Saturday, July 24, 2010

What would it take?

Usually, people have certain genres that they stick to when reading books. For me, it's sort of like a comfort zone - if I pick up a book from a certain genre that I really enjoy, chances are high that I'll end up liking it.

I consider myself very open minded, but even still, there are certain genres of books that I simply will not touch! Romance, paranormal, erotica... quite frankly, those types of books have never existed for me. But recently, I've been reading and hearing about quite a few great books that I normally wouldn't go near, mostly in the paranormal genre. So, that got me thinking: what would it take for me to try something new? What would it take for me to branch out a bit?

Actually, my mentality is quite silly. I've barely ever read anything in the paranormal genre, yet I'm totally ignoring it. I guess part of that is because of the constant, never-ending supply of them. It's all people are reading these days. I have no problem with that of course, but after a while it gets monotonous to the innocent observer. It's a silly reason for me not to be experiencing a wider variety of books, but I always hesitate!

So, to answer my question: it would take many, many rave reviews to even get me mildly interested in a book that I had no previous desire to read. I don't want to be that person who refuses to try something new and is highly critical of a thing they don't even know, but I'm sure we all have those books that we don't pay attention to out of habit. I cannot picture myself as someone who could sit down and enjoy a paranormal romance, but who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Are there certain genres that you stay away from? What would it take for you to try something new?


Kay said...

This is a thought provoking post, Emidy. I will admit that I am not a big reader of sci-fi, fantasy, westerns, or non-fiction (which isn't a genre, but I include it).

I'm very partial to mysteries, thrillers, some romance, some paranormal, women's fiction, and a few literary fiction books. I do have to limit my literary and classics readings because I seem to come away from many of them depressed. LOL

That all being said, I have ventured on a limited basis into all the types of books I don't normally read except westerns. I really have no desire to read those, but some sci-fi are like updated westerns I think (according to my husband). When I have tried out a sampling, I have had good results, basing my picks on books that people I trust have raved about. I still don't read those genres on a regular basis, but you can always put the book down after 50 or 100 pages if it is just not working out.

Library Cat said...

I am not a fan of sci-fi, paramormal, or romance (although there was a time I read historical romances). For me, I will read outside my comfort zone only if it is recommended to me (and given to me usually) by a friend. It also helps if I have read some good reviews.
For instance, a good friend just gave me the book The Passage to read. I was hesitant but he and the positive reviews convinced me - going to start soon. We will see!

Excellent post!

Jeanne C. said...

Awesome post, Emidy. I will not touch sci-fi, serious drippy romance, or urban fantasy. I like some paranormal... if it's ghost related. I don't do vampires, shape shifting, etc. For me to delve into these genres, it would take a large cash incentive. :)

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

I'm with you - I stick to my genres and just the thought of reading something out of my comfort zone makes me cringe. Paranormal stuff is also a total no-go for me - it appears to be all over the place, but I just can't stomach it. I haven't given it a chance either, but I'm not even tempted to - there are so many books I'm desperate to read so why waste time on books that don't appeal to me in the slightest, i.e. paranormal, crime, horror etc. I'm sure it's not as bad as I imagine it to be, but I guess I'll never know - I'm quite happy sticking to my books, thank you very much. :)

So what would it ask for me to branch out, you ask? Well, either a personality transplant or a whole lot of money, haha! ;)

Jan von Harz said...

I am with you on romance and erotic, but fantasy has always been one of my favorite genres and paranormal is really just a sub genre of fantasy. Still I think most readers tend to stick with the genres they prefer and that is OK.

WonderBunny said...

I read everything! I find it sort of silly not to branch out once in a while and I think it is sort of odd that someone who loves to read would be unwilling to try a type of book they've never read before or judge it bad just because it is an a certain genre. I had one blog that I only read rarely that made a comment about the "top kindle books" or something in science fiction-fantasy genre and how they were disgusted because a number of the top ten were urban fantasy. They also made a comment about how the writing is those is horrible so they don't understand how it could be a top seller. I was so proud of myself for not saying a word. I just stopped following quietly.

I think there a ton of cross over books that flow from on genre to another. Like women's fiction but not into paranormal? Try Jodi Picoult's Second Glance, you get a heart wrenching story and ghosts. Love thrillers but not really into paranormal books? Try F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack series. Like romance but don't care for the paranormal stuff? Try Gail Carringer's Soulless, you get Victorian England with a dash of steampunk and some fun paranormal romance.

I also think there are books people love regardless of what their typical preference is. I have seen things like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Help by Katheryn Stockett raved about by people who normally wouldn't read either.

There are wonderful books to be found in every genre. I tend to stay away from young adult books because the writing bothers me, but I have a number of YA books on my tbr stack because I know there are some gems to be found.

Juju at Tales of said...

I'll try anything if it can capture my attention.

That being said, certain genres usually just don't captivate me. Like chick lit :)

Justine said...

