I wanted the title of this post to be “how my reading habits have changed over the past two years” or “how my reading habits have changed since graduating college” specifically, but that seemed like too long of a title, so I decided to just clarify that here instead. A lot of things have happened and changed for me since college, including: getting my masters degree in library and information science, moving out of my parents’ house, getting my first full time library job, and moving in with my boyfriend. As a result of these things (and okay, maybe one main thing that I’ll talk about later…) my reading habits, including pacing, what I read, etc., have changed quite a lot. Here are some of the ways my reading has changed since graduating college:
- I read WAYYYYY more slowly. I have never been one of those slightly obnoxious bloggers who can read 200+ books per year and then complain when the read “only” ten books in a month (sorry, getting salty there for a minute), but I did read 125+ books per year most years. I could easily read a book in a day, and I didn’t struggle at all to get through even books I didn’t like so much. Now, I read more like 60 books a year, which is still a lot for the average person, but I still kind of feel like I’m failing. I know why it happened; for about six months after college, I didn’t read because a week after I graduated, one of my best friends died of a rare heart condition. I couldn’t read or do much of anything that required brain or emotional power after that. Once I started reading again, it took me a long time to get into books, and I couldn’t speed through like I had done in the past. I’m slowly increasing my reading pace again now, but it’s still taking time to recover from, and honestly most of my reading habits listed on here have changed because of her death and how it affected me.
- I read more fantasy. Especially this year, I think at least half of my reads have been fantasy. Starting mid-high school, I got really into contemporaries, and they were usually pretty dark or sad. After my friend died, I found it really hard to read books like that, and honestly still do. I definitely avoid books about death or grief, and even deaths that aren’t at all similar to my situation make me upset to read about. So I think that’s one of the main reasons I have turned more to fantasy: I can still be emotionally invested in a story but separate it from my real-life emotions. I also just like fantasy more, and there’s a lot of really good stuff out there that’s coming out and that I missed while I was on my contemporary kick. It’s like rediscovering the genre, and I usually love every fantasy I read.
- I read more fluff. I have never been a fluff person, but this year I’ve managed a few fluffy books (standouts include LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE and THE SUMMER OF JORDI PEREZ), and it’s made me enjoy reading again a lot more than my usual dark contemps. Again, I think it’s largely because I just want to avoid the dark stuff because I’m dealing with it too much in my own life and don’t want to think about it constantly.
- In general, I use reading more as an escape. That’s really what more fantasy and fluff reads boil down to for me. I used to read more for solace and to feel like I wasn’t alone in my struggles, especially as a teen and in college, but now that I’ve gone through multiple real traumas and am struggling with PTSD, I just don’t have the brain space to deal with even fictional struggles as much. I’ve only read one of my “usual” contemps this year, WHEN MY HEART JOINS THE THOUSAND, and, while amazing, it was hard for me to get through because of my own life stuff.
- I value trigger warnings more. I don’t know if this really counts as a reading habit, but I’m putting it here anyway. I certainly understood the importance of trigger warnings before suffering traumas, but even after they happened I haven’t always been that understanding of certain trigger warnings, because sometimes it seemed like literally anything could have a trigger warning. However, now when I read reviews that include trigger warnings, I often find myself thinking I might avoid a book because it has something that upsets me in it, so I value them more.
- I’m getting *slightly* less afraid of longer books. I know as a good and fast reader, I shouldn’t get intimidated by lengthy books, but honestly, I sooooo do. I think it’s mostly because my reading count is so much smaller than it used to be that I feel like I HAVE to read more short books in order to meet even my goal of 50, but lately, I’ve been dabbling in fantasy more, and those books tend to be 400+ pages. I think long fantasy is less intimidating to me, but contemporaries that are over 400+ pages usually get the side-eye from me still because that’s too long for a contemp in my opinion, and usually they don’t need to be that long. Anyway. I’ve been trying not to fear 400 page books, but books that are closer to 500 still seem daunting (looking at you, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE).
- I make less time to read on my own. Honestly, I mostly read at work while I’m on desk and there aren’t as many patrons coming up to me to ask for help or to ask if the computers are down when they’re turned off and there are signs over them (damn, I’m feeling salty today!) When I get home, I usually just want to veg out and watch silly shows and can’t make my brain function enough to read. I would really like to read more at home and on weekends, but I find myself less motivated to do that than I used to be.
Talk to me: how has your reading been affected by adulthood or other major life changes? Do you have any tips for getting my reading pace back up? Let’s discuss!