I cannot believe that Adventures of a Bibliophile is almost four years old! Writing this blog – and interacting with all of you – has been an absolutely incredible experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My life has changed a lot in the last four years, and I thought it would be fun to look at just how much my reading tastes have changed in those four years as well.
Looking back, I think there are two major causes of my reading tastes evolving over the years. First, I got a masters degree in English and creative writing. I think, in some ways, this has made me a more critical reader. I understand the technical aspects better, and am much more sensitive to them. Writing can make or break a book for me. I do think this has indirectly led me to gravitate towards more literary and ambitious book when I read fiction. I still read pretty much everything else, but I’m more discerning about what I pick up. I don’t feel like I’m missing out if I don’t read that bestseller everyone else is talking about me. Sure, I’m curious, but if it doesn’t interest me that much, I don’t read it. I read what I think I’ll love or enjoy.
The second cause of my reading habits changing is this blog. Not only do I read a lot more books that I ever have before, I make it a point to read both widely and diversely in order to have a more diverse blog. I think it’s something that’s incredibly important both for me and for all of you. I think it makes me a better, more open-minded person (something I’ve come to prioritize in my life), and I want to put content out into the world that other people can identify with. I want to share books that other people see themselves in and books that will help more people become more accepting and empathetic to what others are going through. I believe that books can change the world, and I want to share the books I think can change it for the better, so that’s what I choose to read. Sure, I read other things, too, but I try to balance out the entertaining with the important.
One thing that has changed quite a bit is the amount of nonfiction I read now. I never thought I’d willingly read this much nonfiction. I didn’t even read this much as a history major in college. But I absolutely love it. Three years ago, I set a goal for myself of reading one nonfiction book a month, and it’s now rare that I have to actively think about keeping up with that goal each month. It’s just something I do naturally at this point, and I have learned so much about the world by doing so. It makes me happy that my reading is both for entertainment and learning, especially since I’m out of school. And I love that I no longer feel daunted by the nonfiction books on my TBR. Who would have thought that a six-hundred page biography of Leonardo da Vinci would end up on my favorites list? Or that I’d end up reading a medical memoir about once a year? Definitely not the me from four years ago. (To be fair, I’ve been reading a more books about medicine and neurology since I started working in a medical school.)
I also make it a point to read more diverse books. I think the move towards publishing more diverse books has been incredible. I wish it had been something I was more aware of as a teenager, but I am so glad that now so many diverse books are available, and that I make a point of reading them. Books have radically changed my worldview in the last four years, and reading diverse books is a big part of that. In general, I’ve had a privileged life. Yes, I’ve encountered discrimination as the daughter of an immigrant with a Middle Eastern last name. But other people have it much, much worse than I do. My experience is not the same as theirs, nor will it ever be. But by reading diverse books, I can start to understand the experiences of others and empathize with what they’ve gone through. None of us have lived the same lives. We are all different, and I believe that’s what makes the world a beautiful place. And what can make it a better place. And if I can do that even a little bit by reading, even better.
Overall, I am extremely happy and proud of how my reading tastes have evolved over the years. Some of my favorite books are ones I wouldn’t have picked up six years ago. And I’ve become a much better person through books. So I think it’s a win.