Discussion: Branching out to other genres

 

I don’t know if all of you suffer from the same thing, but I get very into certain genres. There will be days, weeks of me reading the same genre over and over, without even thinking of going to a different one. And believe me when I say this not an over exaggeration. But this genre-binge never ends well for me. I’ll just get extremely fed up with the genre in the end because the parallels between the books will just be overwhelmingly obvious. Or half of the books I read will pale in comparison to that other book I once read that was just so much better.

How and why do I get so caught up in genres? I don’t really know for sure, but if I had to guess it starts out with an epic book that just gets me hooked on the genre. For example, I’m pretty sure it was the Hunger Games trilogy that sent me on a dystopian book reading binge. I followed up with Delirium, Killables, the Chemical Garden trilogy, Divergent and others. But I have also had this happen with thrillers, classics and romance books. But there will always be that one book that will send me into a slight reading slump because it just doesn’t measure up to the others. Or I’ll just have read the same plot twist too many times. Or perhaps I’ll be getting tired of that cute boy with the British accent and the crooked smile. Books are written in trends and if you overindulge you’ll start to notice them.

So how have I learned to cope with this problem? I started to actively switch genres before I get fed up. So if I’ve read a couple of contemporary romance novels I’ll actively switch to another genres, even trying to mix up those which I’ve never read. Recently I’ve read my first steampunk novel and not long after I read my first zombie novel. It was a great experience for me because I hadn’t read into these genres yet and they definitely helped to keep my books entertaining. In the end I just enjoy more books if I switch it up instead of sticking with something I’m growing tired of.

So far I’ve been pretty pleased with the branching out. I have yet to be disappointed by a new genre which is definitely a good thing. There are so many other genres out there that it just seems a shame to stick to the ones I know, especially seeing as I do enjoy a lot of different things in books. There are a couple of other genres that are on my chopping block of discovery: magical realism, high fantasy, hard core sci-fi, non-fiction-y things as well (though I’m not so sure how much I’ll like it).

Do you often read inside the same genre? How do you deal with the trends in genres? Do you enjoy exploring new genres? Which ones did you enjoy and are there any that you didn’t enjoy at all?

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30 thoughts on “Discussion: Branching out to other genres

  1. I think I am reasonably open to a lot of different genres, but there are some that I avoid completely. Yet often, when I dare to venture into those genres, I often find myself pleasantly surprised!

  2. ” Books are written in trends and if you overindulge you’ll start to notice them.”
    ^ That is so incredibly true. Books that I may have given higher ratings are lowered because they aren’t original or exciting after reading 5 books with the same trend. I have really noticed in the paranormal genre some elements really start repeating themselves.

    I love your idea of consciously branching out into new genres. I will have to do this more often.

    • I find that this is especially true when reading a smaller niche of books, let’s say vampire books or something. There are only so many different ways in which vampires can be portrayed or that’s at least what you’ll start to believe after reading too many similar vamp books.

      Let me know how consciously branching out works for you :)

  3. I agree, I have to switch around often or I get bored. In the past I read chick-lit only and now I only read the odd one as I overdosed on them. Then I discovered Harry Potter and fantasy, later thrillers, then YA and so on and on! I love the variety and the thoughts of only reading one genre makes me shudder!
    I have to admit that before when I found an author I loved,I immediately read all their books. Since I started my blog that hasn’t happened as I have too many review commitments. Plus I’m finding so many new authors, I have no time!

    • For me actively branching out when I started blogging as well. Especially since I started receiving arcs for review!
      I really agree with the last part of your comment, the variety is awesome!

  4. I’ve always read a pretty good variety. I was going to say I’ve read a bunch of contemporaries in a row and am now ready for something else, but looking at my Goodreads shelf, that’s, um, not true. I’ve been mixing it up with paranormals and even a historical and didn’t notice! I am starting to feel like getting back into dystopians and I have a few I’ve been waiting to read, so that’s probably where I’m headed next.

    • For me, my Goodreads shelf never really is a great indicator of what I want to read. Obviously because there are just too many books on there (because everytime I see someone talk about cool books I have to add them to my To read shelf and it grows fast that way).

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. I also do this, to an extent. Maybe not specifically with genres, but more narrowed down to a certain theme I like. After reading The Hunger Games I was craving dystopians bigtime, but was unsure of picking any others up because I was afraid they wouldn’t be able to compare. Normally when I like a book *that* much I go to a completely different genre, so I don’t lose my taste for it. Most of the time I shift between genres every time I pick up a new book anyway, just because my tastes are so varied.

    If you’re looking to get into magical realism, may I recommend Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen? The magic she writes about manifests itself in a few different ways, my favorite being food magic! And for high/epic fantasy, my favorite series to date is the Codex Alera books by Jim Butcher. I don’t care for his Dresden Files series at all but for fantasy… that man can write.

