Do you think your age affects what you read??

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by zorobnice, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. zorobnice

    zorobnice Where's Tonto

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    I was wondering if the different age groups read different things. Rowling wrote the HP series, yet as an almost 40 I love it, I find my son almost seems to read a different story from it, the same with Paolini. I do seem to prefer books that have adults as the hero though.

    Let me know what you think, teenagers let us know what guys your age are looking for in novels, this will also help me find books for my son.
     
  2. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I most definitely think that some books are better for adults and vice/versa, though it's possible to read something well before you're able to grasp the subtleties of it intellectually and still have it leave a lasting impression.

    I can read YA fantasy to a degree, but I recognize that it's YA. I can't read YA fiction outside of the fantasy genre though, unless I do it for a specific purpose.

    Kids love Paolini and adults hate him. He's quite different than Rowling.
     
  3. pixter

    pixter New Member

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    It's interesting to go back and read books that I read when I was younger. Sometimes it's like reading a totally different book than I remember.
     
  4. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    First time experiences leave more lasting impressions. Though you may love a book the second time around, it's not the same. I read the Trilogy when i was young and it blew me away. Totally. I've reread it many times since and enjoyed it, but the experience was never the same.

    I reread books all the time. At each stage in my life, I learn something different and focus on different aspects. When I'm embroiled emotionally in something that a particular books seems to deal with well, I cleave to it. A later read once I'm over that particular crisis won't have th same impact.

    I read Age of Innocence a few months ago for the second time. I don't remember finding it as visual as an experience the first time as I did this time. I re-read Dr. Zhivago a few weeks ago. I was interested in understanding Nabokov's criticism of Pasternack, something that I never had in the back of my mind when I first read it.
     
  5. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    I think it probably effects what I read in that now that I'm older, I'm more interested in going back and reading classic works I never got around to reading when I was younger, while when I was younger, I concentrated on new stories and newer authors. Which is maybe to the good, as I suspect I appreciate classic works and understand them within the context of their time more now than I would back then.

    What has probably effected me more, though, is being a parent. The way I read children's and YA stories and the way I read adult books that feature children is a little different now then it was before they handed me my baby and said, here, keep her alive for the next sixty years. :)
     
  6. saintjon

    saintjon Illustrious Gambler

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    I don't think I would enjoy David Eddings nearly as much nowadays. I still have the books somewhere, but I prefer to leave them as a pleasant memory.

    On the flipside, I was kind of shocked when my 11 or 12 year old cousin told me he'd read Deadhouse Gates, but his blase reaction to my questions about it led me to believe he didn't understand very much of what was going on in that book, at least I hope for his sake he didn't lol.
     
  7. redhead

    redhead looking for coffee

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    sure being of different ages affects what you read. because as we get older, we have more experiences, and i think that helps us appreciate more facets of what we read. it's easier for adults to see the entire picture, especially when it's a novel involving political commentary, or political satire. you're old enough to understand what they are really talking about. (how old is "old enough"? depends on the person)

    as a teenager and then college student, i was interested in action. so that's what i read. tons of science fiction, and my brain zero'ed in on the action.

    now that i'm a few years older, sure, i still love the action, but i can appreciate other aspects and subtleties, often more so than the enjoyable action sequences. it's funny these days, i still get plenty of books from the YA section at the library, and should i run into a swear word, i'm shocked. just shocked!!

    Zorobnice, i'm not sure what your son is into, but when i was a teenager, i couldn't get enough Charles de Lint (contemporary fantasy), Isaac Asimov, Sheri S Tepper (contemporary fantasy/horror), and Ursula K Leguin. at the time, i had zero attention span, so novels with only one or two main protagonists worked well for me.
     
  8. zorobnice

    zorobnice Where's Tonto

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    Redhead, what you say makes sense. In this world of "Instant" the general youth do not want to have to wait for anything to happen, or so I assume. It must be quick, to the point and a lot happening all at once so that you don't get bored.

