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Thread: My Tastes in Reading Have Changed -- Wildly

  1. #1
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    Post My Tastes in Reading Have Changed -- Wildly

    Maybe others have had this happen as they aged. Certainly has for me.

    A trip to Barnes & Noble doesn't do it for me anymore. Nothing jumps off the shelves and cries "READ ME" anymore, or at least so rarely as to make it a red-letter day worth a parade if I find even one book to get. Similarly, trips to used book stores like 2nd & Charles is likely to end empty-handed.

    Most of what I like to read is very esoteric and focused: astronomy papers from arXiv.org on a limited range of topics, old nonfiction books on UFOs (nostalgia), etc. I got an Amazon gift card and can't think of anything to get with it, except maybe a new microwave or something.

    Anyone else find their reading tastes have changed out of recognition? Having trouble finding stuff to put on my Kindle, too. (I put astronomy papers on that, but they are hard to read.)
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    I can't pass through a bookshop without books in many genres noisily recommending themselves and attempting to leap into my arms. So no change there.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I use to be into the star wars books but couldn't keep up with them because I was unemployed for a couple of years and now the what I was reading is now considered non-canon, it would of made some good movies but the characters are too old now. But still into sci-fi, mystery and pure science books.
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    So many books are tempting to buy, but the reality is that I have a backlog and I don't know when I'll get to the stack that is still unread. I struggle to keep up with the copies of Science that arrive weekly and I feel obliged to read them and then pass on to the local library's book and periodical exchange. (Someone is scooping up the ones I deliver within a day or two. I always wonder if I'll ever meet that person.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    So many books are tempting to buy, but the reality is that I have a backlog and I don't know when I'll get to the stack that is still unread.
    The Boon Companion has instructions that, when I die, she's to chuck all the unread books into the coffin with me. She recently surveyed the "pending" stacks in the spare room, and opined that she was going to need to hire earth-moving equipment.

    Grant Hutchison

  6. #6
    One the first stores or a section of a store to go to is where ever the books are, along with the electronics section and food section, generally avoid the clothes section.
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    Strand Books has carts outside where everything costs 1 or 2 dollars.

    After four years living in Greenwich Village, I have far, far more books than I have shelf space for.
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    Three bookshelves, and several storage containers of books and old magazines. I use to be able a book a day.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    So many books are tempting to buy, but the reality is that I have a backlog and I don't know when I'll get to the stack that is still unread. I struggle to keep up with the copies of Science that arrive weekly and I feel obliged to read them and then pass on to the local library's book and periodical exchange. (Someone is scooping up the ones I deliver within a day or two. I always wonder if I'll ever meet that person.)
    Why don't you leave a note in one - offer to buy them a coffee or something?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Anyone else find their reading tastes have changed out of recognition?
    My tastes have changed, but I can still find lots I want to read at a bookstore, the library, or online.

    I don't read nearly as much science fiction as I used to. I haven't kept up with new authors, so I don't know who I might like among them, and my old favorites are either dead or not writing any longer. I'll look through the shelves at the bookstore and nothing catches my fancy.

    But I am reading a lot of natural history books. Among the ones I read last year were a book on the elephants of Southeast Asia and the book by the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. Among my holiday presents are a book about beavers (called "Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter"), a book about the introduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park, and a book with suggestions on "herping" (looking for amphibians and reptiles). I also like history (read John Dean's "The Nixon Defense" about Watergate last year) and biographies (got through about half of John Lewis' autobiography, but it needed some serious editing and I only slogged through about half of the 500 pages).
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    Maybe you could try the graphic novel version? I certainly enjoyed it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Why don't you leave a note in one - offer to buy them a coffee or something?
    That's a great idea that I might try.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    ... Among my holiday presents are a book about beavers (called "Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter")...
    A few years ago the The Beaver Restoration Guidebook 2015 (~9mb PDF) was useful to me in a project I did for an ecosystem restoration society. Beavers are a very important part of our ecosystems affecting all sorts of things that people take for granted or just don't appreciate at all.

    I also like history (read John Dean's "The Nixon Defense" about Watergate last year) …
    Dean's perspective has also put him in demand for political talk shows the last few years. I remember as a 14 year old being amazed by his testimony, which was covered even by Canadian networks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    ....Nothing jumps off the shelves and cries "READ ME" anymore....
    These two should:

    1. The Goldfinch -- Donna Tartt (2013)
    2. All the Light We Cannot See -- Anthony Doer (2014)
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Strand Books has carts outside where everything costs 1 or 2 dollars.

    After four years living in Greenwich Village, I have far, far more books than I have shelf space for.
    One the best things when I worked at 770 Broadway was that the Strand was an easy walk; I could visit on my way to the subway from my ludicrous commute.

    Alabaster Books also had some interesting works on its outside carts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    One the best things when I worked at 770 Broadway was that the Strand was an easy walk; I could visit on my way to the subway from my ludicrous commute.

    Alabaster Books also had some interesting works on its outside carts.
    For some reason, the Alabaster carts are a really great place to find mountaineering books.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
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    I generally like science fiction and fantasy, but my tastes in both are and were broadly undiscriminating. I grew up during the paperback era of New Wave, and judging "good" quality was difficult since so many stories were so very off the beaten paths of regular literature. However, I still take some pleasure in re-reading certain familiar stories, for example I have several old Heinlein Juveniles from my youth that I still peruse every now and then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    For some reason, the Alabaster carts are a really great place to find mountaineering books.
    Well that makes perfect sense. Alabaster is a type of stone and mountains are made of stone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    For some reason, the Alabaster carts are a really great place to find mountaineering books.
    I found a couple of books on analysis.
    Information about American English usage here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I don't read nearly as much science fiction as I used to. I haven't kept up with new authors, so I don't know who I might like among them, and my old favorites are either dead or not writing any longer. I'll look through the shelves at the bookstore and nothing catches my fancy.
    Yes to above. My tastes have changed in a few ways, but I mostly like what I have for decades, but the market has changed. I do now avoid some old authors because of things I didn’t notice when I was much younger (like, in a couple of cases, attitude towards women), and I am pickier about technical errors, but in fiction I still tend to prefer hard science fiction, but also some softer science fiction and fantasy, occasionally mysteries and some other non-sff fiction. In non-fiction, I still enjoy reading about various science and technology subjects, though I don’t try to keep up with computer technology quite to the same level that I used to. Then beyond that, whatever happens to look interesting.

