Analyzing My Reading // What I Love in Books

 

I've been wanting to analyze my reading for a while now. I feel like I know what I enjoy and don't enjoy in my books but I wanted to go through all of the ones I've read to compile everything together. I know for sure that I love anything sad, family-oriented, or set in a small town/farm. But what else piques my interest?  I want to find out.

I've listed my top favorite themes in books (11 books read or more) and the themes that pique my interest (5 - 10 books read).

Everything I Love in Books

Books That Make Me Cry


Surprise, surprise books that make me cry is the top theme I find that I love in books. I counted a whomping forty-seven books that have this theme in the books I've enjoyed. 

I even have subgenres in this category. Some overlap while other books only fill the category of books that make me cry. Books with grief/death, abuse/trauma, and mental health are the top subgenres in this category. Let's go through a few of the books now:

Death/Grief


You can't tell me that if you read and/or watched Bridge to Terabithia that it didn't make you cry. I'm generally over-emotional but wow, did this get to me. Another fantastic book that I've almost forgotten about is Torn Away by Jennifer Brown. I can't believe I did because after reading my old review I knew this book was made for me. The main character, Jersey, loses her mother and little sister to a devastating tornado that also destroys the town. 

Abuse/Trauma


Characters who have dealt with physical or verbal abuse are ones that I want to see succeed the most. The stories behind these traumas always get to me. All of these subgenres feel weird to enjoy but I enjoy feeling the overwhelming emotion of it all and something either being done about it or about them feeling better about themselves. If you haven't read Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens in your life you've made a mistake somewhere. It has one of the most gutwrenching scenes I've ever experience with also the greatest support from this quiet, kind person in her life who sees her pain and is there for her.

Mental Health

I always feel like I learn something when I read stories with characters with mental health issues. It's gut-wrenching but I've taken a lot from it afterward. I also know of people who have dealt with or they know someone who has dealt with mental health issues. It makes me feel like I can understand that person more and be a more empathetic person. Made You Up by Zappia is sooo good. It's another one with a scene that punches you in the gut while also having this moment of showing others that hey, I have this problem, let me show you what it's like. 

Books with Family in the Heart of the Story

Whether it be a sibling relationship, mother-daughter, father-daughter, or the whole family - books centered around families make me happy. I found that I enjoyed twenty four family-oriented stories. Here are a few notable ones:


I seem to enjoy sister stories most of all. Tigers, Not Daughters is a recent favorite of mine. It's just so fantastic with characters who come together as a family and stand up for themselves. Saint Anything is another amazing read that has two families in the center of the story with an also great slow romance.

Paranormal

This was a bit of a surprise. I didn't expect paranormal to be so high on my list of favorite themes. But I do love witches and I am forever sad that I can't find more werewolf stories. I found that I've read and enjoyed twenty one paranormal books. 

Speaking of werewolves, I really liked Moon Called. Mercy Thompson is an amazingly strong and interesting character. My problem was getting into the Alpha & Omega series whose main character was not all that interesting so I don't know how to feel about any of the series by Patricia Briggs. Nevertheless, it's a great book. Witch Hat Atelier is also an amazing book. I love this series. I read the latest one as soon as it comes out. Not only does it have great characters, well thought out world-building, but beautiful artwork.


Farm/Small Town Life Settings

I absolutely love books set in small towns and/or with a farm setting. It's probably because I love Sweet Home Alabama so much. There's just something about the quiet feel of a small-town setting. It just feels like home. I've enjoyed nineteen books with this theme.

Do yourself a favor and read Dairy Queen! Ignore the fourth book but read the main trilogy and fall in love with this quietly strong unassuming football-playing girl named D.J. I also clearly have a thing for Joan Bauer's books. Squashed and Hope Was Here both encapsulate the small town quiet feel.


Sports


Surfing is a sport I have not read in a book yet but I love sports books. I've enjoyed eighteen of them. Most of them being centered around football, some on baseball, others on running, and then some odd ones like the roller derby graphic novel and a WWE wrestler's memoir. I've got my eye on a hockey memoir next.

Mexican WhiteBoy is a favorite of mine. I enjoyed it more for the fact that it made me feel seen as a non-Spanish speaking Cuban and what that cultural divide feels like. The amazing baseball skills and great characterization was good too. Slam! is that roller derby graphic novel I was talking about. If you like books with friendship ARCs and just some people finding passion for something different - you'll like Slam! I can't not talk about The Running Dream. So much emotion and friendship and wonderfulness. Please read this. Seriously, if you like some of the things I do you will definitely love this.


Supernatural

You know how long I took to figure out and remember the difference between paranormal and supernatural? An embarrassingly long amount of time. I was so confused 😖. Basically paranormal are witches, werewolves, vampires, faeries, other creatures, and aliens. Yes, aliens. Supernatural consists of ghosts, gods, angels, demons, and monsters (very confusing statement since all the other creatures in paranormal books are considered monsters). Basically, anything considered true in one way or another in society. Like in religion, angels are real. Ghosts too. So it counts. Hopefully, I didn't confuse you too. Oh, and I've enjoyed seventeen books with this theme.

