Talk30-something LibraryThingers

Join LibraryThing to post.


This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Dec 26, 2007, 4:27pm

I'm curious as to what people find different (if at all) about their reading habits in their 30s as opposed to their 20s. Do you notice you've changed?

Dec 27, 2007, 8:45am

My taste is broader definitely. Almost all I read in my early 20s was horror.

Edited: Dec 27, 2007, 12:58pm

I find I'm far more selective about what I choose to read.

In my 20's, I was more inclined to read a broader range of novels based upon the recommendations of friends. While this would occassionally introduce me to a gem, most of the recommendations were duds.

Most of my current novel selections are based upon newspaper or group-specific LT reviews. These selections have been far more satisfying.

Dec 27, 2007, 2:38pm

#3 - I agree. I still take recommendations from friends who I know have similar tastes as me, but I don't go in blind like I used to do.

Also, I am much less likely to read something that is widely recommended. Being a NYT's best seller only means it appeals to the masses and/or it has a lot of great marketing behind it--either way it is not necessarily worth the time.

Dec 27, 2007, 4:45pm

Much more discriminating. Life's too short to read crap, a perspective that I didn't have in my 20s. Also, I used to read for escape much more so I didn't care about the quality. A funny thing happened during my first year of law school (in my late twenties), but all of a sudden I just couldn't read bad writing anymore. I thought my brain would be so fried that I wouldn't care what dreck I read as long as it wasn't opinions, but no. It turns out whatever I read had to be well-written, even if it lacked substance. I still don't know why that happened, but I'm glad it did, I've discovered some amazing authors in my quest for good writing.

Since joining LT I've had a much better time discovering good things to read.

Dec 27, 2007, 4:56pm

Citygirl-that's funny because I've grown to realize the opposite. For me life is too short to read stuff that I have to work at and I just want to read for the fun and enjoyment of it.

I wouldn't say the books I read lack quality or are badly written but I know a lot of people consider romance and fantasy (my personal favorites) fluffy nonsense.

Dec 27, 2007, 8:33pm

Add me to the "more selective" camp. Now that I have less time to read, I want to really enjoy what I'm reading. I used to finish a book no matter what once I'd started (even though I might dabble in other things in the middle) but now I'm not ashamed to say a book just isn't worth my time and set it aside. Actually, I confess, I get annoyed when a book is hyped up and turns out not to be "all that" because I feel like I lost part of my life to a bad book. I do enjoy many classics and works of nonfiction others might not like so much, but if I've given a book a fair shot of pages--some good ones do start slow after all--and it doesn't do anything for me, no matter how highly regarded, I've finally gained the ability to say "no more."

Dec 28, 2007, 12:54pm

Ok, well, I'm not quite 30-something (February baby!) but I hope its ok that I joined.

I have much more of an interest in reading fiction now than I did 10 years ago. Until I finished grad school, I would have definitely said I preferred non-fiction. Now I am discovering the world of novels again, although I still love a good non-fiction read. I think I am also becoming slightly less pretentious in what I read - I realize that not every book I read has to be some incredibly difficult academic tome that takes 3 months to finish and is no fun but is "worthwhile" because you learn something about "the field". Or maybe that's just being done with academia. :)

Dec 30, 2007, 10:47pm

I think the biggest change in my reading habits from over the last 10 years is that I will read a wider range of books now than I ever did then. Although my love of bargain book racks, where I will pick a book up because it costs $4 for a hardcover with and interesting title or jacket or whatever it was that made me pick the book up and read the synopsis, that did start when I was in my mid 20s.

I will now read anything that someone suggests as being a good book.

I also will push forward on a book that I don't like at the beginning...at least read a lot more of it before I give up on it completely. (I actually can't remember for sure the last time I put a book down after starting it and not finishing it...)

Jan 1, 2008, 5:01pm

Message #6 - I agree, I read what I want to read, regardless if some people think it's crap. Reading is entertainment to me, if I wanted to work at it I'd go back to school and let the professors tell me what is good.
I don't like the bandwagon-jumpers who read because Oprah tells them to, or those who only read "literature" or "classics" because they think it makes them look smart.

Jan 1, 2008, 5:24pm

My 20s were in grad school - so one big change for my 30s is that I can afford to basically buy what I want - so occasionally I now buy well reviewed hardcovers when they come out, cuz I can. In my 20s I was more prone to read experimental fiction - Infinite Jest comes to mind, thinking new takes on structure were good, just for being new. I was a far more identity based reader in my 20s - reading Canadian literature and book by women because of the writer not the writing. In my 30s I became for more apt to read "classics" and stop caring about the who the writer was, or in fiction, the message of the novel. Philip Roth and V. S. Naipaul are two writers I love my (late) 30s that I think I would have disliked in my 20s.

Jan 1, 2008, 6:18pm

There really are a lot of classics out there that are great and entertaining. They are classics for a reason. When you get used to reading a certain time period, it really isn't any different than reading something from today.