    I am reading a lot less science fiction for a few reasons. Like you, most of my favorite authors have died, aren’t writing, or are not writing well. When I look for new authors, I find too many writing depressing stories set in apocalyptic or dystopic conditions. I will read those on occasion, but I prefer more optimistic settings, like adventures with interesting things happening that tickle my sense of wonder. Too often I also find main characters that seem to be deliberately written to be unlikable, so I don’t care what happens to them or even actively hope something will happen to them so that another character will take their place in the story.

    And then, when I try to look for new authors, I notice how many of them feel it is their duty to explain on social media all about their political and other biases. Of course I won’t discuss details here, but I have been turned off by a number of authors on both ends of the political spectrum because of their apparent extremism. In stories, too, it feels like more authors are blatantly expounding on current political issues and want to make sure the reader understands that all right thinking people agree with them, only bad people disagree. If I read a science fiction story where politics is involved, I prefer a bit of subtlety, integrated well into the story (no author stand-in lectures please).

    Anyway, the upshot is that I often find myself either rereading old stories, or finding old stories I haven’t read before rather than trying modern stuff. There probably are more modern authors out there that I would like, but it seems to be a lot of work to find them.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2020-Jan-17 at 08:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I found a couple of books on analysis.
    Well that makes perfect sense. Alabaster is a type of stone and analysis is... wait, no.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    So many books are tempting to buy,
    --and so little money. There are lots of books I'd like to have. I wish Books-A-Million would carry Apogee Press (CG publishing).

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    Sunday, went to a 2nd & Charles used-book store, warehouse sized and filled with books, found nothing.

    Saw Stephen King's The Stand in a Barnes & Noble, but I knew I would never finish it.

    Last book I read for enjoyment was about 9 months ago, Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door, which was excellent.

    Eventually something will show. Thought about Harry Turtledove's Hot War trilogy, read the first, lost interest. Too many factual errors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    --and so little money. There are lots of books I'd like to have. I wish Books-A-Million would carry Apogee Press (CG publishing).
    And so little shelf space to store them all once you have them!
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

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    We recently put in a new bookcase, yet I still have a backlog of unshelved/boxed books from the last move... two years ago.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Ran out of shelf space ages ago, books just sit anywhere they are stuck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    ... Thought about Harry Turtledove's Hot War trilogy, read the first, lost interest. Too many factual errors.
    Uh, Turtledove writes alternative history. By definition it is totally accurate, 'cause he made it up.

    The Stand is good but long. I think I finished it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    The Stand is good but long. I think I finished it.
    This actually ties back to the OP. My tastes in what fiction I read haven't changed, but my preference for the format has. I find myself reading more short stories now than several years ago.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
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    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Uh, Turtledove writes alternative history. By definition it is totally accurate, 'cause he made it up.
    He has the USSR using great numbers of atomic bombs during a period when it had very few. He doesn't make use of any other long-range bombers except the B-29 (e.g., the B-36 Peacemaker), and doesn't explain the change in Stalin's reluctance to engage militarily with the U.S. Turtledove's story is just a "let's have a big war and ignore the details" story.

    LATER: In a way this relates to the OP because I realize I've gotten more demanding in my search for things to read. I check ratings of promising books, see how factual and relevant nonfiction books are, and otherwise do what I can to ensure I am not going to waste money on outrageously priced books.

    My tastes have changed, though. It is harder for me to get excited about reading for pleasure. It is hard to explain it better than that.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2020-Feb-11 at 03:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    This actually ties back to the OP. My tastes in what fiction I read haven't changed, but my preference for the format has. I find myself reading more short stories now than several years ago.
    Yes, this sounds right, as I tend toward a shorter read that is just for fun, if it is fiction. Also, most of my reading is goal-driven, particularly if I am reading astronomy papers. I have a purpose in mind for reading, mostly to satisfy my curiosity on particular topics. Books in bookstores don't have immediate cutting-edge news on astronomy, but arXiv.org does.

    I am still thinking about reading The Stand and mentally settling myself in for a long read. Wonder if there is a reading guide for it, in case I forget details.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    He has the USSR using great numbers of atomic bombs during a period when it had very few. He doesn't make use of any other long-range bombers except the B-29 (e.g., the B-36 Peacemaker), and doesn't explain the change in Stalin's reluctance to engage militarily with the U.S. Turtledove's story is just a "let's have a big war and ignore the details" story.
    I gave up on Turtledove years ago. For one thing, I am not a fan of war fiction unless there is some novelty to it. For another, Turtledove got in the habit of massively stretching series word count, and sometimes not making it clear a book wasn’t even close to the end of the story. The final straw was having a long running sympathetic main character do something horrible and wildly out of character in a too long series.

    He had a fantasy WWII story that was a long, painful slog that I gave up on when I realized I didn’t like the main characters and didn’t care what happened to them next. After that, there was an aliens invade during WWII series, with two trilogies. I expected it to end after the third book. There wasn’t even a decent pause. I then expected it to end on the sixth book. Same thing, and it had the horrible character action mentioned above. That’s where I vowed never to read anything by him again.

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