Reading is an enjoyable and peaceful hobby. At least it is if you ignore the rants, cries and overly high standards. But that is not the point.
Of all the typical problems of readers, there is one that plagues many people every year. Read but getting stuck in a genre.
In fact, when we discover a book genre we like, we dive headlong into it and dedicate ourselves to the same thing for years and years. Without ever thinking that maybe we are missing out on something we will love even more.
But, because I am a good person, I am not going to leave you lost in a tidal wave of options but help you get out of your reading comfort zone without having to search through a flood of different titles.
First let’s make clear all the benefits this can have. (it will especially help you writers)
Why expand your literary tastes?
1. Opportunity to read new and different ideas
It is well known that reading is good for you; one of the benefits is to open your mind to new and different things from what we are used to. The problem is that this benefit is not at its best if we get stuck in a literary genre. There are many fantastic ideas hatched by brilliant writers, but you will not find them all under the same library shelf.
2. It makes you better writers
It will help your writing enormously. A good book, despite being part of a genre, has many small details that are more in other types of books. In many novels there is a hint of mystery mixed with many poetic themes or sometimes horror cues.
The truth is that to be a good writer you have to read a lot, but a lot of everything. The next inspiration for your book could be hidden between the pages of a manuscript you would never think of.
3. Discover genres you will fall in love with
If you try just one genre, and you love it. Congratulations it is perfect I am happy for you. But you are definitely missing out.
To understand the type of book you like to read, you have to take courage and start several, work out what you are most driven towards and then devote yourself to that. If you have never given the other three thousand genres a chance, you cannot know if novels are really your favourites. They are only the ones you choose to read.
Most readers I know have at least three genres they read and one they prefer. It does not have to be that way for you too, but if you do not try you will never know.
So now that you understand why this is a great idea from all angles….
The best ways to read outside your comfort zone
Go to the library/bookstore and choose books with your eyes closed
I don’t want to be the cause of you knocking out some fellow readers so be careful. But yes, choosing a book outside your genre does not have to be complicated. In the end we are talking about a hobby here.
You go to your local bookshop or library, close your eyes and fish out a book. To give yourself more options, pick three and then choose the one that inspires you the most. If it is the same genre as always, don’t think you are saved. Pick again.
Swap your TBR with a friend for a month
There’s nothing like watching a friend suffer with you, is there? Take your reader friend who reads very different things from you, convince him by having him read this wonderful article and then start the challenge.
For one month, you will have to read books that only come from each other’s tastes.
This will not only give you all the benefits I have already told you about, but will also make you closer to your victim-your chosen friend. After all, the second best thing about seeing a friend suffer is being able to talk to him/her about the book you have just read.
You can do this without even leaving the house. Perfect for introverts. Make a list containing at least two books from each main genre. Classic, fantasy, mystery, romance and a thriller. Number them.
Make little sheets with these numbers written on them and then draw, you will read whatever book comes out. Since you are the one who chooses the books here, try to choose something that you think might interest you and that you would like to read more about.
Find an article on a reading blog and read all the recommended books
You can find countless articles about reading on the web and many of them recommend books, sometimes even with reviews.
Have a look at these articles:
- The best list of books you NEED to read in 2023
- 34 Great Books to Suit Any Mood or Interest
- Magical & Cozy books you want to read now (may contain murders)
- Try goodreads for a week and fall in love
Choose three books from the list – outside your favourite genre mind you – and start reading.
If you don’t want to buy a book you are not sure you will like, buy the kindle version and you will save a lot.
Sites that pay you to review books
A perfect opportunity to combine two goals in one, to read new and different things and earn money doing it. Most sites that pay you to leave reviews have a collection of books in any genre, and most are self-published.
It is a great way to give a chance to books that do not get attention from publishers, often because they do not follow the fashion of the moment. That way you will read a lot of books in different genres and by writers you would otherwise not have the pleasure of getting to know.
Here you will find the complete list of the best sites to get paid by leaving reviews.
Take advantage of your favourite star
Most people have a favourite celebrity, someone who inspires them in some field. When they get bored of always talking about relationships, a question that is asked very often to famous people is “What are your favourite books?”.
You can easily find their answers on the web, sometimes they recommend just one book, sometimes there are whole lists, but you will find something. Read whatever they recommend in order to broaden your reading, and why not, understand the literary tastes of someone you know in other ways.
Now you know why and you know how, all you have to do is take courage and start.
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