When I was young (around 10), I would read anything. As I grew older, I discovered my love for fantasy and I must admit, it has only been recently I have managed to draw myself out of reading just that genre. Waiting for a book to come into the library one day, I picked up a historical fiction one and that was it.
This made me realise that I had limited myself and I was missing out on some great authors. For a few months, I was restricted as I was writing a fantasy novel for my dissertation and so had to read fantasy for research and reference points. But since then, I have made the point of branching out into new genres.
Free books – NetGalley and BookBub – have been crucial for this. It allowed me to discover new genres without truly looking for them and I was more willing to give it a go if I didn’t have to pay out for it. I admit that, since branching out, I have yet to read a romance novel that has convinced me that it is a good genre to follow. I have, however, read a lot of general fiction and thoroughly enjoyed books such as A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding.
I wish to branch out further now that, once again, reading has become such a huge part of my life. It can be hard to know where to start looking though. While commuting to work, I used to pop into WHSmith and take note of books that caught my interest. Admittedly, the genre of the moment appears to be the thriller, so a lot were the same. But I’ve given a few a go and some are better than others.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post on book lists. This has helped me as well. While I am working my way through the best 51 fantasy series, I have other lists bookmarked. After a twitter chat, I have been pointed in the direction of a few diverse book lists that you won’t find in your standard bookshop and I’m excited about starting that as I know it will open my eyes to new authors, genres and styles of literature that I have not yet come across.
How do you make yourself read new genres? Your favourite is like your best blanket, comforting, warm and guaranteed to give you some level of satisfaction. Fantasy will always be my favourite genre; I’m a fantasy author myself. But the last year has taught me to give any genre a go and branching out can be so rewarding. Of course, not every genre is going to be for you, but imagine if, like me, you picked up that one random book from the shelf and it opened a whole new world?
I wanted to thank those who have recommended, lent or even just mentioned new books to me that has made me push my comfort zone. Now to find even more genres…