    My son, like his mates seem to be concentrating on anything that involves gore or is repulsive to us older folk. Blood guts and brains seem to tickle their interest. I can only HOPE that as he gets older his taste will change, afterall how much violence can one digest before it loses it's appeal. :eek:
     
  9. kahnovitch

    kahnovitch Kiss my axe!

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    Reminds me of the old "video nasties" that were around when I was a kid. We loved them!
    There was an outcry at the time that we'd all turn into homicidal maniacs before we were adults, but watching them now just makes me chuckle.

    Our tastes do change a lot as we grow older. I think we tend to desire more intellectual, emotional or (dare I say) sophisticated stimuli.

    Plus the more literature or any media we are exposed to, the more we recognise themes, trends and cliches that seem to periodically cycle every so often.

    It takes a lot more to "wow" us as we get older as we (or at least I) feel that it's all been done before.
     
  10. redhead

    redhead looking for coffee

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    to some extent that's true. or, maybe more for some people, and less for others. as a younger reader, i simply couldn't appreciate a lot of things i was reading about. I knew nothing of losing a loved one, so it didn't effect me the same way when a character lost a parent, or best friend. I'd never been in love, so it didn't effect me when i read about one character's feelings for another. the more experiences i have, the more i feel i can connect to, when characters that i care about go through something.


    i don't think any of the authors i mentioned would count as that. closest thing i can think of in the world of intelligent scifi/fantasy is Gaiman's sandman series. it's a graphic novel.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006
  11. zorobnice

    zorobnice Where's Tonto

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    Baring in mind that a lot of what I said in my previous post is of course a generalisation. But the horro stories and gore stories he reads seems to be the in thing with his mates. I must add as well that illustrated books are appreciate more than those with no illustrations.


    ps. After I gave him his first Asterix, he is hooked, so at least I know he gets some good reading in.
     
  12. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    It's been interesting, seeing the kid find stuff. When we accidentally curse, she calls us "80's child" because we let her see some 80's movies like "Back to the Future" and "Goonies" when she was old enough, and of course, the kids there curse plenty, whereas in the movies and books she reads -- the hundreds and hundreds put out for kids now that didn't exist when I was her age -- there's very little if any. Kids don't have shorter attention spans now than back then, but they do have so much available, that they don't spend a lot of time on stuff they don't like.
     
  13. Bridie

    Bridie Something witty!

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    Im not so sure if ill be able to word this correctly or get my point across so well but ill give it a go! Also i am unsure as to what you all consider YA fantasy and serious fantasy so excuse me if i get anything wrong and please note that my experiance of reading is much more limited, due to my age.

    As a 14 year old girl you would think "oh well, so long as it has romance itl be okay". I have read only one book of that kind of genre, American girl, or something like that, by meg cabot. It was so boring i had to force myself to read it! however, my friends all read those books and truly enjoy them, when they do read that is. I find that because my friends do not enjoy reading they read more immature books. I myself prefer fantasy such as Robin Hobb and though i think many of you percieve her to be a writer for YA Alison Croggon, whos books i think are almost on the same level as LotR in that they target both adults and YA (i read LotR at 11 and jrr's The Sillmarillion at 12). In a book i look for action and something that makes it unique from what i have preivously read. I do not get bored through the polictical aspects of Hobbs books, however, nor do i only partialy read the more romantic pages of both Hobb & Croggon. I also found Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles to be mesmerizingly beautiful.

    I hope you do not type cast Croggon as a writer for teenage fan girlies and i suggest that you at least give her a go.

    zee, guys my age, they dont read. Try a crime book perhaps, my best friend sometimes reads them and they seem to interest him... kinda...

    Oh and, for the record, i cant stand Harry Potter...
     
  14. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    We don't think you are silly at all, birdie, but if you could ease up on the text-messaging-type lower case letters, it would be a little easier to read your post.

    A lot of adults read YA fantasy, and Gary here, writes middle school kids mysteries in his spare time. Alison Croggan's fantasy series is sold as adult fantasy in her home turf of Australia, and as YA fantasy in the U.S. She has a lot of teenage fans, but a lot of adult ones too. Robin Hobb seems to be a favorite writer here at SFFWorld and those who know her have also told us that she is an excellent and generous person, as well.

