I have completed my reading goal for 2016 a few months early, having read 20 books with a goal of 18 (a conservative goal, but realistic given other time commitments). When I analysed the books I have read, a clear pattern emerged, and it made me wonder if I should be varying my reading choices a little more. Of the 20:

  • 12 are dystopian novels (including one series of 4 books that were so quick to read I just kept going until they were all finished.)
  • 9 (or possibly 13) are young adult. I think this is a tricky classification, and some I just can’t decide if they are or not.
  • 7 are by women.
  • 2 are set in the world as we know it – no magical goings on or alternate realities.
  • 7 are stand alone.

Does it matter? I’ve really enjoyed most books I have read this year, and only one of the 12 dystopian novels earned a bad rating from me (I class “bad” as less than 3 stars). And I’m not bored, though I would say that some of the 20 books do have the same voice, which is clearly aimed at a certain audience, and it has become a bit repetitive, though not to the detriment of the stories. Looking back, I can see that years ago I did have a more varied list – back when I had more time and made more use of the library. I miss the library. I’ve tried a few times to recreate my old habits of picking up random books and actually managing to read them before they need renewing. At the moment, this seems sadly beyond my reading ability (the fines I have had to pay are testament to this). Perhaps this is one reason why my reading habits have narrowed somewhat. Or perhaps it’s because every other book published at the minute is a YA dystopian novel, so I’m bound to read things that are either one or the other, or both.

Ultimately I don’t think it does matter. However the fear of somehow missing out has been nagging at me, and after watching the Man Booker Prize ceremony a couple of nights ago, and hearing former judges discuss the 6 novels on the shortlist, I have decided that this would be a good place to start to vary my TBR. I don’t normally read prize winners just because they are prize winners (in fact I have only read 2 of the almost 50 winners of the Man Booker. And I only realised Life of Pi was the 2002 winner a couple of years ago). The winning book –  The Sellout – sounds really intriguing, as does one of the shortlisted titles, Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

Do you deliberately vary your reading lists? Does it matter if you don’t?


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