Reading outside the box: expanding your horizons
The last time I traveled home to Maryland for Christmas, December 2010, I spent a lovely week at home spending time with friends, hanging out with my family, taking up a corner table of a local coffee house, and collecting books. A ton of books in fact. I came home with two full paper boxes full of books.
Some were books I had gotten for Christmas, a Paula Deen Celebrations Cookbook, and a really cool British Cookbook. Others were theology, fiction, and Christian spirituality books from a friend who was clearing her shelves after a big move. Finally, I also received an impressive collections from my Dad and Grandmother of books they loved and wanted me to try.
Among the books I was given were a few that were out of my normal “genre comfort zone”, like Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver (Book 1 of the Baroque Cycle). Neal Stephenson, for those unfamiliar with his work, goes under the category of science fiction, or cyberpunk. He is a difficult author to categorize because he tends to cover a couple of genres at once, and in the few pages I’ve read, I would agree with that assessment.
It is tempting to stick to what we know when we read- authors and genres that fall into the category of tried and true, especially when we read for fun. But I would challenge you to expand your horizons a bit as you read. Pick up a non-fiction book about something you are interested in if you normally read strictly fiction. Try a book of poetry or short stories. Go outside your comfort zone to check out new and interesting reads. Maybe the plan will completely fail and you won’t like the book. But you’ll be more educated about why a genre, or a book doesn’t work for you.
So….what outside-the-box book will you be adding to your reading list? Have you tried something new before and had a great experience? Have you tried something new and had a horrible experience?