Hmm, I remember one time when I decided to try a book from the Horror/Thriller genre. It was Perfect Nightmare by John Saul and my review is here. It was not one of the usual books I read! But I ended up really liking it. Sure, it was very different, but the atmosphere was tense, the suspense kept me going and going until BAM I finished. Haha.

(Good thing I mentioned this part in my review because I dont remember:) I decided to read it because I read a review about it that explained how good of a book it was. Clearly, I was persuaded so I went and borrowed it from the library. Maybe I'll try Stephen King next, who knows? Though I doubt that would be soon. I'm not so sure. I'll have to see. Great post, by the way. Very thought-provoking :)

Marce said...

Great post.

What got me to read out of my norm - my wonderful KINDLE :-) I was willing to spend money on books that won't take space up in my house and I have been pleased.

I have read YA and I am very choosy with Paranormal, I like ghosts, angels or with powers like the show Charmed but not Vampires, Werewolves etc and Dystopian not interested.

Free books won't get me to try because I want to abandon if I want to.

Darlyn said...

Well, I read almost anything. I dont really choose but sometime, I just get away from chic-lit and erotica (i tried, but the steamy scenes just not work for me). but of course, i would love to try something new ;p

Nymeth said...

I don't like the idea of swearing off a whole genre, but I think that to some extent we all have to set up limits for ourselves, if only to make all the books out there seem more manageable. There's just SO much to pick from. I guess that as long as we aren't too rigid in our decisions AND don't look out on people who read the genres we normally avoid, it's all good.

Emidy said...

Kay - It sounds like we have similar reading styles; most of the genres you don't read, I don't read either! But I agree, you can always stop a book if you're not enjoying it.

Library Cat - I'm the same way! If someone recommends a book, or I read a really positive review, I might give it a try.

Jeanne - Haha! Cash is always good.

Bookalicious - I like to stick to my genres, too! And I agree, there are already so many other books I want to read.

Jan - So true! I'd like to give the fantasy genre a good shot one of these days.

WonderBunny - I totally agree! While I don't read every type of book because I enjoy some genres more than others, I'd be willing to give every book a try.

Juju - That's a good way to be! If you are interested in reading a book, go for it!

Justine - That's happened to me before! I read a book in a genre that I normally don't go for, and I ended up liking it.

Marce - Aw, it's great how your kindle encourages you to branch out!

Darlyn - I agree with you! Certain books I just can't go for, but I'd be willing to give it a try.

Nymeth - So true. Some people obviously have certain likes, but it's never good to totally ignore a genre without reason.

Alice V said...

I don't stay away from any genre except for M/M erotica or novels with rape scenes. Other than that, I read just about anything. For me, reading the back of the book is a big thing. I usually don't start reading reviews unless I'm a little effy about a book.

As for you, I think you should just read what you like. If you want to give a different genre a chance, then please do. Just keep in mind that even if a novel is highly recommended, doesn't mean you'll like it.

Aths said...

I don't like paranormal romance and erotic either. I can digest the non-romance paranormal reads though, like Dracula, Passage, The Strain, etc. I've read paranormal romance and never got impressed. I found them sticking to the same equations. I grew up reading erotic, so I can't stand them anymore. LOL! When I see these reviews, I rarely ever add it, no matter how much the person has raved about that book. And then I know bloggers/readers who don't read genres I stay out of. So I they rave of a book in that genre, I would be more willing to consider. But usually, I just hit read on my reader for a review in a genre I don't fancy.

Emidy said...

Alice - Great advice! The backcover is really important for me, too. If that can't grab my attention, I highly doubt the book as a whole would.

Aths - Hm, I'm sort of the same way. When I see a review in a genre that I don't enjoy, I usually briefly read it, or completely pass it by. I want to expand my reading, though!

Or So I Read said...

I never thought about it that way before, but I totally agree. Genres ARE comfort zones, and we do get preconceived (often deluded) conceptions with those we’re not familiar. My un-favorites would be Romance and Fantasy. I did pick up different Romances a couple of times in this past year, to try to do the very thing you suggest – open my horizons. Unfortunately, the reading made me want to close the genre more. But your post has inspired me, and I shall try both Romance again and Fantasy.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Great to meet you!

Vanessa Di Gregorio said...

I've never thought about that!! There are some genres that I seem to always avoid: Romance, Erotica, and Chick-Lit. Even their covers tend to keep me far away from them!

But I definitely want to broaden my reading spectrum... I mean, I WAS an English Lit major! But I haven't read much literary fiction since I got my degree....

Jamie said...

I'm pretty openminded but I find myself staying away from YA paranormal stuff and romance novels. I'm pretty much always willing to try something new so it wouldn't take much!

Came from the Hop!

Elle said...

I'm not a big paranormal/ vampire books fan, but then again, I haven't read many books in that genre. But a few days ago at a bookstore I decided to pick up a book in that genre - who knows, maybe I'll end up liking it! :)