Over the past year, I’ve noticed a distinct change in my reading preferences. While Young Adult and speculative fiction (even better, both!) used to be my genres of choice, now I find myself more compelled to read memoir and other non-fiction genres. And while I used to regularly read literary fiction, now I sometimes bypass the general fiction category at used booksales altogether. It’s not that I’m not interested in realistic human stories anymore … it’s just that, if there’s a book about something that could actually happen … I’d rather read a book by someone that it actually happened to.
While memoir has always been on the margins of my reading tastes, I’ve hypothesized several reasons that I have a renewed interest in it now.
While I still try to read across genres, and actually set something of a reading “schedule/system” to guarantee variety, I do wonder how or whether this new attraction to non-fiction will play out in my writing. Of course it makes sense to write within the genre that you read the most in — but right now, I have very little interest in writing non-fiction aside from journaling, blogging, and responding to requests to write articles. Still, the first book with my byline is not a novel but a collection of true stories from young adult Catholics — in essence, a collection of short memoirs. And my own short memoir-esque piece about being bisexual and Catholic is currently set for publication in two separate collections.
So although I have no immediate plans to write heavily within the non-fiction genre, I find myself wondering what might emerge after all this has settled in several years. I’ve always loved reading retellings, for example, but didn’t write my first retelling until about seven years after I began reading them, and it was a very loose retelling at that. Now, I’m working on a retelling of “Rumplestiltskin” with plans to retell “Rapunzel” during NaNoWriMo and, eventually I hope, “The Little Mermaid.” Does this mean a non-fiction book will be beating at the edges of my brain about ten years from now? I guess I’ll just wait and see, and enjoy all the writing and reading in the meantime.