Jo Talks Books: On How My Reading Tastes As A Kid Influenced What I Read Now

Hey everyone! I know it’s a little late in the month for me to just be posting my first discussion post, but what can I say, April has been a busy time for me, I’ve had a lot of assignments for the end of semester at Uni and haven’t had time to sit down and write a lengthy discussion post….until now because I’m back home for a few weeks before exams start. Anyway, I was originally going to write a post on why classics don’t appeal to me and I probably will write that post at some point, but thanks to my Top Ten Tuesday post this week being all about my favourite childhood books, it got me thinking about the books I read as a kid and how my reading tastes now have been influenced by them. I realised when I was putting together that list that my reading tastes now are actually pretty much the same as they were when I was younger, I still read a lot of fantasy, it’s just more grown up fantasy than I read when I was a kid, the fantasies I read when I was a kid, aside from Harry Potter, were all very light and fluffy, the fantasies I read now…..not so much. Still, without reading books like Harry Potter when I was younger, I never would have discovered books like Artemis Fowl, Skulduggery Pleasant, Percy Jackson, Rebel of The Sands, Throne of Glass, The Raven Cycle, basically every fantasy that I have ever loved. Fantasy was my gateway into reading, most of the books I loved when I was younger were fantasy, I think because fantasy encompassed the magic of reading for me, being able to escape into different worlds and experience these adventures alongside your favourite characters, so it makes sense that whilst I read books that are Young Adult rather than children’s now (for the most part, I have read middle grade books in the past as well), my love of fantasy has remained the same.

The humour in Roald Dahl books and James Herriot books were my grounding for loving humour in my books and enjoying books like the Percy Jackson series and the Skulduggery Pleasant series which are both incredibly funny. The dark humour of A Series of Unfortunate Events was the foundation for my love of books like Unwind and Skulduggery Pleasant, both of which have dark humour also. The Faraway Tree stories instilled in me a love of adventure, which I has only expanded as I have grown up, in both my reading life and my personal life. That’s my absolute favourite thing about reading, every book you read feels like you’re going on an adventure with the characters, experiencing what they’re experiencing just from a different view and I hope that never changes, that every new book I read always feels like an adventure. That’s probably another reason why I love fantasy so much, because there’s usual some kind of adventure involved, more so than other types of fiction. Charlotte’s Web was one of the first books that broke my heart, and it’s one of my favourites (as did Black Beauty for that matter), which set a trend that has continued through my life so far, a lot of my favourite books are actually books that are sad, because I tend to find that sad books are also incredibly beautiful. The Roman Mysteries was my very first historical fiction, my gateway into the other historical fiction I’ve read through my life. Jacqueline Wilson’s books were the basis for my love of one of my now favourite authors Jodi Picoult, as both authors deal with difficult issues, Jodi Picoult’s books are just more adult.

I’ll admit, I don’t read as many horse stories as I did when I was younger, but that’s mostly because horse books tend to be more aimed towards kids (and when I say kids, I mean little kids, like 5-8, because I’m okay with reading middle grade if the topic interests me, after all Percy Jackson is middle grade and I love those books!). If there were more horse books aimed towards young adults then I would definitely read them, because I absolutely adored all of the horsey books I read when I was younger. Plus some of the horse books I read when I was younger, I would still read now, maybe not Heartland or Chestnut Hill or The Saddle Club, but I would definitely still read Blind Beauty and Black Beauty (and probably still enjoy them, after all, a good story is a good story no matter what age you read it at).

There are some books that I read when I was younger that I know I would still love now, Harry Potter (obviously), Matilda, Charlotte’s Web, James Herriot’s books (though those aren’t kids books, I just happened to be a kid when my dad read them to me), Black Beauty, Blind Beauty, A Series of Unfortunate Events & Ballet Shoes, some of them because the topics still interest me now and some of them because the stories are just timeless and can be enjoyed at any age. I reckon I could still even enjoy the Faraway Tree stories now, even though I’m much older now, because it would be hard not to be swept up in those stories. I’d also love to read Shadow the Sheepdog again because it really meant a lot to me when I was a kid, but sadly that’s never going to happen, given that my dad’s copy fell apart from age and so many rereads! I could get another copy but it wouldn’t be the same, which makes me very sad, because I loved that book and have very fond memories of my dad reading to me. I could still read James Herriot’s books now, but it wouldn’t be the same reading them by myself as it was when my dad read them to me.

