It’s a weird thing to think about – but because I’ve been so completely absorbed in my studying and academics over the past few years (with the time I haven’t been studying spent with family, friends and living new experiences etc.) – that it has meant that my reading has mainly been left for the holidays and summer months, and so consequently, long periods have passed by where I haven’t been reading any books for pleasure. This has often resulted in me coming back to reading only to find that the books I had previously been reading/eyeing – I’m no longer interested in.
I mostly had this dilemma last year. Some of you loyal readers may remember my posts from a few years ago now, where I spoke about how I no longer wanted to read YA books. But I actually didn’t have much of an opportunity to explore books outside of YA since shortly after that, I started my A-Levels and had absolutely no time to read for pleasure. I did have to face this last summer, and I think I did quite a good job of it – finding good non-fiction Islamic reads and also dabbling in some Islamic-fiction out there (and trying to stay open-minded about it, such as with Ayesha at Last). And I also read an incredible classic – Anna Karenina, now one of my all-time favourites!
Whilst YA books kept me intrigued and engrossed the years that I was reading them – and indeed, this blog very accurately charts the phase when I was wholeheartedly obsessed with YA literature (fantasy, contemporary, historical – you name it) – they can be quite limiting in their scope and do have a continual recycling of tropes, storylines, etc. And whilst I did somewhat disown YA literature in my post from a few years ago (and all the subsequent posts I have discussed this) I am in fact going to continue reading YA Islamic-fiction, since I am incredibly invested in the Islamic-fiction genre, and want to be here to experience and follow its growth, and provide my opinions! I’ve seen some new YA Islamic-fiction books that have come out the past year and they look very promising, so I’m eager to delve into them when I can. Also, I don’t think I can generalise all YA books to being trope-y with recyclable themes (it would be very unfair to), so whilst I still may read other YA books, it is no longer my main genre to read.
So yes, my love of Islamic-fiction has survived the past few jam-packed years of growth and changes, alongside my obsession with classics. But additionally, I am now a Psychology student – and have a huge passion and interest (which has slowly been building over the years) in all things mental health and Psychology related. It is an expansive genre that I am eager to further explore, and have read a couple books already that I’m looking forward to discussing on here soon. I would not have anticipated that Psychology would become one of my main reading interests when I first started this blog – but it’s a very welcome and refreshing change from the past few years.
Another thing that has not changed but simply grown, is my interest in history and politics. I have always been interested in Islamic history, and this has only expanded even more so over the past few years. I believe we all have an individual responsibility to learn and educate ourselves about the world around us, as it is so important that we equip ourselves with the ability to distinguish between all the different narratives that exist out there. My experiences living as a Muslim in the UK, for example, have definitely shaped my identity as a Muslim, especially over the past few years. With the continual prevalence of Islamophobia, for me personally, my Islamic roots have become more important than ever – thus, it is a priority for me to continually endeavour to learn about my Islamic roots as a Muslim.
So to conclude, non-fiction has become increasingly dominant in my reading over the years (I used to hate non-fiction, shockingly!), and as my interests and priorities have shifted/grown to specific topics and subjects, so has my reading… which I think is a good thing. Even then, I don’t want to limit myself. If I come across a book I find interesting that has nothing to do with these subjects, it won’t stop me from reading it. There is so much to explore out there, and I’m glad I’m no longer confining myself to just fiction.
How have your reading interests changed over the years? What is your relationship with reading fiction and non-fiction like? What are your thoughts on reading/educating ourselves more on politics and history?