Do your reading preferences change as you age?

black and white picture of a bookplate reading ex librisI’m not talking about growing out of See Spot Run to murder mysteries. I’m talking about a change from a slower paced story to a quick read. Is it because of time or taste?

Maybe it’s just me, but I just realized that the last 3 books I stopped reading were books I would have loved even 5 years ago. I struggled through about 15%-20% of the book before I just removed from device – Kindlespeak for I give up.

Then and now

Then being the time when I devoured books that spent pages setting the world, or explored odd ideas of the future of humanity. Books that didn’t rush to action scenes. Now being, well, now. When I love to read books that keep me awake with the speed of the story. That build quickly to the crisis that needs to be solved.

Then, I hadn’t written 8 books and drafted three more. Then, I didn’t spend my time writing.  Then, I had little idea what it took to tell a good story. I just liked to go away into another world or another reality – and I had time.

Now, I spend most of my spare time writing, or thinking about the next book. I read on my Kindle because it’s available as long as it’s in my purse. So, I get to read waiting for an appointment, or on transit without carrying four or five books with me. Now, with my Kindle I can switch to a new book if I am getting bored.

The books I gave up on

I don’t leave reviews for books unless I can give 3 stars and a comment. When I give up, I just mark the book as read on Goodreads and Shelfari. I especially don’t leave bad reviews just because it wasn’t my kind of book. Of the last three I stopped reading, there was nothing that would have stopped me five years ago. Here’s what happened.

Tears of the Sun by S.M. Stirling – I’ve read all the others in the series and enjoyed them, although I did think the first one, Dies the Fire, was the best (In an odd turn, it’s much like the new Revolution series. The world changes when the power stops working). This latest one was promising to resolve a big question, maybe the big question of the story. The writing was as good as the past books, a lot of world building or reminding and the enemy is mysterious and deadly. I just couldn’t continue reading because I felt like I was familiar enough with the world that the story just needed to be told.

The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson – I don’t know why this one didn’t work for me. I loved Snowcrash and it was just as weird, but this one felt chopped up to me. Perhaps because I couldn’t put together more than 20 min in a row to read it. This is the kind of book that requires your attention.  Again, well written and it should have engaged me.

The Player of Games, Iain M Banks – Another one that surprised me. I loved House of Suns, but I just couldn’t keep going. There was nothing wrong with the book, it just needed me to read it for bigger chunks of time.

The question for this post is, has this happened to you? Are there books you would have devoured a few years ago that you don’t like any longer?