Posted on 04/29/2019 at 12:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Stuck in a reading rut? Discover the importance of reading different genres and learn how to expand your reading list.

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The Importance of Reading Different Genres

“It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.”

― Oscar Wilde

Despite demonstrating a love of the written word, many readers tend to devote most of their time to consuming books in one or two specific genres.   

And what’s the harm in that? If you find that a particular type of narrative speaks to you, shouldn’t you continue reading books that fall under that category?

Well … yes and no.

Of course you want to read books that entertain you and bring you joy, but it’s well worth adding some variety to your reading list. You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of reading different genres.

Why?

Reading isn’t just a fun pastime — it’s an opportunity to learn and achieve personal growth.

And the more you step outside of your comfort zone, the greater your chances of making new discoveries and experiencing a shift in your perspective.  

Think of it like an adventure — one that will allow you to uncover treasures you never thought possible!

After all, we can’t discuss the importance of reading different genres without highlighting the benefits you can reap just by mixing things up with regard to your reading list…

How You Benefit from Expanding Your Reading List

You can improve your vocabulary.

When you read a wide array of books, it’s not uncommon to come across unfamiliar words and phrases.

Sometimes you can glean enough context from the sentence to understand the meaning; other times you’ll need to consult the dictionary for clarification.

Either way, you’re able to stow away the definition in your mind for later use.

Having a comprehensive vocabulary serves you well throughout your life.

  • It allows you to communicate more effectively with teachers and peers.

  • It improves your reading and writing skills.

  • It helps you process information faster.

  • It supports your efforts to stay informed of global affairs.

You may not even realize it at first, but when you add a greater variety of books to your reading list, you’ll slowly begin adding new words to your lexicon, reshaping the way you see and interact with the world.

You can develop a broader perspective.

It isn’t just exposure to new words that can affect your view of the world…

When you mix things up and add a wide selection of titles to your reading list, you can start to see people, places, and historical events in a new light.

For example, reading a nonfiction book about a group of people in another country can foster greater understanding of cultures unlike your own.

Even a piece of fiction set in a different time period can allow you to see where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.

When it comes to stressing the importance of reading different genres, the fact that doing so can broaden your perspective of the world is arguably the most noteworthy point of them all.   

You can discover a new favorite genre.

You undoubtedly have a favorite genre or two now, but what if you’re missing out on others because you’re not adding any variety to your reading list?

Sure, you’ll likely find that not every genre is your cup of tea — and that’s okay.

However, by diversifying your reading material, you could wind up enjoying a particular type of book just as much as others you read on a regular basis.  

And when that happens, the number of works you can add to your reading list grows exponentially — so much, in fact, that you may need to increase how many you read at once.

You can get inspiration from surprising places.

It’s amazing how expanding your reading list can open your mind and provide you with inspiration when you need it most.

Of course, some genres are meant to provide encouragement, motivation, and support, such as self-help books and memoirs.

Others, however, aren’t designed specifically to inspire readers, yet they’re able to do so nonetheless.

By picking up a book from a genre you wouldn’t normally read, you may be struck with a sudden urge to finally write your own novel, travel to a faraway place, or even just take up a new hobby.   

Ways to Add Variety to Your Reading List

Even when you understand the importance of reading different genres, you may find it difficult to adjust your reading list when it has remained more or less the same for so long.

The good news is that there’s no wrong way to go about it. However, if you could use some guidance so this new approach doesn’t turn into a failed experiment, consider the following:

  • Try incorporating one new type of book at a time. The more drastic the change, the less likely you’ll be to stick with it.

  • Don’t be afraid to read multiple books at once. It may be easier to alternate between a new find and an old favorite.    

  • Ask friends, family members, and co-workers for recommendations. They may prefer books that you wouldn’t normally go for.  

  • Review the complete works of your favorite writers. Though authors typically stick to one genre, some branch out. Taking this approach allows you to “dip your toe in” by reading a different type of work from an author you’re already familiar with.

  • Be spontaneous and choose a new genre at random! Go to your local library, bookstore, or e-book marketplace and head to a section you wouldn’t usually visit.

  • Is there a genre you tend to disregard? Give it another chance! You may be surprised to find that, while you never used to like works under that category, you’ve developed a newfound appreciation for them.  

Takeaway

The importance of reading different genres should not be understated, as increasing the range of books you read can provide you with a number of benefits.

If you’ve found yourself in something of a reading rut, don’t be afraid to play around with your reading list. Pick up a book you wouldn’t usually go for. Chances are you’ll get more out of it than you may anticipate!

Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Reading

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