There’s no doubt that many of us have done it. We read a certain book, and it refreshes, excites, and motivates. It’s only natural that we move on to another book by the same author, or at least in the same genre. And before we know it, we’re stuck in one genre.
Adults seem to have this problem more than children, who tend to be willing to explore and wrestle with new topics. It’s easy to fall into the safety of a familiar setting – sci fi, mystery, memoir – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t forget that books offer us an enormous range of topics to explore.
So if you’re on your fourteenth Reagan memoir or going cross-eyed reading Agatha Christie for the tenth time, try some of these tips to jump into a new genre.
1. Don’t give up if it doesn’t immediately excite you.
We stick with one genre for a number of reasons. Ultimately, it’s because it speaks to us. But not every book is able to capture interest on the first page. Try reading for twenty-five pages. Then read fifty. If the book hasn’t pulled you in by page 100, feel free to put it aside, but it’s rare to get that far without wanting to know more.
2. Choose a topic that makes you nervous.
Maybe you’re intimidated by that thousand-page Russian novel or the thought of reading a novel that tackles a difficult subject, like war or mental illness. Challenge yourself to expand by deliberately choosing a book that takes you out of your comfort zone.
3. …or one that you have no experience with.
Maybe history wasn’t your strongest subject in school. Or you’ve never traveled outside your home state and don’t have the faintest idea what life in Italy is like. Choosing a book about a topic that’s new to you is a great way to expand your reading life and learn about the world.
4. …or something radically different from what you’d normally pick.
If you’re a passionate devotee of historical fiction, pick up a sci fi novel. Or try some YA literature if you’ve read exclusively non-fiction for years. You may not think you’ll enjoy the exploits of outer space robots or the tangled love lives of dystopian teenagers, and maybe you won’t. But maybe you will. If that’s the case, a whole new chapter – pun intended – of reading is open to you.
In the spirit of expanding your reading list, BookMarx is hosting its annual Blind Date with a Book. You can pick the genre…but no more! Our book “blind dates” are gift-wrapped with genre labels like thriller, romance, and historical fiction, so your story is a total surprise. If you want to stumble on a great new book, stop by for a Valentine’s book date.