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25 May 2015

Are you 40+ and do you still read fiction? [More:]I used to be all about literature but somewhere during my 30s I lost interest in fiction. Is that common?
I'm 39 and read fiction, and I don't see that changing but who knows I guess?
posted by amro 25 May | 07:35
I am 54 & still read fiction. I go through periods where I alternate between fiction & non-fiction.
posted by govtdrone 25 May | 08:20
Almost 54 and have never stopped loving fiction, and don't think I ever will. Most non-fiction I read is in article form. I rarely read short fiction. I have a lot of non-fiction interests, but rarely get around to reading whole books about them.
posted by wens 25 May | 08:52
Maybe I lost my appetite for fiction because I used to read Literature in foreign languages. I.e. writing that requires conscious effort to read.
So maybe I should try to rekindle my reading of fiction by just trying some writing that is more contemporary and accessible. Possibly even in my native language! (I hardly ever read in my native language. Possibly that has to do with being less picky about foreign language writing)

But there is something in me that has changed about literature. I used to hold literature and writers in such awe. If I had to put it into words I'd say that I thought that writers captured some timeless truths about experience. Something that transcendental. And nowadays when I read I often feel that the writer is just some guy (or gal) with some transparent uninteresting conceits.

I started wondering whether it was an age thing because I asked my parents how they felt about fiction. But then they are in their 80s. :-)
posted by jouke 25 May | 09:14
I'm 53 and generally read two fiction books a week. Like wens I mostly read non fiction in article form. I found my reading fell off in my late 30s but in the last 6 years with the rise of ebooks it picked up again (I dislike accumulating material goods like books, records and cds.) My very incomplete Goodreads page.
posted by arse_hat 25 May | 12:32
I'm fifty and for the most part, I have given up on fiction. That makes me a little sad but for whatever reason, I just can't ever work up the motivation to get very far through a novel. I've probably read three or for completely in the last five years.
posted by octothorpe 25 May | 20:52
I'm terribly older than 40 and the non-fiction I read is that people like the taste of licorice....

Actually, I read anything and everything except for celebrities, romance, war and crime. My favorite reads are about people who've done things, lived in interesting times or are unique personalities. Especially if the essence of the place and time are part of the story. History is interesting if it's not a dry fact-check.
posted by mightshould 26 May | 06:53
I'm 57 and I pretty much read fiction exclusively.
posted by Thorzdad 26 May | 07:06
It's not that I don't read fiction, but I keep reading the same fiction over and over and over. It's hard to get into new stuff. Although right now I'm working my way through this.
posted by JanetLand 26 May | 08:26
Read it and write it. No better way to experience the richness of language and of humanity, IMHO. My life would seem two dimensional without it.

(People's hunger for story is insatiable, I think-- if you count movies/TV.)
posted by Pips 26 May | 09:44
There is no accounting for taste mightshould. :-)

Thank you for your responses. It seems that I am an outlier with my spoilt appetite for reading. So I should try to rekindle my interest.

I do envy the conviction with which Pips states that fiction is the best way to experience the richness of language and humanity. I haven't felt like that about literature in a long long time.
posted by jouke 26 May | 12:36
Yes, I am well over 40 and still read fiction. Even literature at times. But I have an increasing appetite for well written nonfiction as I get older. I find fiction, even grim fiction, is a good break from the intensity of nonfiction.
posted by bearwife 26 May | 17:26
I totally lost interest in fiction, especially contemporary fiction, which all too often doesn't seem to about anything. I love learning, and love real-world info, so I am an almost exclusively nonfiction reader. OCcasionally I'll pick up a fiction book and dive into it on vacation or something and just love it; just as often I want to throw the book into traffic because it's so empty-hearted, aimless, or derivative. Nonfiction rarely disappoints me like that.
posted by Miko 26 May | 22:31
I like historical fiction for the reasons Miko mentioned above - I do enjoy learning something new while also enjoying a good story. I just finished a novel that takes place during the Blitz, and learned a lot about it.
posted by amro 27 May | 08:20
I'm over 40 and have noticed that my interest in fiction has fallen off a bit. But, that could be because there is so much else competing for my attention these days -- my DVR is full of things to watch, I get more print magazines than are good for me and I just signed up for the New York Times Crossword app (j'adore!)

This is probably in-my-head confirmation bias, but I feel like quality has taken a nosedive with the advent of self-publishing, and the lack of good search functionality. If I go to Amazon now to find something to put on my Kindle, I am wading through pages and pages of dreck that should not be placed, for example, in the Literary Fiction category. AT ALL.

Also, I am a librarian, and you know how when you work at McDonald's you get sick of eating the food after a couple of weeks? I catalog upwards of 95% of the books that are purchased for my library (and we have a big book budget!!), and I also provide readers advisory for our users who like to get recommendations. I sometimes read outside of my preferred areas in order to be able to provide good recommendations. So, essentially I am handling books all day long and occasionally read for work outside of work, and sometimes I just need a break.

That said, I am currently reading The Green Road by Anne Enright, and loving it.
posted by initapplette 27 May | 09:11
initapplette, my NYT crossword soul mate, the best app by far for that puzzle is Crux. Hands down.
posted by bearwife 27 May | 15:21
I'm 56 and ready mostly fiction for leisure. I've broadened my reading in the last year by joining a book club.

I spend most of my working day reading turgid financial documents, so my tastes in fiction tend to the lightweight.
posted by Senyar 27 May | 16:44
I'm 53 and read a lot of stuff for work that is pretty dry and boring. Outside work, I read fiction pretty much exclusively. I'm not even that fussy really - Reading is more about escape from drudgery then anything.
posted by dg 28 May | 03:04
I asked my parents how they felt about fiction. But then they are in their 80s. :-)

And how did they answer? Did their responses not count because they are outside some range? I'm probably closer to their age than to yours, but I read more fiction than non. I often read both at once, but am currently reading 2 works of fiction at once: Delicious Foods and The Three Body Problem. If you like reading in a foreign language you can try the latter in the original Chinese. (I'm reading the translation;)

posted by Obscure Reference 28 May | 07:57
I like to read stuff that seems like one but is the other, like An Incomplete History of the Art of the Funerary Violin or Ill Met by Moonlight.
posted by Hugh Janus 29 May | 07:16
Thanks for your responses. I guess my fear that reading fiction is an adolescents activity was unfounded.

This weekend I bought a contemporary fiction book and started reading it. "In the light of what we know" by Zia Haider Rahman. I like it so far.
posted by jouke 31 May | 14:35
I do, but the Internet has cut into much of my paper reading.
posted by brujita 31 May | 19:22
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