Some of the books I read when I was younger I wouldn’t read now because I’ve outgrown them, the most obvious ones being Linda Chapman’s books, as they were very pointedly at a certain age (around 5-8), but they were my very early grounding in fantasy (as was the Faraway Tree), reading books like that lead to Harry Potter when I was a little older, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and then all of the fantasy books I’ve read as a teenager, books like that were my very first taste of fantasy and I’ve never gone back.

Basically, my point is that the books we read in our childhood definitely have an effect on the books we read when we are older, what I learned through doing my most recent Top Ten Tuesday post is that I still like the same stuff that I always have, just instead of reading children’s books now, I read Young Adult Books (with the occasional middle grade and adult book mixed in there), but all of the elements of books that I loved when I was younger, magic, humour, friendship, adventure (I realise I could just be talking about the Harry Potter books here, but let’s assume that I’m talking about a variety of books that I read when I was younger!), horses, sad moments, dark, creepy stuff, history etc (I could list every single thing I loved about the books I read when I was a kid here, but it would take a while!), but the basic point is, I’ve taken something from every book I read when I was a kid and it has affected what I read now and I think that’s pretty wonderful, because I like to think that you take a little something from everything you read and I know that the books I read as a child have definitely influenced what I read now and will continue to influence what I read in the future. That’s the thing I love most about books, you take something from everything you read, no matter how long ago you read it, you will have taken something from it and you will carry that with you for the rest of your life. That’s just one of the many reasons why I believe reading is truly magical!

So over to you! Do you feel that what you read as a child has influenced what you read now? Or are your reading tastes completely different now to what they were when you were a kid? What do you feel you have taken with you from the books you read when you were young? Let’s discuss, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

I will hopefully have a new discussion post for you all next week, but I’m not going to tell you what it is this time, in case I change my mind like I did with the topic of this discussion post! In the meantime, I will have my review of my latest read Code Name Verity for you guys very soon, so make sure to check that out.

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6 thoughts on “Jo Talks Books: On How My Reading Tastes As A Kid Influenced What I Read Now

  1. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction April 23, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    I’ve always been drawn to fantasy and paranormal – even as a child. Most of the first books that I can really remember reading were about kids with powers or ghosts. Still love fantasy and paranormal today!

    • iloveheartlandx April 24, 2016 / 9:38 pm

      Yeah it’s funny how things work that way isn’t it? The first genres that you’re drawn to as a child often remain your favourites.

  2. Greg April 26, 2016 / 6:19 am

    I agree, I think the books I read as a kid definitely influenced what I like to read now. I read mostly fantasy and while now I read a wider range (YA, contemps, mysteries occasionally) I still gravitate towards fantastic fiction. Fantasy will always be my first love I think. 🙂 It might be different fantasy books, but still fantasy. And I also agree about the adventure- reading fantasy takes you to other worlds, to an adventure and I think as a kid that was the attraction. So yeah- can definitely relate to that. Great post!

    • iloveheartlandx April 26, 2016 / 1:58 pm

      I’m the exact same way, I mostly read fantasy as a kid as well, and although the fantasies I read now are different, it’s still fantasy! Yeah, that was definitely the attraction for me. Thank you!

  3. vendija723 April 27, 2016 / 8:00 pm

    This makes sense. I’d say that as a kid I loved mysteries, fantasy, and historical fiction (or fiction that was contemporary when written but had become historical over time!). I still love these genres, but I”d also say I’m incredibly picky, possibly even snobbish, about them, which I was definitely not as a kid. (Exhibit A: The large collection on Nancy Drew novels I had in elementary school.)

    • iloveheartlandx April 27, 2016 / 8:07 pm

      Yeah, I’d agree on that, I’m a lot more fussy as a reader now than I was when I was a kid!

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