Thursday, July 19, 2012

Put Down the Swords & Spaceships: Reading Outside Your Comfort Zone

*is slapped by an assortment of things*

Laptop difficulties = Drastic drop in productivity. Moving on.

Less than a month from today, I will be starting college (which, by the way, may lead to another drop in productivity. -_-)

Once I get to college, I'll be starting my first college English class there, and a few weeks ago I got a postcard informing me that the sunday before classes, the students in this English class would meet to discuss a book that we would read over the summer--

Me: Forcing me to read some boring memoir instead of all the pretties on my shelves? UGH...

--while chatting and getting to know each other and eating desserts.


So I got the book. The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls. And for a while it sat on the desk next to my notebooks and stacks of manga, because I was fairly sure I wasn't going to like it, and I had other things to read--things with magic, and knights, and dystopian societies, and gizmos, etc. etc. etc.

I am a YA scifi/fantasy nut. It's what I write, and it's what I love to read. I've diverged a bit here and there, but all in all I haven't branched out and read outside that genre very much, which of course blatantly disregards all e-advice to the contrary.

I've heard so many authors say "Read, read, read. All the time. ALL the books."

But sometimes my gut response is, "There are so many books in my genre to read. I don't have time for anything else."

I got time to read The Glass Castle the day the kid I tutor played hookey. I pulled it out and started reading at the kitchen table, half expecting the aforementioned kid to walk through the door.

...and I read.
...and I read.
...and I read.

Until, for the first time in a long while, I'd finished a book in one day. In one sitting. I could not put it down.

It was strange, and good, and well-written, and interesting, and not what I expected, but fascinating. And true.

And not a witch or wizard in sight.

It is important to read outside your genre, whether it's as a break from what you've gotten used to, or just a really, really good book. I hope to branch out more in college, and I can't wait to have that discussion with my fellow classmates.

What have you been reading? What do you usually read, and when was the last time you read something vastly different?

And how have you been, guys? I missed you.


  1. Good blog post! Very true.

    I know you're supposed to read books (ALL THE BOOKS!) outside your favored genre, but I have the same trouble you do. Most of the time, I just have too many fantasy books to read that I have no time for anything else (unless, of course, I had to read it for my English classes).

    Still, you're quite right, of course. :)

    Are you excited to start college? What major are you intending to go into? College is pretty awesome once you get used to it. Hehehe.

    Thanks for the post! It's good to have a reminder to branch out every now and again!

    1. I'm excited for college, but SO not all packed yet, and I still need to order textbooks. XD

      I'm majoring in English--Writing & Rhetoric, with a Literature Minor, but I'm also going to be doing theatre as an extra-curricular/scholarship thing, so that'll probably take up a lot of my time. :]

      I'm hoping it'll be great, lol. Promising sign: My roommate also loves manga. 8D

    2. So you're moving in to the dorms? ^^' I hope you survive that! I was in the dorms last semester and, well, my roommates and I were vastly different people. We didn't much get along. I was the weird writer nerd and they were the preppy sport-y girls. XD

      Writing & Rhetoric? Interesting! Theatre should be fun, too! I'm majoring in English (Literature & Writing), so we're probably in the same boat as far as that goes. Any dream jobs?

      Manga! :) Hopefully the same series? Or you could always introduce each other to new series. I have friends from college who are into writing and manga/anime (specifically Fullmetal Alchemist).

    3. Yeah, from the sounds of things me and my roommate are pretty similar. She might be a tad more outgoing/into shopping than me, but I'm used to that. XD Still, I've heard they do a great job matching people up. Our survey included stuff like how neat, how late we stay up, what music we like etc... I think it'll be fun. ^^

      Dream jobs... Author-ing, of course. XD But as far as paying jobs that will ensure my survival/financial stability? ... Hopefully that's something I figure out IN college. XD

      We've exchanged some titles so far. :) Either we'll find the same ones we like, or we'll introduce each other to new ones. She hasn't read FMA yet... But I'll be remedying that. >:) After all, I already got my brothers into it. ;D

  2. Very true! All the books, ALL. I used to be just a fantasy nut, but I was surprised so often by great reads outside that genre that now I just read whatever looks interesting! Like, I really don't like detective fiction; I always get bored and skip to the end. But I recently read Frost At Christmas (which is detective fiction) and it was so good!

    I hope you enjoy college! :D

    1. Thanks!

      I've been reading a few mysteries/detective-y things recently! Specifically Ripper, which I liked alright. :)

      One thing I sould really do is read more adult fiction. So far I haven't strayed far beyond the MG/YA sections at the library. XD Still, I AM a teen yet, though I'm technically an adult... I'll probably get to the adult stuff eventually. XD

  3. Books are very persuasive influences and much they are forgotten today, they would still be man's record of archives. Reading books would be a good habit to make.

  4. I read pretty widely. I've actually gotten more into YA contemporary novels and adult sf/fantasy lately because of the annoying YA paranormal trend that isn't quite "fantasy" enough for me. Not that I don't *like* paranormal, but the shelves are so saturated with it right now that I'm kind of overwhelmed. :P Oftentimes I'll be reading a summary that sounds like a fantastic opening for a YA contemp about someone struggling with the death of a relative or whatever -- and then they get magic powers out of the blue and I'm like NO, now I don't want to read it!