By Krista Peters
I have always been a "suspense thriller" kind of girl. I think it comes from my Dad, who was always reading novels and then passing them down to me saying "you just have to read this." That is how I became hooked on authors like Grisham, Chrichton, and Jeffrey Deaver. Over the years I would not say that my reading habits have changed so much as they have been expanded upon. As I was growing up I always thought it was a challenge to read novels that were being made into films. I would see previews of movies that were based on books, and run out and read the books before I saw the movies. Although I don't know why I did that to myself because I always tended to be disappointed. Anyone who read The Lost World and then saw the movie will understand what I am talking about. In recent times though, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings have surprisingly lived up to my expectations. Thank goodness. I don't think I could have handled some random scene of hobbits running around San Francisco when that was never even eluded to in the novel. (I am only a little bitter).
These days I do very little reading for pleasure except on winter and summer breaks. Although there was this one time last year when I picked up Valley of the Dolls because it was lying on the couch. It was my roommate's novel for one of her courses and I could not put it down. I had to finish it in three days so that my roommate could read it for class. Needless to say, I did not accomplish a whole lot of reading for my own courses that week.
The reading I do for pleasure still consists of suspense thrillers, but it also includes finishing other works that I never got around to. In other words, after exams, I usually end up finishing novels I did not finish in class. There is something about not finishing a novel. I just can't do it because I end up feeling like something is missing. Other times I find that my leisure reading is a continuation of my English courses. For instance, last semester I bought Bonfire of the Vanities for a course, but the professor decided not to use it. So I read it over the break. Why buy a novel and never read it, you know? And it was really a great book. I also find that if a professor or an author I have read in one of my courses was particularly influenced by a piece of literature, I will pick it up and read it on my own time to satisfy my curiosity about why it was so great. I read Catcher in the Rye one summer because of all the hype and controversy around it. And by the way, I really don't see what the big deal is. This has been the routine for me over the past few years and generally I enjoy reading works that have profound messages and on which I have background information even if they take me awhile to get through.
In this way my reading preferences have not changed, they have just expanded. I still love reading the very popular bestsellers, like Harry Potter. (I admit, I am a huge fan. I have already read a few of them twice.) But I also find that I have to put down some novels in which the characters or the plot is too shallow or unbelievable, and replace them with more literary works.
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