Choosing what to read

What do you like to read? I had a discussion on Twitter recently with @JYNovelist about novellas. I explained I didn’t tend to read them because I liked longer books in which I could immerse myself – but when I looked over my recent reading on Kindle I discovered that I’ve actually read quite a few recently. In my defence, they were a series, with the same main characters, so I could still get that immersive feeling.

I think I’m probably quite lazy as a reader. If I finish one book, I like to start on the next in the series since I’ve already gone to the bother of learning all the people and places. I can enjoy the story without trying to remember if Julia is the colleague or the sister, or work out what people mean when they refer to the heroine’s ‘work’. Yup, bone idle, that’s me. Although it does mean that once I’ve read up to date in that particular series I have to make a real effort to find something else I want to read, as I haven’t exercised my selection muscle for a while.

Naturally, I enjoy historical romance – but I don’t always feel comfortable reading it when I’m writing my own. If I were sounding ‘writerly’ I’d explain that’s because I want to retain my own voice, but to be honest it’s because I’m left depressed that my stuff isn’t half as good. So that’s a long list of authors who are out when I’m in the middle of a creative spurt.

I’ve developed quite an enthusiasm for cozy crime instead; I don’t really care about solving the murder mystery, but I enjoy finding out about the main character’s family, friends and surroundings. Cozy crime seems especially popular in the USA, where you can find series based in a particular place, round a hobby or even a particular job. UK writers include M C Beaton (Hamish MacBeth and Agatha Raisin) and Lesley Cookman, whose Libby Serjeant mysteries are well-worth looking for. And with e-readers, it’s even easier to find them.

I still don’t read short stories though – I find them too frustrating, with their one tiny vignette on someone’s life.

What do you like to read – and why?


One thought on “Choosing what to read

  1. annestenhouse

    Hi Allis, sun is struggling through here, but not hot enough to read in the garden. I read a lot of non-fiction. I just love to know when, where and how. I also read the book group books so have just read Alice Munro’s book about the Laidlaws of the Border country and their emigration to Canada. I do like that sort of thing, too. Oodles of cozy crime on hols. Well written children’s books are another favourite type. I read Dawn Knox’s Daffodil and the Thin Place on the train north on Friday. Truly excellent. Oh dear, is historical romance missing from this list? I do read it, but as you say, not much while creating it. anne stenhouse


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