I wish there were more fiction books featuring angels in my life because the Unearthly series is outstanding. The only series that has a love triangle where the author sways me in both directions. I will forever be salty that the Legion series, the first book being Unbreakable, never came out with the third book. I am still waiting. But it's fantastically addictive for what it is. If you like Supernatural the show, I'm sure you will like this series.                                                                                                                                 

Retelling


Fairytale retellings are my jam. Apparently, Pride and Prejudice retellings are something I didn't know I needed in my life. And I still haven't read Little Women but I've read a retelling and watched two movies based on the book... I've enjoyed seventeen books with this theme by the way so tied with supernatural books.


Kat, Incorrigible is a favorite of mine. It's such a good series that has a take charge main character who just wants to help her sister's out with their love lives while also practicing magic. The Sisters Grimm series is one that I feel like I know backwards and forwards. Another great sister story with fairytale creature trapped in a town, amateur sleuths, and a boy fairy who is so immature but whose growing maturity and love for one of the sisters makes my heart so happy.

Reflections

Characters who make mistakes, see the errors in their ways, or just look back at their life and don't like what they see it and then make changes are the best. Whether it be mean girls trying to do better or working on yourself - this theme is one I actively love all the time. I've read only fifteen of them that I've enjoyed.


Before I Fall and How Not to Be Popular have been favorites for such a long time. They are such me books. One is so beautiful while the other makes me feel sad and happy at the same time. When I found Goodbye, Vitamin at a shitty point in my life it made me feel like I could heal from drastic decisions that was occuring in my life at the time.

Dystopian


Yeah, I read a crazy amount of dystopian series when it was such a large portion of what was popular in young adult books. I've read and enjoyed thirteen of them. (By the way, I only count one book for a whole series so my numbers might seem off but it's correct in my head).


So many good memories! I've always felt Katniss got a bad wrap but I loved how much she was focused on you know, the war going on and her family rather than falling in love so that her slow acceptance and love of a certain character felt so good. Uglies was another great series that I remember having a shocking ending. I can't remember what it is but it worries me but it's so good!

Cultural Perspective

I enjoy books that give me a look at my own, a similar, or a different culture. I definetely have a place in my heart for ones that speak on feeling a culture divide. Like you don't feel hispanic enough or asian enough or black enough. I understand that when it comes to not feeling hispanic enough. I've read twelve books that have some focus on culture.


You've got to read American as Paneer Pie. Genuinely such a beautiful and impactful story. Lekha being that shy girl who doesn't stand up for herself but when she does it's powerful is all I needed this year. This made me so happy. She learns from her mistakes and grows alongside her friends. You will not regret reading this! Before We Were Free was also fantastic. I've never read something that made me feel so close to my grandparents. It got me in my feels. It's the epitome of the immigrant story before the actual immigration. 

Nature/Survival


When I first read My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet, and A Week in the Woods I didn't know what I was getting into. I fell in love with this nature/survival storyline completely. It just makes me so happy. I can't explain it. I'm very much a homebody but I enjoy going on walks and on the rare occassions what I consider large tree filled parks. And I wish I didn't live in a place with such a large population. I've enjoyed twelve books with this theme.


I've read A Week in the Woods more than any other book. I love reading Mark's growing love for nature and growth as a person. I don't think anyone loves this book still as an adult like I do except maybe the author. Jump is one you may not have heard of but it is so good if you like sport books (rock-climbing), a girl taking on an adventure after having such a restrictive life, and being on the run. It's one of those core nature/sport books that intersects so well and makes me happy.


Food 


How have I only enjoyed twelve books with the theme of food? I talk about loving food in my books so much but I don't show it in my numbers. I definetely need to change that. I love food descriptions. They always make me hungry. They are almost always written in detail so you feel like you can see the food that is being described.


The Cupcake Queen combines small town vibes with friendship and a cupcake bakery. It's just a sweet book to read. It's set around a bakery so what more could you want? The Truth About Twinkie Pie is amazing. Of course, it has some sad aspect with a surprise in store for anyone who read it as well as lots of baking. If you like stories centered around baking and family this one is for you.

Disability Representation


I've enjoyed eleven books with a major character being disabled in the story. This isn't a surprise. When people with disabilities are either first dealing with this new disability or just living in a society that treats them differently it brings about lots of emotions for me. I love reading from this new perspective like with mental health or cultural perspectives because it's just that - a new perspective. And that's always interesting to me to explore.


Five Flavors of Dumb features just like an all around take charge kind of girl. She just becomes a manager of a band when she can only hear the vibrations of their music. I feel like this is the only book I've read that features such a badass main character with a disability. Are You Alone on Purpose? is such an obscure book in my opinion. It has a hate to love romance, features the Judaism in a very small way, and has wonderful character growth. It's just a strangely perfect book for me. The Degenerates is a recent read for me. It was just so informative especially with the author's notes at the end of the book. I was shocked by some of the information I read. It did make me anxious so much that I put off finishing it because I was so worried about the girls but it's worth the read.

