Go Read Something You Don’t Think You’ll Love

When was the last time you willingly read a book that you never would have chosen on your own? I’m not talking about the material that you have to read for work, whatever that may be. And maybe you read stuff you didn’t choose because you’re taking a class or you’re in a book group, but most of us probably stick to books that pull us in somehow by their covers, their titles, the synopsis on the book jacket. We stick to books that we think we’re going to like.

Every once in a while, though, it might be a good idea to shake it up. Take a leap and dive into something you never would have read if left to your own devices.

So, now you might be wondering if I actually follow my own advice. Yes. Yes, I do. I just finished reading the graphic novel, Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, that my daughter’s boyfriend loaned us. I know, it’s been around for a long time and, really, how come I haven’t read this already, hmm? Because I didn’t think I’d like graphic novels. Ever. I always viewed them as glorified comic books. Stuff high school kids read. Stuff that people outgrow.

And, guess what? I actually read it twice because I was enchanted with the way so many story lines could coexist on the page, with the use of metaphor, with the way big questions were given serious consideration. Oh, yeah, and I kind of liked the sci-fi philosophy feel of it all.

The point here is that I think we all sometimes get stuck in our definitions of what makes a good book and that makes it easy to dismiss a whole bunch of ways of making a good story. If you, like me, were brought up on the standard English canon, it’s pretty easy to miss things like graphic novels altogether. In this particular case, I don’t mind being proven wrong.

UPDATE:

Over at 32 Poems, there’s a Recipes for Poets update that lists participating poets’ blogs. Find it here. In case you missed it in my earlier posting, Recipes for Poets is an online event on May 20 when participants will post their favorite 20-30 minute recipes on their blogs. We don’t live on words alone, apparently.


4 comments

  1. I do this at least once a year because I inevitably think that someday I'll enjoy a romance novel (or chick flick) and read a description that actually makes me think that this author has the magic to make me change my mind about certain genres. I'm afraid so far Jane Austen continues to stand alone as the only romantic writer I can tolerate and, no doubt, sometime this year I will once again pick up a book in some vague hope that miracles can and still do happen.

    If you haven't explored graphic memoirs, there are some brilliant works out there including Maus which is about WWII, Fun Home a very literary memoir, and Stitches which has a surreal quality to it in both text and images.

  2. I'm a book omnivore, so it warms my heart to hear about people trying new books they were pretty sure they wouldn't like. 🙂 Sometimes you do find something great.

    I'm kind of astounded by Fun Home, which I'm reading right now. I have Stitches but haven't gotten to it yet. Maus will destroy me, so I haven't gotten up the courage to read it yet.

    For the romance averse, have you tried Georgette Heyer?

    For the horror and romance averse, have you tried Sunshine by Robin McKinley?

    For the fantasy averse, have you tried The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss?

    For the science fiction averse, have you tried The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell?

    I'll stop now . . . 🙂


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