I’ve always enjoyed certain genres more than others, I think everyone has favourites and we tend to stick to those favourites when looking for new books to read. For me, I love science fiction, fantasy, action thrillers and young adult/teen books. I’ve always enjoyed these genres above all others but it doesn’t mean I’m not open to reading others and there’s a reason why we all should try a different genre now and again.
Having been a book blogger and reviewer on Amazon for a few years now I’ve been approached by different publishers in the past for reviews of their books. It’s always exciting to get a review request but it’s even more exciting for me personally if I’m contacted by a publisher as it’s often us bloggers who are trying to contact them! Having been contacted by different publishers though I’ve been offered a wide variety of books to review, some of which I’d never have considered reading had I walked into a shop or library and browsed their shelves. And having been offered so many different books, in genres that are so different to the ones I usually read, I’ve had the dilemma of whether I should stick to books I know I’d enjoy, or try my hand at something new. If you were offered the chance to read books in the genre you usually enjoy verses one you might dislike, I know that most of us will instinctively go for the obvious choice, and pick the books that most appeal to us. But should we be so picky with new books, or should we be more open to trying new and different genres?
I’ve always enjoyed trying something new. I think it began with my determination to read at least some of the classics. Quite a few years ago I made the decision that one day I’d read some of the most talked about classics and went about buying up cheap classics I found at a discount store. Now classics aren’t exactly the most gripping or exciting books to read, not when compared with some of the modern books of today, but there was something hugely satisfying for me in tackling some of the well known classics such as Moby Dick and in finishing the book I was pleasantly surprised with how exciting an ending it had! So after trying to and successfully reading some classic novels I decided to stay open minded to new genres, especially ones that I’d never consider as interesting.
My next new interest became biographies/autobiographies. Apart from reading a couple of autobiographies of famous people I liked, I’d never considered reading this as a genre, after all why would I be interested in some unknown-to-me sports star or an non-famous person now living in a different new country? But being a book blogger and particularly on my old blog, I was invited by both publishers and some self-published authors to review their books, their biographies of life and work and play. On some strange thinking I accepted the challenge, determined to at least see if I liked the genre. I’d enjoyed reading up about my favourite famous people so maybe another autobiography/biography wouldn’t be so bad.
I ended up reading several of these books and each one was interesting, solidifying a new ‘favourite’ genre of mine I now read often. I’m still surprised with how interesting I find all these personal biographies about people I’ve never heard of doing things I’d never normally be interested in. But having tried the genre I found I really rather like it.
Of course trying new genres can have its drawbacks, there are plenty of books which I’ve tried in my quest to try new genres which have been great disappointments, and made me question whether it’s the book I dislike or the entire genre. Many times in the past I’ve blamed the genre and not the book and spent months maybe even years avoiding a whole range of books because I’ve been convinced I’d never like them thanks to one bad book….These days though I’m far more lenient, being open minded to new genres and blaming the book if I dislike it and taking the chance, every now and then, on a new genre.
For the last few months since being contacted by yet another publisher I’ve had the joy of discovering a new love for books about mountaineering. Oddly having never been anywhere near a mountain or had any desire to climb a mountain before I’ve found myself fascinated by stories of the people who have taken the challenge of climbing these amazing sights and fictional tales surrounding these places too. Of course this new interest only came about because I’ve been open to trying out the books in the genre. Does this new genre surpass my old love of fantasy and sci-fi books? Perhaps not, but to have another genre/area of interest opens me up to so many more books and fascinating tales.
Reading new genres is something I’ll always do. Of course I’ll always read more in my favourite genres than in others, but the idea of cutting myself off from most genres simply because I have my favourites is something that I just don’t feel comfortable with. That’s not to say I’ll read every genre that exists, I’ll never be a fan of erotica for example (being a bit more of a child at heart and mind than an adult 😛 ), but I’m open to trying less risqué romances and certainly won’t turn down another new genre if there’s a book there that sounds interesting.
I wonder if anyone feels the same as me though? Would you try new genres, even ones that you think at first glance wouldn’t interest you? Or are you firmly someone who sticks to your favourites and won’t try something new? However you feel please do share what you’d do and why, I’d love to hear some alternative views on trying new genres 🙂
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