#10 - I also wanted to say I agree wholeheartedly with your Oprah comment. Why so many people will read books just because she endorses them is a mystery to me.

Jan 2, 2008, 12:08am

>12 perlle:, perlle - I agree that there are a lot of classics that are incredible books - most of which I have just recently discovered. 'Classic' English literature has become one of my biggest interests and has drawn me into both English history and culture - fields I never was interested in when I was younger!

I guess its all about why you read what you read - is it because you enjoy it or because you're trying to project an image of any sort. I think (and I hope I'm not putting words in anyone's mouth here) that what people mean is that as they have gotten older, they do more of the former and less of the latter. For me, this has meant that I have finally admitted that I just don't care about things like Beat Literature and I just don't get the appeal of William Burroughs!

Jan 2, 2008, 7:57am

#13 - I think that's probably a good way of looking at it. I was talking about this topic last night and someone I know told me that most of what they read is to project a certain image and I was amazed. I must be really naive because I always thought people read things just because it was interesting, entertaining, and/or educational. Wow.

Oh, and I always want to hug people who don't care about beat literature. I don't get it either. On the Road was one of the most disappointing things I ever read.

Jan 2, 2008, 10:22am

>14 perlle:, Oh that is so sad that someone said that to you!

Yeah, I guess its not cool to admit it, but I just don't get the beats. :) At least there's two of us now!

Jan 2, 2008, 9:24pm

>14 perlle: Make that three. I always thought I was the only one who hated On the Road. Or that perhaps it meant that I was genetically a Republican or something. Now I can cross that mystery off the list: perhaps it's because the book just wasn't good.

Jan 2, 2008, 10:06pm

I think the popularity and the "greatness" of On the Road had more to do with its timing than its content.
But then people seem to like the chaos of it all. And the road trip aspect. People love the road trip. Forget that it was basically pointless.

Whatever message was there was lost on the fact that the characters are unsympathetic and two-dimensional. They are definitely not people you'd want to hang out with, or in my opinion, aspire to be.

The one positive thing I can say about the book is that the prose had lyrical qualities. Maybe that's why it stays around.

Jan 3, 2008, 8:25pm

I gave On the Road a shot because I like Hunter S. Thompson and some compare his style to Kerouac. I'm not really a fan of On the Road though I can appreciate the lyrical qualities of the prose as you mentioned, perile. But like Miles Davis (for example), I'm not sure that I really get it.

Jan 6, 2008, 9:20am

I've definitely be branching out more in my reading choices. Over the last couple of years, I've set myself reading challenges and as a result have actually srated to read (and enjoy!) classics, which never really got a look in before now. I used to be almost entirely a horror reader - Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Herbert were the authors I most often read - along with a love of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. I still love those books, but over the last few years, I have discovered a love of historical novels and have also been trying foreign authors. i'm much more open to trying new things than I used to be.

Jan 8, 2008, 9:35am

I certainly read a lot more non-fiction now than ever before. I've also noticed that my choice of fiction has evolved into darker and more complex novels.

I've also spent some time trying to cover the classics which has been a lot of fun.

Jan 8, 2008, 11:03am

Not a vast amount of change. My low 20s i wouldn't have touched non-fiction with a long pole, and I do sometimes dabble now, but mostly I read escapist works, and I still do. If anythign I'm more picky because I've found some great autors and now mostly read there new works (and re-read old favourites) whereas I used to read many a random thing from the library.

Jan 8, 2008, 12:55pm

I think another change that I have noticed in my reading throughout my late 20s (I'm now barely a month shy of 30!) is that I am much more interested in and willing to read books that are considered 'young adult' literature, whether I read them as a kid or not. Some of them I decide are just trashy, but many of them are more sophisticated than a lot of 'adult' books, which has really surprised me.

I also enjoy re-reading YA literature that I read when I was a kid and discovering the new dimensions of it. That is something I was not interested in doing in my early 20s.

Jan 16, 2008, 4:20pm

Hi everyone! Thanks for starting a group dedicated to our ages! I look forwarding to participating...

To answer this question, my reading tastes in my 20's were definitely centered around college. I graduated with my B.A. in English and M.A. in History during my 20's, so I read whatever was assigned to me. Then, I got married and had a family, so books usually were about parenting and family. However, I did read every Anne Rice vampire book I could get my hands on during this time!

Now, firmly settled in my 30s, I am enjoying books for recreation. Last year, I read 79 books - a record for me. It's fun to read books that make you think, but sometimes, I need a book that's just mindless...

Feb 28, 2011, 4:04am

For a start, I read much more UK books, because I spent 10 years there. English not being my first language, I suppose I did alright.

On the minus note, I lost the habit of reading one Spanish book a month, to keep the language level to where it should be. I should go back to reading in Spanish more often.

Studying for a BA has made me read a lot of academic books too, and that's something I didn't use to do in my twenties; I understand those academic publications better now, with more experience and maturity, than I did then, probably because of my studies.