Friday, August 10, 2012

Habits, Ruts, and Reading Horizons

I have this really bad habit. Whenever I overhear people talking books, asking each other for recommendations, I tend to interrupt with recommendations of my own.

Don’t judge.

So yeah. Last week, I was at a soccer team meeting, and did something like that. I wasn’t even part of the conversation, but I heard one mother ask another mother for new “post-apocalyptic” books she can read. Because she ONLY reads post-apocalyptic, and she’s run out of books.

(I know, right?) So, clearing my throat, I said, “Um. I can give you a list.”

She turned to me, frowning, then handed me a receipt and a pencil, and I proceeded to fill the entire blank space with titles, including the authors. However, while I gave her the names of all my favorite dystopians, I also listed other paranormal-type books. (But I’ll get to that in a second.) After which she looked at me with admiration and said, “I can’t believe you remember all the authors.”

Yes. Yes, I do. And I listed the books off the top of my head. Because, after all, keeping up with the industry is a huge part of what I do.

I read. I read a lot. Whenever new awesome books, especially the YA ones, come out, I add them to my to-be-read list. But this week, I realized I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut. I’ve been focusing all my energy on reading YA paranormal and dystopian, because that’s mostly what I write. And the problem with that is that I also get a lot out of reading adult books. And contemporary stories. And nonfiction. *gasp*

So, when I made that list, I deliberately recommended some books that weren’t specifically dystopian, in hopes that the reader who asked would spread her wings and broaden her reading horizon. Even just a little. And I gave her a LOT of ideas. Then I went home and dug through my books to find something that is not YA, and not paranormal. And I proceeded to read something different.

Guess what happened? Not only did I thoroughly enjoy it, the books (three!) kicked my creative self in gear. I now have a new idea percolating. And as soon as I finish drafting the one I’m working on, or maybe at the same time, I’ll get started on this entirely new thing.

And that, my friends, is the beauty of keeping an open mind, an open heart, and a diverse selection of books. And hopefully, the other lady will have a similar result.

What different books are on your shelves?

4 comments:

Angie said...

I love that you can rattle off a list of recommendations like that. I like to try different genres too. Good writing is fun to read no matter what it's about.

Heather B. Moore said...

Recently I've read several mainstream books, a romance, some short stories, a suspense, and a dystopian.

Karlene said...

I have a hard time remembering titles off the top of my head but I can usually recommend some in several genres. And yes, I have to branch out every so often because if I don't, my brain turns to slush.

Leigh Covington said...

Brilliant! I find myself doing the same thing. The other day I finally opened a YA contemporary romance, and LOVED it! Totally loved it! True, it was still YA, but I usually stick to dystopian and fantasy. I still have some adult fiction that I love and it's always good to broaden your horizons!