1940s – early 1950s. I picked it up on a whim and read that chunkster in about two days…it was SO entertaining! (The movie on the other hand was pretty terrible…I couldn’t finish it.)


  5. Audry permalink
    Monday, June 17, 2013 11:51 am

    I haven’t read Under the Dome, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I am a long time Stephen King fan who has read every book he’s written except for the last few. He has gotten weirder and weirder since somewhere around Insomnia. If you want to read Under the Dome because you want to see the TV show, cool, but if you’re just looking for a totally different genre, I’d suggest checking out one of his earlier books.


  6. Monday, June 17, 2013 12:01 pm

    I like trying something in a different genre…and have mostly enjoyed my forays outside my comfort zone…which is Cozy Mysteries. My mother always has the best books and frequently loans them to me, but I have had a hard time finishing “The Worst Hard Time”….The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dust Bowl. It’s a bit depressing. One of my most favorites of her suggestion was, “The Glass Castle” a memoir by Jeannette Walls.

    Happy Reading!! And we’ll love to hear about your new genre adventures!


  7. Monday, June 17, 2013 5:15 pm

    For the last ten years I have been reading Contemporary Christian romance. Ever since I discovered Karen Kingsbury, I have been enjoying her contemporary Christian with a message. I also enjoy Christian mystery books written by Colleen Coble, Frank Peretti, and Ted Dekker. As a child, I would read historical non-fiction. Then as a teenager, I read true teen stories of how runaway teens went from doing drugs, alcohol, and prostitution into being saved by Christ and living a life for Him. As a college student my major was education and one of my assignments was to read children’s books. So I started reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and fell in love with C.S. Lewis’, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. After graduating from college and teaching school, I started reading Victoria Holt. She took me back in time to the 17th-18th centuries in London or Scotland as I read her fiction romance. I also enjoy your contemporary books. I haven’t read your historical books, but I have bought two of them.
    I love Stephen King’s movies but I cannot read his books because of the foul language in them. I do not like books that use the f___ word or books that take God’s name in vain.
    A friend of mine recently lent me a book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was one of the conspirators to assassinate Hitler. They tried three times and failed all three times. Anyway as you can see, this was not my genre. But my friend wanted me to read it so I decided to read it. Parts of it was very interesting and parts were so boring, it was a struggle to plow through. But I finished it anyway. Once I start a book, I have to finish it.


  8. Monday, June 17, 2013 7:53 pm

    Have I ever burned out on a genre? Boy have I! I have two historical romances started on my Nook and haven’t touched either in three months. One of them I’m over halfway done and the author is a dear friend who sent it to me because I couldn’t afford to buy it.

    I’m also burned out on Christian fiction in general. The only one I’ve finished since last summer is Trinity by Ronie Kendig. I’m devouring SF and paranormal romance all over the place right now. Sherrilyn Kenyon is my new crush, thanks to Winter.

    I’m tired of reading the same themes in Christian fiction over and over and over. It’s almost like a lack of imagination for me right now. But I still have my favorite subjects showing up here and there in my own writing. Creating the entire history of a lost civilization is a lot of fun.


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