Why do I read what I read? Like most people, I tend to select books that fall into genres I already know I enjoy. Historical Fiction? Yes. Young Adult? Check. Romance? Depends…is it labeled Historical Romance like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (a label Herself does not particularly care for, as I understand it)? Then yes. Is it a Nicholas Sparks love story that is labeled Contemporary Romance, but also Women’s Fiction or Chick Lit? Probably, yes. Is it published by Harlequin, a more old-school “traditional” romance? A resounding no. Not likely. I’m all about broadening my reading horizons, but that’s a push over the edge for me.
Genres I prefer, in no particular order:
- Historical Fiction
- Literary Fiction
- Young Adult (as long as it’s not icky sticky romance)
- Fantasy/Epic Fantasy/High Fantasy
- Classic Lit
- Science Fiction (some)
I actually think that’s pretty inclusive, at least in terms of fiction. Non-fiction is something I’m working on. Funny autobiographies? Sure, on occasion. Anything else I find rather dry and it usually takes me awhile to get through it. However, I’m finding myself increasingly interested in both World War’s, particularly as experienced from the European perspective, and I’m getting ready to tackle my first non-fiction book on that subject. As well, my attraction to politics, the global community, and what the future holds in both those realms, is growing. Already I have a few books concerning those topics, and it’s just a matter of making them a priority. So see? Stretching and broadening.
As for diversity, I feel like I already read a fair number of women, but I haven’t actually done an assessment so that’s an uneducated guess. Really, I haven’t done any kind of assessment, but it’s probably fair to say my reading is not as culturally diverse as it could or should be. And I plan to rectify that. Not quite sure how just yet, but I’m trying to be more mindful. Maybe next year I’ll find or construct a reading challenge that is focused on reading more diversely. Hmmm…
But I digress, another criteria for me is a little more arbitrary and fundamentally flawed, but it is what it is. I’m a cover snob. Sad but true. It isn’t the most important factor, but an attractive cover draws me to books I might not otherwise have considered. Occasionally, I’m disappointed, but often times, I’m rewarded with a reading experience I would otherwise have missed out on. Not so bad, right?
Last year, I participated in a couple of reading challenges. I failed at both. The A-Z Challenge I almost conquered, but the Chunkster Challenge was a flat out fail. Still, they influenced my reading a bit.
Last year I started working on my Lit degree again, and, of course, there was required reading. Six of the books I read last year were required, and so far two for this year (expecting lots more!). So yeah.
Finally, I participate in a Facebook Book Club hosted by two triplet mom’s I’ve been virtual friends with since my pregnancy. Last year was my first year in the club, and I would say I was semi-successful. There were two components to the club last year. First, there was a reading challenge that listed 50 different tasks, like read a book that was published the year you were born. Whoever completed the most tasks/read the most books that were challenge related won, and I was triumphant! Overall, others read more books than I did, but I read more books related to the challenge. The second component was reading books that were selected for that month. Two were selected every month: one for book club, one that related to the reading challenge. Honestly, I can’t say how many of those books I read, but it certainly wasn’t all of them. Still, the book club influenced my reading choices, and I imagine it will this year as well.
One thing I learned (or confirmed) from the book club is that I am resistant to obligation. In other words, a book could be on my TBR list, but the minute I feel like I HAVE to read it, I’m not likely to want to. General tasks, like read something from this list, or read a book that has more than 450 pages, I can get totally on board with. Because at the end of the day, I still get to pick the book that meets that requirement. But tell me I have to read a specific book, and my internal book choosing muse wants to rebel. If the book is something that was already high on my TBR list, I can usually talk her down. If not? Good luck with that.
So, that’s how I choose what I’m reading next. What is your book choosing style?