    We have a lot of teen members who probably are reading a good few years ahead of their peers. I imagine that's a little difficult sometimes, that you find novels boring that your friends like, and they aren't interested in the more adult stuff you like.

    As for girls only liking romance -- surely you've hung out here long enough to know that the female members, while not at all against romance, tend to like violence and gore. :) So you're in good company. But don't be too hard on Meg Cabot and J.K. Rowling.
     
  15. Bridie

    Bridie Something witty!

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    Haha yes, i am in good company here. :) It does make it slightly awakward because i'll start talking about a book but have to suddenly stop because no-one gets what im saying...

    Okay okay, ill admit it, J.K isnt so bad, but i think the books have gotten progressively worse. And Cabot's book was fun to read but abit slow and well... lacking in gore.
    :D
     
  16. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    Nice to have you posting her Bridie.

    Age can affect how you read much more than what you read in many cases. But it should never stop you from picking up a book.

    I think that there are countless books that can be appreciated on so many different levels, that as long as you're a reader and you are willing to struggle a little bit with the vocabulary, then you can certainly enjoy them. In all things, we have to stretch ourselves to make meaningful strides. If all we ever read were books that told us things we already knew, then what would be the point? Books should challenge us. Isn't that what art is about? If it doesn't challenge us to think and to rethink, then we gain very little from it.

    How many books have you finished and forgotten just as quickly? They may have entertained you, but they aren't memorable and they haven't changed you in any way.

    I remember reading Crime and Punishment when I was 14. Each time I reread it later on in life, I learned something new and different, but the experience at 14 was a life-changing one for me. It inspired me to push myself and read Joyce, Kafka, Mann, Lawrence, Elliot and so many more.

    Tolkien, Heinlein and Vonnegut did the same things for me at a young age.

    Then I discovered Nietzsche and my life was never the same.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
  17. Bruin26

    Bruin26 New Member

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    I think my age did affect what I read when I was a teen, but not so much now. I have yet to read the HP books, but plan to as my brother has recommended them highly as he has been reading them with his step daughter. He did tell me she started to have trouble with some of the newer books. I guess it being in part because they are a little more heavy reading than the early ones. I should also mention that she doesn't seem to enjoy reading very much, but her parents are hoping that changes as she finds books she enjoys.

    Now that I am a 30 something adult that is usually stuck at home the majority of the time, I find that having a mix of types of books is best. I still mainly read traditional fantasy stuff, meaning stuff not at all tied to or resembling the "real" world, but have finally been branching away from that trap I set for myself.

    Now the only thing that really affects what I read next is my mood. If I read something from Erickson or Marco, I usually want to read something a bit lighter, so a lot of times young adult or childrens books may be the way to go. I thought that as I got older I would no longer want to read books with a child as the main character, but that hasn't been the case. Of course now there my mood may make me feel like not wanting to read one when it is time for a new book. The same sometimes goes with female characters. When I was a teen I couldn't identify with a female lead being a guy, but that changed as I matured I guess because it doesn't matter overly much now, but if I have read several books in a row with a female lead, then I may feel the urge to make the next book have a more male lead focused plotline. That has really only happened a few times though. My wife generally prefers female lead plotlines, but doesn't have a problem whith male focused ones. I think fantasy has a good mix of both and some very good newer authors with primairly female leads. Many of them coming from Australia it seems.

    While I no longer feel like my age plays a role, I can certainly understand how it can for others. My wife says I am a big kid anyway, so that may be a big reason why it doesn't factor in for me. I wonder how much is tied in with whether someone read much as a child or teen and if they did, what they were reading at that time. Someone that didn't read as a child or teen may have no desire or not being able to get into a young adult book.
     
  18. zorobnice

    zorobnice Where's Tonto

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    Hi there Bruin. I agree for some people, like my wife, moods can determine what they read. Personally I don't find that as I normally just pick up the next book. I do agree with you though as far as reading heavier books, I also find that after reading an Erikson or Bakker, I need to read something lighter and some of the YA stuff is great for that. Too much Erikson in a row tends to make my head spin.