Naval gazing: reading tastes

When I was a kid, I read voraciously but it was mostly fiction.

As an adult I discovered an interest in nonfiction – my tastes include how-to books (gardening and woodworking, for example) and explorations of human functioning – psychology, sociology, etc. Also history and political science, economics and business. I also read a lot about technology and emerging sciences.

Why this change in my reading tastes over time? One theory is that my tastes are maturing. I propose another theory – that I’ve had the same interests all along, and what’s changed is the rest of my life.

Specifically, I have always loved learning about how technical and mechanical things work, and about how people think and interact. In my childhood, there were plenty of adults around who could teach me the former but my ability to learn about the latter was constrained by a child’s limited social sphere. So, I spent a lot of time in the world of fiction, which felt like getting to know people from all over.

As an adult, my social contacts are many and varied. I get plenty of opportunities to observe human drama first-hand… which leaves me with less desire to seek it out in books. So, I can spend my reading time satisfying other intellectual interests.

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