    I think because I skip around so much I don’t encounter trends all that often. I also don’t read nearly as much YA as most people in the community, and that seems to be where many of the tropes come in.

    • Thanks for the recommendations! I will definitely check them out, especially seeing as there really are genres I would love to get into, and that’s always nicer to do with books that others like!

      I like your system by the way, it does help to keep things fresh! I really wish I could be like that, and I am trying to be like you in that aspect. But sometimes I just get too hooked on something for my own good (and then I won’t stop until it’s too late).

      Not noticing the trends can only be a good thing I think, because if you start seeing them it might get boring?

      • For sure! I would hate to be really into a book and then start noticing it has so many characteristics in common with another book I just read. Ugh I can only imagine how irritating that is for you when it happens.

        I think the genre switching is helped by my being a mood reader, and that my mood shifts so easily under influences. If a friend is talking to me about a great romance book she just read I may get in the mood for one myself. Or I may see a movie about space battles and want to read some sort of sci fi set in space. I’ve willingly switched moods like that before when I have books I need to read (because of release dates or return dates or whatnot), so it’s a handy trick to have. :)

        • I’m also a very emotional book picker, and it’s just as you say: someone may be talking about a certain kind of book and I’ll be wanting to read one right away! But I haven’t gotten to the level of willingly switching moods yet. But sometimes I will read books I’m not completely in the mood for and then once I started (and if it’s a good book) I’ll get into the groove anyhow :)

  6. I actually tend not to read more than a few books in a row of the same genre. I like switching around, but I suppose it just really depends on my mood at the time. Sometimes I feel like a dystopian, sometimes I feel like a contemporary etc etc. I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten tired of a particular genre because of the way I switch around :)

    As to particular genres I like- I actually like pretty much all subgenres of YA! Science Fiction, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Steampunk- you name it and I’ve probably enjoyed several books from each genre! As to a genre I don’t like: contemporary NA. The drama just gets too annoying.

    Great post Stefanie!

    • I haven’t read a lot of NA yet, so I can’t really give an opinion on it yet. What sort of drama does it (usually) revolve around that bothers you?

      and do you have any good steampunk recommendations? Because I have a craving for those!

      • I’m going to assume you’ve read The Infernal Devices, so here are some others: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard, Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear. Apparently Girl with a Steel Corset is pretty good, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

      • woops forgot to answer your first question. It just seems as if the author brings in all these unnecessary events to gain sympathy for the protagonist/lengthen the novel. And all the storylines are just way too similar…so much child abuse, so many car accidents/brain cancers, so many exes that step on the scene and ruin everything. It just gets annoying after a while. There are some really amazing books in the genre though e.g. The Sea of Tranquility, Slammed.

        • I hate unoriginal drama stuff! I mean, there must be more out there than braintumors and all that right? (in fact everyone knows there is). Perhaps they might not be as overwhelming or whatever, but if you’re a good writer you can make less “big” topics do well just the same right?

  7. High-five to you, Stefanie! I am exactly like that. Once I get tired of a certain genre because I can’t help but establish patterns of similarities here and there, I immediately jump to another genre. It really helps a lot because it prevents me from getting disillusioned with the same recipe over and over again. Right now, I am quite fed up with Y/A dystopias. Without even thinking, I instantly switched to Y/A contemporary.

    I just couldn’t stress enough how important are genre breaks to me. It also gives me an open mind when I go back on reading books under the genre that caused me to be on a reading slump.

    If I am even fed up with the whole Y/A thing, nothing can stop me from breaking the barrier and read a Dan Brown or a Stephen King or an Anne Rice or a Judith McNaught, Anything to save myself from completely hating a said genre.

    • I love how you say that switching books gives you an open mind because that’s exactly how I feel as well! And breaking away from what you usually read to stop yourself from hating a genre is definitely what I do! Sometimes your patience just wears thin and it’s time for something new to keep reading fun.

      Thanks for the comment!

  8. I tend to stick to several genres, just because I enjoy them so much. I switch between fantasy, paranormal, fairytales and dystopian books and I’m very happy with that. I sometimes like to branch out to genres I’d normally don’t read that often. Not so long ago I read a contemporary (The fault in our stars) and I adore it. It’s great to try something new and I’m always open for it, even when it’s not a genre I’m completely in love with, but in the end I return to my good old genres :D

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

  9. I too have those genres I always go back to, but I think that’s normal? I always return to thrillers and fairytale retellings and whatnot. But it’s always fun to discover new things.

    Thanks for commenting!

  10. Pingback: 2013 in books | Rantings, ravings and ramblings

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