I have learned in the last couple of days that I can’t read chick lit books anymore. For one, I am too old for that genre, IMHO. I can’t relate to it, let alone enjoy them just for the fun of it like I used to. I had a couple of books by Adele Parks in my TBR pile (actually, I have six or seven boxes of books to read and weed out for donation, post-kitchen renovation–another blog post altogether, for another day), so I decided to read them and get it over with. No truer words ever spoken.
I’m just not into those books now. Coming from one who would pretty much read nearly anything, that’s a pretty telling statement. I don’t even read series romances–haven’t picked up any Harlequin or Silhouette books in…the last 10 years? I looked at the ones I have saved in my bookcases, the only ones left are very specific books by certain authors. The only series romances of which I have nearly every book written by a specific author belong to Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz (in her various iterations), Betty Neels, Essie Summers, and Janet Daily (even those Harlequin Presents may be moving out of my collection within the next few months). Over the last ten years, I have weeded out series romance novels that were in the one-and-done category, leaving only the ones that were my really, truly absolute favorites.
So what am I reading now?
Foodie books, like “Best Food Writing xxxx” (where xxxx is a year); foodie fiction, Southern women’s fiction (Dorothea Benton Frank, for example), foodie-themed mysteries (Laura Childs’ Tea Shop series). Anything set during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine (Sharon Kay Penman or Ellen Jones). Books featuring the Regency period (yes, I do love the Regency books that are no longer fashionable–not Regency historicals per se, but those written by Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Mansfield et al). Pearl Buck, Amy Tan, and anything about the Imperial Dynasties in China, pre-The Last Emperor era. Jan Karon’s Mitford series. Frances Mayes (Tuscany) and Peter Mayle (Provence) and those who follow in their footsteps, including Marlena di Blasi.
I have to tackle the Outlander series, Edward Rutherford’s sagas on New York, Paris, London, and the Irish series. For mysteries, I also have the series from Carole Nelson Douglas’ Cat and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin. I have Anthony Trollope’s Palliser series and Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation set.
And let’s not forget the cookbooks: Southern Living annual collections, the Time-Life Foods of the World series, the Lonely Planet’s country series. The books from the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Junior League cookbooks from the southern states. Jane and Michael Stern’s Americana books.
Knitting instruction/pattern books. Bibles and Bible studies. I have those too….
I keep a notebook of books to buy and read, either new or used (I am on my tenth notebook), and looking at the previous versions, I find an even more eclectic collection. R.F. Delderfield’s British dynasty series, Susan Howatch, Claire Rayner, Fanny Craddock, Belva Plain, Catherine Cookson. Talk about going back some.
The mind reels….