I wanted to share today’s discussion post as a way of encouraging people to pick up books of different genres. All in all, I think it’s a benefit and you’ll see in today’s post why I think my opinion is justified in that based on my experience. This is of course a discussion post so if you don’t agree, or have a different experience, I would love to hear from you!
I started reading at a young age and as I developed into my teenage years, I fell into a common trap. I always chose to re-read the same types of books. Fantasy was (and still is) by far my favourite genre and I will pick it up at any opportunity I could. The books I borrowed from the school library were the same. Even when I had the opportunity of every book in that room, with no risk and no gamble financially as to whether I liked it or not, I still reverted to reading the same things. At first this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, however it does have its disadvantages.
The fantasy genre is full of the same kinds of tropes. Orphaned children, an unexpected journey, fate, destiny and coming-of-age stories litter the fantasy market. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy some combinations of these tropes. But that’s not to say they’re always a good thing. In fact, when I would only exclusively read fantasy I got bored of how repetitive the books were. Sure, the characters weren’t quite the same, the journeys were slightly different and each character had their own development arc… But the story is essentially the same. I got to the point where I found myself stuck in a rut and ultimately my reading dropped off just because I felt I was lacking uniqueness in my reading preferences.
Fast forward to when I started my blog. Yes, I resumed my bad habit by reading a large number of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. But from there I diversified, and quite quickly. If there is one thing that being part of the blogging community is good for, is that there are book recommendations literally everywhere! I had already come to realise at this point that reading the same thing over and over again was the fatal flaw the first time, and this gave me the push to try new things.
Now I am a completely different reader. Fantasy is still my favourite genre and I still read a lot of it, however I regularly intersperse it with other books from multiple genres. I can now happily say that the only genre I don’t read is romance… but that’s a story for another day. The variety of books I now read has done a lot for me in terms of motivation to continue reading, but also to branch out further and try new things. There isn’t the same apprehension about trying new authors or genres… or combinations of! I only started reading horror books after starting my blog. If I went into each little detail as to how I’ve diversified we could be here all day, but you see where I’m going with this.
Do I think I am a better reader for having broader reading tastes? Absolutely, yes! By having a wider choice of books I have the opportunity to learn far more than I ever did before. That aside, the different genres and writers all expose me to different writing styles. There are so many fantastic authors out there that even with having an open mind and picking up nearly everything, I could never hope to get through them all in my lifetime.
Confining yourself to a niche genre does not do you any favours, in my experience. In the short term it doesn’t seem much of a problem, and indeed, there can be plenty of vastly different books in the same genre so you don’t get bored for a very long time.
But in my experience, you do hit that point eventually. I did, and I lost my reading motivation years ago because of it. I couldn’t find anything new despite my best efforts and that lead to a stagnation. For anyone who has been in a reading slump, you know how difficult it is to get yourself out of it. It took me years to get out of that one. Whilst I would be lying if I said I didn’t have the odd slump even now, they are few and far between and can often be resolved by picking up another genre.
Do you read from different genres? Do you find they help you when you are in a Reading slump from another? If you don’t agree with what I’ve said, or even if you do, I would love to hear from you! This is a discussion post after all, and it would be interesting to see what the community at large thinks!