24 February 2016

Do You Read Out Of Your Comfort Zone?

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My Thoughts is a feature where I attempt to write bookish discussions. If you had spent any time with me in real life you would learn I have this habit of blurting out random thoughts from time to time when I allow my mind to wander. It’s from these random thoughts these posts emerge as I attempt to write some coherent thoughts about what’s been on my mind. I am trying to combine this with my attempts at participating in the Discussion Challenge this year.

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I am terrible for reading book after book in the same genre. It’s not always a conscious thing I do, but something which happens as a mood reader. I have a very clear and defined comfort zone when it comes to reading and I struggle to read beyond that, which can be frustrating for me.

I am a mood reader and have a book to suit almost any mood I may find myself in, unfortunately I find myself sticking to a few set genres, regardless. They are romance (of any kind), fantasy (of various genres), dystopian (although they are declining) and contemporary reads (YA and adult). These are the genre I find easiest to get into regardless of my reading mood.  Romance is often perfect for any mood, but only if I haven’t read too many of them because then I get fatigued. Fantasy is great, but I can only read a couple before I need a break for something a bit more chill. Generic contemporary books with a touch of romance are good palate cleansers and can surprise me, but they can also lead to me craving romance as most YA contemporaries feature a mild romance. All other genres seem to get lost for me, and that makes me sad.

I know many will think that they know what they like and would rather spend their time reading books they know they’re likely to enjoy. To some extent I agree with that, but I will never find anything new and different if I don’t expand my horizons. If I had stuck with what I knew I liked I would never have discovered historical romance, that thinking can stop you from finding some real gems. It’s best to have a balance of knowing what you like but being willing to try something new every so often, I think.

I have taken a few different steps to try and force myself to read those books which have been long neglected on my shelves.

Use Force

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I literally force myself to read a book. I start reading a book I may not necessarily be ‘in the mood’ for. I won’t necessarily finish the whole book, but I will at least see if I’m still interested after the first few chapters. I’ve found many a good book using this method.

I know it sounds wrong, if you’re not meant to read a book then you’re not meant to read it. You can’t like every book, but I often find that if I don’t force myself to read another genre I will never read it. I used to read far more widely before I blogged and I want to be able to reclaim that title.

Book Challenges

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The only other way I try to read more widely is by taking part in bookish challenges which help to force me to read out of my comfort zone. I know I need to read books which match certain criteria for Book Riot Read Harder Challenge and the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge and this forces me to search out books and try something different. I don’t aim to necessarily complete all the challenges, but I would like to do about half and to be able to claim I’ve tried new things

Do you ever challenge yourself to read out of your comfort zone? Do you think it’s good to try different things, or do you think that you know what you like so better sticking with it?

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