G is for Genre

There is a scene in the (original, of course) Blues Brothers where the proprietor of a honkey tonk explains to the boys that they carry both kinds of music, country and western. For a long time, my reading was like that scene – I read both kinds of books, fantasy and science fiction. It wasn’t always that way – a glance at the books I read before I was (arbitrary age) 30 had some variety in it. Most of that came from the decade or so starting my freshman year of high school when I worked in a library, always surrounded by books. Exposure to massive amounts of books can have a lasting effect.

But in the last few decades, I’ve read pretty much only science fiction and fantasy. There’s nothing wrong with that, I have very fond memories of many series, and have made friends along the way as a result of that reading. This year, though, I’ve drifted from my old friends (the book ones) more than usual. In fact, although I’m on track for reading 52 books this year (I’m at 48 so far), a mere 13 have been from my old stomping grounds, and 12 were in the first few months.

I don’t want to blame the pandemic, and yet in some ways, it’s probably a factor. It’s hard to read books that take place on a near future Earth when current present Earth is such a mess. But spy novels that take place in the past, or horror novels, they have a set place in time that works because they can’t violate causality with the world we really live in now. Or at least mostly.

So I’ve been reading a lot of Stephen King lately if you follow my Goodreads. Not because he’s the best per se, but he is consistent in what he delivers, and he has a lot to deliver, and I appreciate that. I’ve also learned I’m not a big fan of short story collections, which feels horrible to admit. I can read them, and enjoy them, but only in short bursts. In the collected form, I grow…discontent. I want a story that occupies me for days or weeks, not hours. I’m also trying to work my through a poster my oldest got me for Father’s Day of “great books to read.” I question a few titles, but there are many I haven’t ever tried, and that helps fill in some of my reading time.

So what are you all reading these days? I find I’m reading more than ever before and at the same time veering towards a paper only reading habit. Hit me up in the comments if you want, or find me on Twitter @kodermike.

A bit of a side note here. I know my blogging was doing better, then I dropped off again for a few weeks.


What can I say? The last week is easy to excuse – we’ve been preoccupied with the lack of breathable air here in Portland (at its worse, we hit the top of the AQI scale and the caption “AQI out of index”). I appreciate everyone that sticks around this blog and reads despite my incredibly inconsistent posting.