Everyone has reading preferences. Some people love sci fi and hate romance. Others hate historical novels, but love autobiographies. What do you like to read and why? I've never given a lot of thought to what I like to read, but recently I volunteered as a beta reader for a woman I met on facebook. Of course, as soon as I volunteered, I asked myself, "What have I done?" I've tried to be helpful before with people I've just met and it becomes a huge time suck. And Lord knows, I don't have a ton of spare time.
The first chapter was a struggle for me to get through. The second was a bit easier, and by the third chapter, I was hooked. Now, I'm nearly 75% done with the book and I'm thrilled that I volunteered as a beta reader for SE Hudnall.
I don't claim to know everything there is to know about writing, but I do know what I like and dislike when I read. Which brings me to the point of this post.
I don't like lots of characters. I don't like lots of details that I need to remember. When I read a book, I read to relax and take my mind off things. I don't like to think when I'm reading. I'm not good with visualizing things.
As I was trying to explain some of my comments to Ms. Hudnall, I realized those things are all part of why I read what I read.
Non-fiction. Some. I don't like a lot of it, but for a while I really enjoyed reading true crimes. Perhaps because I like to imagine offing some people? Or maybe just because those types of books were available when I didn't have money to buy my own books. ;)
Horror. I read all of Stephen King's books in high school. I'm not sure what happened, but either I changed or his writing style changed and I stopped enjoying them. Maybe I should try again. I read a lot of Dean Koontz too. I stopped when I ran out of time. I should see if he has new ones out.
Classics are... meh. I like some of them, but the majority have too many characters and the prose is too much for me to follow. Even before I had kids, I didn't have the patience for books like Jane Austen's. The English is just different enough that it makes me have to think about things to understand. However, I like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Dickens, and Huck Finn.
Fantasy and sci fi books drive me nuts. If I can't visualize things, imaginary places and worlds I've never been to are impossible for me to care about. Made up names of places and things seem like gibberish to me and I can't keep track whether Aroibzyz is the main (kinda female but really she's both because she can reproduce on her own by wiggling her antennae and pods pop out of her ears. After 7 millenniums those pods turn into larvae, six days later the larvae become her kids. But they're not really kids, because she doesn't like them. They're just minions of her army) character or a town on the other side of the galaxy. I admit, I've never read The Hobbit. I've tried. It doesn't interest me. At. All.
Mysteries. Ugh. I never choose these off the shelf. I think because I'm afraid I'll need to keep a notebook next to me to make sure I remember all the clues. And honestly, I think there are very few GOOD mystery writers. It's a fine balance of making it too obvious (so what's the point of reading it?) and making it complex enough, yet still believable, that I don't figure it out until just before the characters do.
Suspense. I've read some that I really enjoy, but it's not what I choose when I'm shopping. Unless it's an author I've read previously and enjoyed.
Westerns. I'm actually okay with these. I read a lot of Louis Lamour growing up, mainly because that was what was in our house.
Romance. I like romance novels, all sorts. Love stories (like Nicholas Sparks), historical romances, contemporary romances. I even read inspirational romances some times. Yes, I know they're predictable.
So, the conclusion I came to was, I want something realistic. Not necessarily something that will happen to me, but a setting that's not so far-fetched I'm confused. (If the author needs to include a map, and there's nothing on that map that I've heard of before, I'm not interested. A map of a small-town in Oklahoma? Okay, but if I have to keep referring to it, I'm going to get annoyed.)
I also want the characters to be human (at least the majority of the time in the books that I read). I've read some books about witches that I enjoyed. Vampires? Add to my "not interested" list.
But mostly, I just want to read and enjoy a story without using my brain. How weird is that?
What do you like to read and why? Have people tried to get you to expand your reading list into different genres? What did you think if you've read (or tried to read) something completely different than what you normally choose?
As a side note: I was completely fine with The Clan of The Cave Bear and loved the series. I've read other books set in the same time period, and enjoyed them. Which I suppose could be strange, since prehistoric times is pretty foreign to me.