Danielle Martin – Author

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Genre, reading

Why You Should Read Outside of Your Genre Rut

It’s easy to get stuck in a genre rut.

Ok, maybe your rut isn’t that severe.

Perhaps you’re quite comfortable reading in your chosen genre. You can stride over to your genre section at B&N with the quietly assured feeling that you’re going to find something that suits you.¬†That’s great. Your chosen genre can do a lot for you. But sometimes you need to break free, if only for a little while. Here’s why you should try to read outside of your “tried-and-true” genre:

You Might Learn a Thing or Two

Yes, it’s a fact that you’ll almost always learn something new when you read. But consider all of the additional things that you might learn if you venture out of the nest!

How might your mind expand if you take an experimental dip into one of these realms?

  • Historical Fiction: Even if you always found history class to be a bore, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to step into another era through the perspectives of characters in a solid piece of historical fiction. ***Warning: don’t get stuck in a rut of reading only one era of historical fiction!*** HistFic allows you to transcend time and place, offering you a time-travel tour that you’re not going to be tested on. Just enjoy the ride.
  • Mystery: Perhaps you’re struggling to “connect the dots” about something in your life. Peruse some books in the mystery category and you might develop a more finely-tuned ability to consider the subtext of a situation.
  • Science Fiction: Suddenly, you’ll begin to see the possibilities everywhere. What if our species was different? What if Earth was changing in a completely unexpected way?
  • Biography/Autobiography: Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be another person? Biography and autobiography make that possible (almost). Even if you don’t agree with the philosophy or lifestyle of your chosen subject, you’re sure to come away with a greater appreciation of how that person ended up where they did in life. You might even come upon some insights that will influence your own life decisions.

Every genre will give you its own contextual jumping-off point. By no means is the above an exhaustive list!

You’ll Have More Things to Say

Reading outside of your usual genre gives you the added bonus of boosting your conversational skills.

Consider the plight of die-hard genre fanatics who only feel truly at peace when surrounded by their own kind. The world is a little less comfortable for genre fanatics, because they’re not able to easily transition from their cozy niche. Genre fanatics are often “closed off.” They’re not usually interested in what other people (or genres) have to say, because these categories fall outside of their typical territory.

If you read broadly, you’ll find that you become less closed-off, and more and more open to various types of people, places, and ideas. This in turn will give you more things to talk about, transforming you into a limitless vessel of flowing conversation.

Don’t you want to be a limitless vessel?

You’ll Become More Adventurous in Other Aspects of Your Life

It might sound like NBD (no big deal) to grab something off the shelf that you never, ever would have considered looking at before.

But it’s obviously not just a little thing, or “no big deal” if you’ve never done it before.

There’s some reason why you haven’t been reading widely across genres. There’s something that’s been holding you back.

Perhaps you feel that there’s a certain “stigma” attached to a certain genre. I’m not one of those readers, you might tell yourself.

But how can you know if you’ve never tried? Opening yourself up to a new genre has the added side benefit of tearing down a mental wall… which might lead you to tear down another mental wall in some other domain of your life.

If you can free yourself from your own limiting expectations, just imagine what you can do elsewhere!


Have you had a positive experience reading “out of genre?” Let me know in the comments section below!




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