Looking Back – How I’ve Grown as a Reader this Year

Looking Back - How I've Grown as a Reader this Year

How I’ve Changed as a Reader this Year

Am I sick of YA fantasy?

After finishing a recent read I’ve started to wonder if I’m just growing away from YA fantasy. Lately the fantasy books that I enjoy the most are high fantasies and epic fantasies that have amazing character development and I’ve started to notice that I am not enjoying YA fantasy as much as I used to. Lately I feel like so many of the characters are just interchangeable and while these books still entertain me, they don’t wow me the way they used to.

As a reader I’m constantly changing.

Over the year my interests have changed a lot. There were periods of time where I didn’t read fantasy at all, times where I was obsessed with YA contemporary novels or science fiction. Other years when all I read were thrillers and mystery novels. I strongly believe that the more you read the more you grow as a reader and that includes changing tastes.

But is being a book blogger changing the way I enjoy reading?

Being a book blogger makes you a critical reader. You critique books on what you like and don’t like. I find it really helpful every now and then to look at my recent 5 star reads and see what they have in common. Tracking my reading habits gives me insight to my own tastes. I think being a critical reader makes me a better writer, but does it affect how much I enjoy reading?

Lately I feel that the downside of growing as a reader is that I’ve become more critical of books. Of course I am a huge mood reader, so sometimes when I read a book it just isn’t the right time for that story, but recently I’ve picked up several YA fantasies when I was totally in the mood for them and didn’t enjoy them the way that I thought I would. Or at least… the way I used to enjoy them. These are books that that get tons of praise from the community, but they just fail to hit the mark for me. Of course it could just be that these books just aren’t for me, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m growing away from YA fantasy as a reader.

Looking Back at Books I’ve Read this Year

Since it’s getting close to the end of the year I think it’s time for me to go back and look at my reading this past year and see how I’ve grown and changed as a reader. I decided to look at my 5 star reads from this year and see what they have in common.

5 Star Reads

I should be reading more high/epic fantasy

When looking back at the books I read this year I was kind of surprised by my 5 star reads. It appears that rather than growing away from YA fantasy I’m really growing TOWARDS high and epic fantasies instead. Looking back I was kind of shocked by how few books I actually gave 5 stars. What I’ve really noticed is that once again my favorite books are the long and epic fantasy novels. For some reason these books intimidate me and I wind up avoiding them even though I know that they’re my favorite types of books.

Since I read mostly YA fantasy I was shocked that there were only a handful of YA fantasies that I gave 5 stars, and when I think about my favorites from the last year none of those books are in the conversation. My favorite books were those 500 page or longer epic fantasy books that had incredible world building and character development. I knew this before and while I’m reading these books a bit more than the last time I looked through my 5 star reads, I still am intimidated by huge fantasy books.

Series I’ve Started this Year

I’ve been reading a lot more series!

One thing I’ve really loved about this year is that I’ve been reading more series. The last few years I read mostly ARCs, so I didn’t read many series. But I remembered just how much I love being able to binge read a series and follow characters through several books. I have really been enjoying reading backlist series lately and I’m always thrilled when I discover that I love the first book in a series that has many more books out. While I do read sequels of ARCs that I get, it’s just not the same waiting a year for the next book to come out.

I’ve let myself read less ARCs and more backlist

And you know what? I’ve actually enjoyed it! First off, there is less pressure to be reading what I’m “supposed” to be reading. But I’ve also been able to pick up backlist titles that I missed out on when they first came out. I have really been loving the freedom of reading back list series that have tons of hype. Or just a standalone that sounds so good!

Let’s Chat!

What about you? How has your reading changed over the past year? Have you been reading more series? Have your interests changed lately? Do you find that you don’t love certain genres the way that you used to? Make sure to comment below so we can chat about how we’ve grown as readers this past year!

18 thoughts on “Looking Back – How I’ve Grown as a Reader this Year

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  1. You know I had the same realisation over the past few years re. YA Fantasy. I went from loving it so much for my interest in it to just dwindle a bit. There is still so much great YA Fantasy out there but I was finding more and more were just the same and my own personal interests wanted them to be more ‘adult’ so I realised I was probably at a point where I needed to read more Adult Fantasy.

