I’ve spent the majority of my reading time, nearly all of my life, reading Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. I love the adventure and the speculation and possibilities that are inherent in those genres.
Reading outside those genres has happened occasionally, but never consistently. I’ve read Stephen King, though most of his works are essentially fantasy. I’ve read books by F&SF authors who dabble outside their original genre (Stephen R. Donaldson, Bradley Denton and a couple others). And then I’ve read the occasional book suggested by some other media outlet. A radio interview with Joe Gores got me to read a couple of his mystery novels. A recent article on James Patterson caused me to look at his books on the shelf of the bookstore recently, which resulted in my purchase of “When The Wind Blows” (Of course, it treads on SF territory) and the consequent finishing of that novel in a day.
I’m going to make a commitment to myself that at least one in every three books I read this year (and for the foreseeable future) will be something from outside my comfort zone of the F&SF genres. I’m going to try to sample all sorts of stories that I haven’t read, in the hopes that it will expand my vision of what’s possible to do with a story.
After all, I just read a book where I doubt any of the chapters was longer than four pages. I flew through the book and it was impossible, almost, to put down. 416 pages and 127 chapters. It’s not something I’ve seen before, but it was certainly effective. What other techniques are out there that I’m not aware of because my reading has been so insular?