Broaden your perspective
Some readers only prefer non-fiction. Others swear by fiction and stick to particular sub-genres. For example, I have a friend who only reads young adult fantasy and another who swears by science fiction.
I like to mix and match my tastes while reading. And so far, it has served me well. I’ve been a reader since early childhood and have read more than 750 books till now. Granted, my tastes lean more towards fiction, but of late, I have started incorporating non-fiction in general and self-help in particular in my life.
I feel that reading books of different genres adds to the reading experience and broadens your perspective. The only thing to keep in mind is, to be honest; to not look for books that are popular or widely-recommended but pick up books close to your heart.
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”
— Mortimer J. Adler
This article about how reading books of different genres helped me become a better version of myself, and how I believe this will change you too.
All Books Are Not Suited for All Moods
When I started reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, I hated it. I couldn’t bring myself to appreciate the author’s writing style and had no patience to keep reading through page after page of purple prose with the story leading nowhere.
Two years later, when I picked up the book again, I was sucked into a different world right from page one. I took my time reading it, but when I was done, it became one of my favourite books of all time.
Looking back, I understand that the first time when I tried to read it, I was swamped with work and was looking for a light read to finish in the little free time that I had. The God of Small Things is a book that is meant to be cherished with leisure, not devoured in haste. The words are meant to be swirled around in your head before digesting them, taking in the beauty of every expression, every figure of speech.
Not all books are suited to all moods. If you only stick to reading one genre, you might find yourself overwhelmed at times, struggling to finish your next read. This can lead to a “reading slump”, filling you with too much guilt about not finishing your current read before moving on to the next.
Too Much Motivation Can Be Counter-Productive
A lot of my friends who only read self-help books claim that they need to keep reading to keep that constant flame of motivation alive.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”
— Zig Ziglar
Of course, reading self-help books can truly uplift your mood and ignite a spark in you to start achieving your goals.
However, I have found that reading too much of motivational text can be counter-productive. You will see the words on paper urging you to achieve your full potential, and you will feel lost, thinking of how much time you are wasting and how there is so much to do before you can even come close to where you dream to be.
Space out non-fiction with fiction
To make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed thinking of just how much there is yet to achieve, you can space out non-fiction with fiction. By doing that, you are not only giving yourself time to absorb the lessons you learned from the book, but also taking a break and trying to see how you can apply the lessons in your life.
Don’t Let Your Mind Get Saturated
There was a time when I loved fantasy fiction so much, I only used to read books of that genre. It was a wild, magical time, and my head was constantly buzzing with ideas and stories.
But, the moment I started a new book, I used to get flashbacks from the previous one I had only just completed. Unknowingly, I started comparing the plot elements and narrative structure of each and feeling frustrated, foreseeing the twists, losing my patience at the “I knew this was coming!” moments.
Here’s the thing: if you read too much of one genre, your brain tends to get saturated. You feel as if you have seen it all and you can’t get excited by anything new.
You Never Know Your Favourite Genre Until You Read Them All
Summing up, it is important to read books of different genres because of the following reasons:
- You might give up on a good book just because you were not in the mood for it right then. After all, not all books are suited for all moods.
- Reading too much of self-help can be demotivating, as you’ll be consuming so much inspiration and not finding the time or space to apply everything right away. It is always best to space out non-fiction with fiction to keep it balanced.
- If you consistently keep reading books of one genre, you will feel like it has nothing new to offer — a realisation that might be detrimental to your goal of enjoying the reading process.
In the end, it all comes down to mixing different genres and throwing in generous dollops of authors and themes you wouldn’t normally read.
For example, I was a self-confessed fan of adventure and quest stories and balked at the idea of reading about magic. If I had been stubborn in my belief, I would have never read Harry Potter and discovered my love for fantasy fiction.
The bottom line is that a reader reads because they love books. And you will never know which genre you love the most until you have read them all. So, broaden your horizons, pick up odd little books, and make the most of every genre there is.
Some other fun articles you might enjoy:
For book reviews and recommendations, follow me on Goodreads.