    One thing I noticed about my reading habits changing is I am now hard into historical fiction. Never saw that coming I’ll be honest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally feel the same way. But then I find it hard to find adult fantasy novels that look really good. I want an epic fantasy that has amazing characters that isn’t super intense. While YA fantasy is not intense enough or the characters don’t have enough depth a lot of times I feel like adult fantasy can be intimidating.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tend to stay away from adult fantasy that looks ‘heavy’ and where it feels like it’s all misery. I don’t think I have any epic fantasy that comes to mind but I did enjoy Uprooted by Naomi Novik as that was adult fantasy that wasn’t intimidating!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been disappointed by some big hyped books this year, so I’ve found myself seeking out less well known books and have found some hidden gems! You just never know where your next 5 star book will come from😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found that this year has been an odd year publishing wise because of the virus. I have been reading a lot of backlist books lately and I’ve really been enjoying them. I try hard to find potential 5 star reads, but finding a book that truly wows me is hard!


      1. I’m really glad that I read Six of Crows before I was a part of the book community because it’s such a hyped book. I struggle with too much hype. For example I recently read A Darker Shade of Magic and it had been recommended to me so many times and so hyped up that I expected it to be truly incredible but I felt like the characters were so bland and cookie cutter. They could have been from any YA fantasy. Hype can really change your expectations for a book. If I had read A Darker Shade of Magic without such high expectations I probably would have enjoyed it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I also struggle with too much hype. I’m one of those people once something gets hyped too much I usually don’t try it. I liked Darker Shade of Magic (#1) but I agree that the characters could have been better. I’m honestly a bit tired of the “single girl who is thief with a heart of gold”’trope. However I thought the concept and plot was pretty original from other books I’ve seen. The characters not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Dude give me a morally grey thief. I can’t stand a thief who is morally absolved somehow. And to have a main character who is a thief and to just totally ignore the subject of morality… ugh. But honestly I just felt like the characters were so cookie cutter. Idk I think my real struggle was that I just expected it to be so much better. Everyone talked about how cool the 4 londons were and how unique the book was. I expected the world building to be incredible, but the entire world was basically described in the blurb. People hype Schwab so much that I expected SO much when I finally actually picked up one of her books and I just felt that it was very run of the mill YA fantasy. Needless to say the hype really played a role in some serious disappointment.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ever since college, I’ve been really into non fiction! I still love science fiction and fantasy but I’ve always wanted to get more into contemporaries but I can never find cute romances around 20 year olds. I’m out of school and don’t have kids and I would like to see that reflected more often in adult fiction! But I’ve also found some really awesome non fiction books that were challenging but also great to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Non fiction seems really popular. I didnt realize how many people read non fiction until I started working at a bookstore. Personally I dont see the appeal.

      I also have that struggle with books. It’s either about teenagers or older adults and I want to read about people in their 20s who dont have kids. There is new adult, but I dont really read books with sex scenes. I read mostly YA fantasy ot regular fantasy and I find that a lot of times in YA the characters feel older than they are and sometimes in adult fantasy the characters are around my age. I felt like the Mistborn characters were relatable. Not teenagers exactly, but not older adults either. (Well at least some of them.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you have to find the right authors and topics! Erik Lawson writes really good historical creative fiction where it’s history but reads more like fiction. I also read one about poisons that was really good!

        I agree! I don’t really connect with high school or older adults right now. I’m also not a fan of graphic sex scenes. I also read mostly fantasy and so far the only books I think that are around our age group is A Darker Shade of Magic and The Queen of Tearling. I haven’t read Mistborn yet but I’ve heard great things all around about the series!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just read A Darker Shade of Magic and Queen of the Tearling actually! I found Queen of the Tearling more relatable than ADSOM, but I didn’t like the characters in ADSOM. I think that a lot of YA fantasy has characters that act older and the target audience definitely seems to be people in their older teens thru mid twenties. I think Mistborn is a great fantasy that feels right in that age group of 20’s. Plus, I mean, it’s just one of the best books I’ve ever read ever. So.. you should read it. lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One day I’m going to see if the library has it! I do feel a lot of YA is actually written with people older in mind. A lot of characters I think don’t act their age. I think the Queen of Tearling did a great job making
        The character seem more 18.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I really liked Queen of the Tearling. Book 2 was great too but I was disappointed in the way book 3 ended. I do like that a lot of YA is targeted for older audiences tho because a lot of adult books are just so unrelatable. I did recently read an adult fantasy that I loved even tho the characters were like in their 40s. But I was able to empathize with the characters even if I couldnt relate to them.


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