As readers, and as humans, we can become creatures of habit.
I myself am extremely guilty of this. A few months ago, I started to admire how lately, I seem to know exactly which books I’ll like, and I pick those up so that I can have a blissful reading experience. I’m not always right, but I often am, leading to a lot of high ratings on my Goodreads shelf.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a great place to be! Being able to recognize what kind of story will make you feel good is great. But, I would argue, so is picking up something that you usually wouldn’t, that you’re maybe not positive will become a favorite.
Personally, I love YA contemporaries. They’re my favorite genre of books, and I gravitate to them much, much more than I do fantasy (or even sci-fi, even though I quite enjoy it, too). Looking at my reading habits from last year, there are many contemporary novels and significantly less-many fantasies. That’s because I “know what I like” and I stick to it.
And then I read The Cruel Prince. And people, my eyes were opened.
I haven’t read a high fantasy book in a long time. I didn’t read even one in 2018. A part of me purposefully avoids them, I think. They’re out of my comfort zone, they’re more difficult for me to get into and, generally, they take me longer to read.
Because of this, I haven’t explored much of the genre. But after reading The Cruel Prince, a part of me regrets that. I adored that book. It was my favorite read of February, one of my favorites of the year so far, largely because the setting was so immersive, the world so well-built. Not only did it make me want to read more from Holly Black, it made me want to read more fantasy novels.
As much as I love contemporaries, reading them over and over just because they’re a solid bet can easily become monotonous. It keeps me in my comfort zone. It keeps me in a box.
I don’t want to be in that box. I want to branch out. You can only find out if you like something by actively trying it. I’m not saying I’m going to switch over to fantasy for good, but it wouldn’t hurt me, or any of us, I think, to expand out horizons every once in a while.
I understand that the point of reading for pleasure is to pick up things you know you’re going to enjoy. Otherwise, what’s the difference between it and required reading? But a lot of us read to escape. Escape our lives, our experiences, and whatever else might be plaguing us.
But reading can be so much more than an escape. It can be an entrance into a totally different universe. Similarly to how we read diversely to understand things we didn’t before, branching out in genre allows us to explore what we thought we enjoyed and, just maybe, learn a little something along the way.
That’s it, folks! Go forth and try new things!
So have I convinced you? Do you prefer to pick up what you know you’ll enjoy, or try to branch out in your reading habits? What genre do you read the most of? Would you like to change that? If you prefer to stick to the same genre most of the time, why is that? Tell me in the comments! 🙂