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Why You Should Read in Multiple Genres

People often ask me what my favorite genre is. The plain truth is that I don't have one. I have always felt that cultivating a varied repertoire of books provided me with a more enjoyable literary experience. While it's easy to find comfort in familiar genres, there are some great benefits to be had from branching out and delving into different literary realms. Here are four:

A woman lies on the grass reading an iPad.

1. Reading Multiple Genres Broadens Horizons and Perspectives

One of the most significant advantages of reading multiple genres of fiction is the opportunity to broaden your horizons and perspectives. Each genre offers a distinct lens through which to view the world, presenting different themes, settings, and characters. By exploring diverse genres, readers can gain insights into various cultures, historical periods, and societal issues, fostering empathy and understanding for experiences beyond their own.

For example, delving into historical fiction--such as Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl-- transports readers to different eras, allowing them to immerse themselves in the challenges and triumphs of bygone times. On the other hand, science fiction and fantasy--books like James Cameron's Avatar and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter--offer imaginative landscapes and speculative futures that challenge conventional thinking and expand the boundaries of what is possible.

The book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

2. Reading Multiple Genres Develops Versatility and Flexibility

Reading multiple genres of fiction also nurtures versatility and flexibility in readers' literary tastes and preferences. Just as a diverse diet contributes to better health, consuming a variety of genres enriches the mind and stimulates intellectual growth. Switching between genres keeps the reading experience fresh and engaging, preventing monotony and stagnation.

Moreover, exposure to different writing styles, narrative structures, and storytelling techniques enhances readers' analytical and critical thinking skills. As readers navigate through genres ranging from literary fiction to romance, mystery, thriller, and beyond, they learn to discern nuances in plot development, character dynamics, and thematic depth, honing their ability to appreciate and evaluate diverse literary works.

3. Reading Multiple Genres Stimulates Imagination and Creativity

Another compelling benefit of reading multiple genres of fiction is the stimulation of imagination and creativity. Each genre offers a unique palette of imagery, themes, and concepts that ignite the imagination and transport readers to new realms of possibility. Whether exploring the whimsical landscapes of fairy tales, like Marissa Meyer's Cinder, or unraveling the intricacies of psychological thrillers, like Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, fiction provides an endless reservoir of inspiration for creative endeavors.

Moreover, exposure to diverse genres exposes readers to different narrative structures and storytelling conventions, sparking innovative ideas and approaches to writing. By drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, writers can infuse their own work with fresh perspectives and originality, enriching the literary landscape with their unique voices and visions.

The book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

4. Reading Multiple Genres Cleanses the Palate

There is value in the practice of "cleansing the palate" by switching from one genre to another. Much like savoring a refreshing sorbet between courses to cleanse the palate and prepare for the next flavor, transitioning between genres rejuvenates the reading experience and prevents fatigue or burnout.

Genre switching offers readers the opportunity to recalibrate their reading preferences, explore new territories, and rediscover the joy of storytelling from different perspectives. After immersing in the intensity of a psychological thriller, for example, transitioning to the whimsy of a cozy mystery or the poignant lyricism of literary fiction provides a welcome change of pace, rejuvenating the mind and reigniting passion for reading.

You might be surprised to learn that many of your favorite authors write in multiple genres. Most use pen names to avoid diluting their "brand." Unlike most, I write in three different genres under one name--my real name, Eva Pohler. These genres include paranormal mysteries, thrillers, and young adult fantasy based on Greek mythology. I and many of my author friends like to genre switch to cleanse the palate so that we come to each new project with a refreshed perspective.

I challenge you to try reading outside of your comfort zone by selecting a book in a genre you don't usually read. I humbly submit these options for your consideration:

The first ten books of The Mystery House Series in paperback.

The three books in The Nightmare Collection in paperback.

The ten books in The Underworld Saga in paperback.

I used to feel bad when I'd give my answer to whoever was asking about my favorite genre, as if I'd somehow let them down, like when someone who loves sports asks who's your favorite team. Over the years, however, my perspective has changed. I'm now proud to be a multi-genre bibliophile. And I've been pleased to see fellow readers striking out and referring to themselves as "mood readers," letting the world know that we don't have to be put in a box and labeled a certain way as book lovers.

Btw, if you don't already own The Bookworm Bible--my fifty-page comprehensive guide for book lovers compiled from articles I've written over the years on topics such as "How to Overcome a Reading Slump" and "How to Write Easy Peasy Book Reviews" with free resources such as a printable reading log, review templates, and an online reading journal--grab your free copy here.

The cover of The Bookworm Bible is illustrated with a woman wearing glasses.


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