An Evolution of Literary Preference

I’m Nathan, and this is how I read. Or, more technically, what I read.

My tastes have evolved considerably in my life. When I was young, I read children’s mysteries. “The Boxcar Children,” for example, was incredible. I devoured every book in that series. They still hold a special place in my heart. When I was still fairly young, I actually wrote a series of books that paid homage to them, which I called “The Treehouse Gang.” I also loved “Goosebumps,” but I think most ‘90s kids did. I also, of course, read Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. (Side note: Though I have no desire to see it, the trailers for “Ramona and Beezus” make my heart a little warmer.)

Then I started getting into sci-fi. I remember reading “I Spent My Summer Vacation Kidnapped Into Space” and the “My Teacher is an Alien” series. In case you haven’t realized by now, I was a Scholastic child. Holla if you remember Scholastic Book Club fondly. I read a ton of “Star Trek” novels.

When I was 10 or 11, I read “Jurassic Park” for the first time, and soon after started into other Michael Crichton technothrillers, like “Sphere” and “Congo.” I remained a fan of his for quite some time afterward, with “Timeline” being my favorite of his later books. I still re-read “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World” every few years, and they never get old. Nowadays, I still enjoy an occasional technothriller. Lincoln Child wrote one called “Utopia” a few years back, about the most advanced theme park in the world. I love it.

But in my mid-teens, I started getting into fantasy (prior to this, the only fantasy books I’d read was “The Chronicles of Narnia”). This was fueled by my love of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and my foray into fantasy literature started with novels based on that TV series.

Then I found – and this isn’t particularly shocking – Harry Potter. I had never devoured books so hungrily. Even now, I can’t burn through books like I did Harry Potter. I read the last in around six or seven hours. (Question: Did anyone else find that, after reading “Deathly Hallows,” it really brought closure to the series? I used to re-read every Potter book repeatedly, but after reading “Deathly Hallows,” I found myself so satisfied that I no longer go back to read any of them anymore.)

And after that discovery, I delved into other fantasy novels, eventually settling into the supernatural mystery genre (urban fantasy). Another of my favorites is the Harry Dresden series. I’ve always found it funny that another wizard named Harry just happened to make it into my must-reads. Jim Butcher struck gold with that character. Harry Dresden is perfectly developed – not a superhuman, just a reluctant (almost anti) hero who has learned to use magic. He’s strong, but he takes a beating on many an occasion.

I also love the Mercy Thompson series, about a Native American woman who has the ability to shapeshift into a coyote. And not just because of the fact that she’s depicted on the covers as being incredibly hot. Mercy generally solves murders or other mysteries, dealing with ghosts, vampires, and being in love with two werewolves at once.

I enjoyed the start of the Anita Blake series, before it became nothing more than glorified porn, and I also started reading Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. Not sure where that one lost me, but I may one day return to it. And I still anxiously await each new book in Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series.

I really liked “Twilight,” but I wouldn’t put the series in my top five, for reasons I’ve discussed in earlier blogs.

At the beginning of this year, I found a book series that has quickly become my second favorite (after Harry Potter). The Mortal Instruments trilogy, written by Cassandra Clare, is pretty much perfect. The only thing stopping me from ranking it above Potter is, well, the fact that Potter was my first, so to speak. The story centers on a girl named Clary, who lives a rather ordinary life with her single mother, and then one day her mother is kidnapped, and she discovers that her parents were Shadowhunters – people who fight demons. As she starts to learn about this world, she falls in love with a boy named Jace. And then things get really complicated. I cannot stress enough how much I love this trilogy. And I can’t wait for first book in what is rumored to be another trilogy in this series. (Side note: This is one of only two books I’ve actually had dreams about. The other was Stephen King’s “Dreamcatcher,” but that dream freaked me the heck out.)

And I just finished another of my new favorites: “The Mortal Coils” by Eric Nylund, about 15-year-old twins, a brother and a sister, who’ve lived an incredibly sheltered life with the grandmother and great-grandmother, only to discover that they are the children of a goddess and a fallen angel. This leads into a series of trials that will ultimately determine if they live or die. Fast-paced and immersive, I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series, which just happened to be released today.

Anyway, that’s the evolution of my literary tastes. Hopefully you read one or two of my favorites and fall in love with them yourself. These are the books that inspire me, that transport me into an elsewhere. We all need that, and some of us have different means of getting there. I also use TV and movies. Some use alcohol or drugs. So I’m glad I have books.

If you share similar tastes, by all means, make some suggestions. I’m always looking for new books to lose myself in.

Also, I apologize for the randomness of this post. I started writing it at 12:30 in the morning, because it had been on my mind. I’m sure it by no means is my best work.


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4 responses to “An Evolution of Literary Preference

  • Briana

    Harry Potter is everything.
    Have you read Hunger Games series? I have, yet, but my mom accidentally stumbled upon them and now she’s hooked. I promised her I’d read them after I finish The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    • Nathan

      No, but I have heard of the series and have considered it more than once. It’s on my list. Not sure when I’ll get around to it, but I do intend to read it one day. 🙂

  • Kaitlyn in Bookland

    Oh my gosh, I have so much to say about this. Goosebumps=life for 90s kids. I was also a Babysitters Club girl.
    Jurassic Park=<3
    Harry Potter is my life. Unlike you, I could read them all day every day and be okay with it.
    My brother keeps trying to get me to read the Dresden Files–looks like I should take him up on it.
    I have a love/hate relationship with Twilight.
    Rachel Caine–The Weather Warden series is floating around my house somewhere. Looks like I need to read it. Have you checked out the Morganville Vampire series by her? I enjoyed them.
    I just started reading the Mortal Instruments series. I'm enjoying them so far. I received an ARC of Clockwork Angel and loved it. Have you read it yet?
    I need to read The Mortal Coils–I haven't heard of it before, so thanks!

    I second Briana in suggesting The Hunger Games. Amazing.

    Sorry this was 392842348 pages long, I'm just addicted to books.

    • Nathan

      Harry Potter is still very much my favorite series of all time. The trailer for Deathly Hallows give me a happy like none other. I re-read the first six books repeatedly, but after Deathly Hallows, I just felt the most amazing closure. I have no doubt, though, that I will read them all again someday, probably more than once.

      Mortal Instruments is definitely a very close second to Harry Potter for me. And it’s one of only two books to ever cause me to dream about it.

      Haven’t read Morganville Vampires. Not sure why; it just hasn’t interested me.

      Clockwork Angel, surprisingly, just has no appeal for me. I’m not big on stories that take place in the past. I should probably feel guilty about that, especially since, in general, I do ENJOY the past. I love when I get a historical documentary to do at work. But I tend not to enjoy stories that take place before, say, the late ’50s.

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