Trying a New Genre Can Be a “Gift” to Your Life!
(Get it? December? Gift? I know—I had to try!)
Have you ever dreaded the reading of a certain book? If so, I’d be willing to bet that the reason you kept putting it off went something like, “I hate _________books.” (Insert your non-favorite genre here: fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, murder mystery, romance…) We all have favorites and tend to stick with our tried and true. After all, they’ve withstood the test of time, right?
Well, with this month’s blog, I wanted to share a few examples of how a change can be good (a true “gift”) by using my own “expanding my horizons” story, as well as the stories of two of my friends. I simply asked whether they had ever read a book in a new genre—reluctantly—and then found themselves with a totally new opinion upon its completion?
#1. My story:
My own experience was with the book, The Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Genre? Non-fiction. I cannot tell you how I despised this genre. I avoided it at all costs. It put me to sleep. It had zero action. Just a compilation of facts that I would soon forget. Well, after reading a historical fiction title, a friend told me I must read Lindbergh’s non-fiction book. So, I did. Wow. It was a totally enriching experience. This book spoke to me! That sounds so trite, but Anne was thoroughly analyzing the same exact things I was going through in my own life. I wrote down quotes. I took pictures of pages. And a true confession: I even wrote a short essay after I was done. I did not want to lose what I had gained from reading this title.
So. Beware. Now I never let anyone say they aren’t open to reading anything—especially if friends or acquaintances recommend it. Just give it a try!
#2. Susan’s story:
“The book? Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown. I almost felt I was wasting my time if I read fiction. When my fiction-reading friends and I started a book club, we had to compromise. We decided on historical fiction.
“I could not read that book fast enough and I now have a list of other historical fiction books I’ve completed, as well! My life view has expanded and been enriched on so many levels. I barely have time for non-fiction anymore!”
#3. Katie’s story:
“About fifteen years ago, I worked in a bookstore. I remember stocking items in the ‘Self Help’ section and thinking, ‘what could people possibly need this section for?’ I used reading as an escape, not a diagnosis. However, as I entered my 40s and began to find that despite my best intentions, there were many areas of my life that I still wanted to improve. I became curious about what those who had gone before me could offer.
“Now, I am hooked. No matter what problem I am facing, there is a book about it! Want to be a better parent? Try The Danish Way of Parenting by Iben Dissing Sandahl. Looking for some mindfulness in your life? Thich Nhat Hanh’s books can help guide you. Does your relationship need some attention? Look at The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman. Struggling with anxiety? So was Dan Harris, and he wrote about it in 10% Happier.
“Not only does this genre offer ways to improve our lives, it can still be an escape. Not in the same way of a fantasy or science fiction book, but in a sense that we can escape from whatever might be keeping us from living our best lives.”
Last month I asked you to consider starting a book club. I’ve heard that some of you have started new ones or refreshed old ones! Good for you! Now a possible New Year’s resolution: try a book in that one genre you tend to avoid. Challenge a friend to do it with you. Share your genre stories with us and your group of fellow book readers!
Maybe next year we will return to some kind of normalcy in our world? In the meantime, happy holidays and happy reading to one and to all!
About New Chapters Libraries
At New Chapters, our collective passion is to inspire a love of books among at-risk youth. We believe that strong reading skills are essential for every child and that a good book can be very therapeutic and offer a ‘vacation’ from the hardships of everyday life.
New Chapters is committed to making a wide variety of current and high-interest books readily available by creating and refurbishing libraries in residential facilities catering to at-risk children. We also conduct programs aimed at fostering a love of books and increasing reading skills.