When I was in high school, I somehow came across a list of 100 or so classic novels, and I became obsessed with reading my way through it. I don't have the list anymore, but I know I read a fair number of them. I even still own most of those books, although I haven't read them in years. Of course, there are some classics that I still haven't read, but I'm glad that at least at one point in my life, I was exposed to these important works beyond what was required in my classes and enjoyed them. Even to this day, Jane Eyre is still one of my favorite books.
During my college years, my time for fun reading was drastically reduced. Between my courses and extracurriculars, there wasn't a lot of free time. However, I do recall spending some Friday nights in the student center, reading Anna Karenina on one of the couches, so I guess my love of the classics was still going strong at that point. I also remember reading The Pillars of the Earth, a novel about the construction of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, for a course on medieval Europe. It was a nice change from our somewhat dry textbooks to read historical fiction. I still own the copy I bought for my class and reread it from time to time.
After college, I moved out on my own for the first time and realized there are a lot of hours to fill when you live by yourself. I still loved history, reading and learning about it, so sometimes I read nonfiction. I discovered author Erik Larson, who writes amazingly readable but thoroughly researched nonfiction. I also read a lot of historical fiction; Philippa Gregory became one of my favorite authors. In addition, my love of smart chick lit began, Emily Giffin and Lauren Weisberger in particular.
Now that I'm in my early 30s, I find myself branching out in terms of what genres I read. I still read a lot of historical fiction and chick lit, but I've also added contemporary fiction and YA to the mix. Mystery/thriller is yet another genre that I am constantly reading. Basically, these days, I'm open to trying most things at least once; if it looks interesting, I'll give it a shot.
What are your favorite genres to read? Have your tastes changed over the years?