On Expanding Bookish Horizons & Why It Pays Off

Posted March 5, 2018 by Bee in Discussion / 32 Comments

On Expanding Horizons & Why It Pays Off

Everyone has a favorite genre. The one they always go back to and feel most comfortable with. For me that genre is contemporary. That doesn’t mean I only love books in that genre, not at all. I also love Fantasy a lot, as well as mystery/thrillers, retellings and the occasional sci-fi book. But that wasn’t always the case. I used to stick to one genre and was too scared to go beyond that. Especially genres that weren’t my thing at all. I’m not always the biggest fan of science fiction or historical fiction, so I don’t read much of those at all. And yet some of my all time favorites are from those exact genres. Why is that?

It’s simple really. I decided to expand my horizons. Venture into the deep unknown and see what happens. Before I read Cinder by Marissa Meyer, sci-fi was not my genre at all. But I was and still am a fan of fairy tales so I decided to listen to the hype and read it. And I’m glad I did! Because the Lunar Chronicles turned out to be one of my favorite series ever. It still is! And later on I took an even bigger step by reading Illuminae, which is a full-on space opera, even more out of my comfort zone. And it is in my top 3 favorite books of ever. On that same list is another out-of-my-comfort-zone-read that scored even higher and landed on number 2. That would be the amazing book The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, a Historical Fiction book.

Expanding your horizons and trying something out of your comfort zone could go horribly wrong, for sure. But it could also turn out to be so very good. Think of all the amazing worlds and wonderful characters you’re missing out on. So I recommend finding a book out of you’re comfort zone that speaks to you and read it. You might be surprised in the end.

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone reading-wise? Did it pay off in the end or absolutely not? Share your experiences in the comments!

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32 responses to “On Expanding Bookish Horizons & Why It Pays Off

  1. Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Kym

    Yes yes yes!!! I love this post. You are 100% on point. I think back to the days when I only read Nora Roberts. Not that I only read romance, I literally only read books by Nora. It was freaking ridiculous. I can’t think of a single genre that I wont try now, and I’m forever grateful for it. This was a great post with a very positive message. Thank you for taking the time to write it!

  3. I used to be like this, but now I regularly step out on my comfort zone. The last big step for me was to try post apocalyptic, an author I know and like went with a new, to her, genre and I trusted her writing enough to give it a try. I loved it because she still put her style on the genre.
    This author is Terry Tyler, if anyone is interested she is proud to be self published and has written books in several genres. I would recommend them all.

  4. I would call myself an eclectic reader so stepping out of my comfort zone isn’t very easy because I’m on a common ground. Though, I tried erotica (like not the erotic subplots to a SF/F or romance but like everything was clearly about one thing and one thing only) recently and it was a disaster because I got so bored in like one-fourth of it and am wondering why there isn’t a plot but that’s the whole point: the plot is there but I can’t come about to accept it as a plot because my expectations are different. Though, I’m so happy you grew to SciFi by stepping out of your comfort zone because SF is one of my fave genres and I get excited when someone likes it too ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. I usually just read all over the place! Which is why I totally agree ๐Ÿ™‚ reading different genres is great. Last year I discovered nonfiction and am loving it so far as well. It was pretty much the only thing I didn’t really read already! Well, that and murder mysteries, but I’m probably not going to start those cause they are NOT good for my mental health.

    Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks recently posted: What Are Linkups All About? Nicole @ FYFA To The Rescue!
  6. I totally agree that everyone should try a new genre now and then! My favorite reads are fantasy and YA, but I read books from just about any genre when they look interesting. I guess the most recent time I stepped out of my comfort zone would be reading Sunshine by McKinley, because I’m not usually a fan of vampire books. And how it went was… middling, I guess? It’s not one of my favorite books ever, but I don’t hate it.

  7. I feel like I’ve always been okay with reading outside my comfort zone, but I did stick to contemporary most of the time, so blogging has certainly helped me find other genres. I’m not a big scifi person either but I love Illuminae and even the Lunar Chronicles. I think it’s worth trying something new because you just never know!


  8. I mainly read fantasy (MG, YA, adult) but over the past few years, I’ve tried to read at least one non-fiction book. I “discovered” Wild by Cheryl Strayed a few years ago and loved it. And I’m reading poetry and prose again after I stopped writing poetry years ago. Go figure. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bee

      I’m still not fond of poetry books but I’m willing to give them a chance if one crosses my path that really speaks to me. I started writing poetry when I was very young and have since grown out of it and now I attempt to write books XD

  9. Nathan

    I used to only read very few genres. Then in October of 2014 I read a book very much out of my comfort zone “Biting Bad” by Chloe Neil. Urban Fantasy involving vampires, shifters, etc. Vampires. I never read a vampire book before, and I thought they would only be horror. A city, boring, right? I was sooo very wrong on both accounts. I have since discovered paranormal romance, fairy tale/myth retellings, etc. I discovered two other books that were outside my comfort zone at the library. One was Collison Course by C.P. Rowland, which opened up the possibility of non-straight romance and fiction in general. There was also Tucker’s He will be My Ruin, a contemporary murder mystery, that was not Sherlock Homes that I actually enjoyed. A big change is I now read a fair bit of contemporary fiction again and more books in general. Before the end of 2014, (for personal reasons, not a good year for me), I read only a handful of fiction and non-fiction genres. I now have an idea of what I was missing. I could go on.

  10. Greg

    I’ve expanded my reading habits since I started blogging and have discovered SO many books I’d otherwise have never read! So I totally agree. I’ve tried urban fantasy, more YA stuff and even some contemporaries, and found favorites in all three! Pretty awesome…

  11. I couldn’t agree more! I’m always on the lookout for something unique and love to read pretty much all age groups and from romance to zombies, lol. I do admit, I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary which I’m working on. Also, I need to get back to reading a few more classics if I can ever get the time. Great post-Bee.

  12. YES! I try not to have a comfort zone. There are some themes and settings that Iโ€™m drawn to, but I try to read a variety of genres. Last night, I finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I avoided that book for years because I usually donโ€™t love mysteries, and I hate math. I ended up loving the book. It wasnโ€™t what I expected.

  13. Sammie

    This is fantastic advice, and it’s something that I think we should be encouraging our kids to do, too. I can’t even tell you how many books I said weren’t something that I would normally read that I end up liking. My husband basically forced me to read the Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson, and I ended up LOVING them (and raced out to pre-order the second and third one without him asking for them, so I see what he did there).

    I just finished a book that was a bit out of my comfort zone, The Last Equation of Isaac Severy. It was a cozy mystery, which I’m usually pretty agnostic about in general as I can find them boring, but it was about MATH. Math and I haven’t gotten along since elementary school. But you know what? I actually really liked it and will be watching for more from the author, so go figure. I find I’m actually more excited to enjoy books that I thought I wouldn’t like or felt indifferent to than to enjoy books that I figured I’d really like. I’m not sure if that makes me weird or what, but it’s always a nice little surprise.

    • Bee

      I loved Steelheart but haven’t gotten to the rest yet! And yes, it’s such a fun experience to find a book you love that’s actually out of your comfort zone.

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