Unlikely/Forbidden Romance

I love unlikely/forbidden romances so much that I have read and enjoyed eleven of them. I mean who doesn't like tension with their romance?

Leaving Paradise has such an insane plot where a guy who went away for hitting a girl with his car and said girl now with a limp fall in love. What!? 🤣 It's so good though! I sill haven't read the sequel because I hate the cover but I might have to at least reread the frst book because again, it's so good. Pestilence... oh my goodness. One of the Four Horsemen kidnaps a girl after she "kills" him and they fall in love. Obviously, in real life this would not be a thing I like but in fiction it was so much fun.


Themes that Pique My Interest

Mysteries with Crime/Investigations


This is a pretty broad theme but basically I enjoy mysteries with murder investigations or any crime investigation with regular people as the "detectives." I hate actual detective stories. The synopsis always make me groan with boredom. Some thief based stories are also encompassed in this theme. I have enjoyed ten of these books. Some notable reads with this theme are Blank Confession, The Body Finder, and The Liar Society.

Strong, Quiet Characters

I really enjoy characters who have this quiet strength about them. I have read ten of these books including Dairy Queen, Mexican WhiteBoy, Okay for Now, and Wringer.


Friendship

I have adored nine stories with some great friendships. Great friendships can makea story amazing. It's notable and something I wish was more prominent in the books I read. Books in this category include Define "Normal", Jasmine and Maddie, and Misfit City.


Fast-Paced 

I usually find series that I end up binge reading because they are so fast paced or you want to know what happens next so badly that you have to continue on.They tend to be mysteries like The Lying Game or romances like The Selection. I've loved ten books/series with this theme.


Kind Love Interest or a Sweet Romance

I apparently like the nice love interests more than the misunderstood bad boys in my books. I also love really sweet romances that are light and fluffy. I've loved nine books with this theme including How Not to be Popular, Her Royal Highness, and The Unexpected Everything.


Strong, Independent, and Determined

I like strong main characters who will show up everyone in their world by how amazing they are. I've read nine of these strong, independent, and determined characters included in the books Alanna: The First Adventure, Peak, and Moon Called.


Twist Endings


Give me a good twist ending that I don't see coming and I will be thrilled. I want to be shocked and awed. And I have been with eight books including A Crack in the Line, After the First Death, and In Her Skin.

Book to Screen

I tend to watch a TV series, movie, and in one case play the video game before reading the book. It doesn't work for me with Neil Gaiman books since the movies are better but with eight other books it does including Harry Potter, Who in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, and The Secret Circle


Memoirs

Memoirs for me are usually surprisingly fascinating or mid level range. I've read eight surprisingly fascinating ones including The Only Pirate at the PartyYou're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), and Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek.


Religion

Yes, religion. Mostly Christian but some Jewish. I'm Catholic so I wish I incorporated more books with religion as the main topic that was showcasing a balanced view of a certain religion. I've read eight great books that have included religion in some way in the story including Heretics Anonymous, Counted with the Stars, and In Front of God and Everybody.


Music

I've only read six fantastic books featuring music although I included one featuring a radio announcer because I didn't know where to put it. This is a theme I really should read more of because I listen to music almost every day. I should read more stories centered around it including A Little Wanting Song, Spin, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, and that one book with a radio announcer called Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe.


Fighters

Whether they are assassins, knights, or a viking I love characters who know how to fight. I especially love it when they train to be a fighter, struggle, and then show off their skills. I've read six of these fighter stories including Alanna: The First Adventure, Red Sister, and Grave Mercy.


Secrets

I love the unraveling of a good secret. It keeps the suspense up and tensions high. Some of the six books I've thought to have amazingly completed this task in the books I've read include Then I Met My Sister, The Liar Society, and Fall for Anything.


Royalty

I am disheartened on the very small amount of five total books featuring Royalty that I have read. I guess my fairy tale retelling obsession doesn't cover too much of the royalty theme like I thought it would. Nevertheless some books I've read and enjoyed with this theme are Princess Academy, Court, and Her Royal Highness.


Parallel/Alternative World

I enjoy peaking into parallel or alternative worlds as long as it end happily. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way though. I've read five of them and I've enjoyed Narnia, Everlost, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.


Snarky Characters

Yep, I like my characters with with. I thought I've read more but I only could recognize for sure five of them including in books like Hex Hall, Paranormalcy, and Shadow Breakers.


Slow Romance

I cheated with this one. There are only four on this list but I either am too tired of continually adding to this post that I missed them or I seriously need to read more slow romances like The Rogue Not Taken, A Girl Called Malice, and Saint Anything.


Well that was a journey. Do we have any of these themes in common? Are you interested in any of the books I've read? And most of all, do you have any book recommendations?

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