Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Comment: Getting "Stuck" on Certain Authors

Just a quick few lines that I have been pondering for some time.

I think we all get stuck on certain authors. I was never more aware of this than the last trip I made to our local Used Book Store in Palmdale, CA -- The Little Book Bug Bookstore -- when I was looking for some books by my usual favorite authors. Guess what: they weren't there. They are favorite authors of lots of other people, and as I stood by those shelves looking at the other books being offered, I became aware of how limited my "favorite author" list really was.

I know I definitely have my literary comfort zones. There are just some kinds of books I don't like nearly as well as others. But by virtue of my reviewing hobby, I have read sci-fi (which I would never have chosen on my own) and lots of paranormal romance (which has gradually become more and more a favorite of mine) and I see my tastes changing and my comfort zones expanding. Now that has not always been an easy transition. Expanding comfort zones is sort of like doing a new exercise: you use muscles you had forgotten you had. Mental expansion is very much like that, and I don't enjoy it anymore than the next person. But I have learned that not to allow new ideas and new ways of enjoying the world of fiction is to miss out on so much creativity that is absolutely mind-boggling in its scope and beauty.

Those of us who review and have book blogs certainly have to appreciate the creativity of the authors whose books we read. And I think we have to be creative in expressing our feelings about those books. I have come to believe that if I don't keep on opening myself to new genres and greater exposure to some kinds of books I have previously avoided, then I limit my own ability to be creative. I have to admit that I have read some books that have been very oblique in their message. As I try to get my mind around what their story is relating, I find that mental stretching very satisfying. And at my age, the ability to do any kind of stretching is a victory.

So here is a question I am posing: How have each of us expanded our literary comfort zones in the past months or years?

I would love to hear your responses.


Unknown said...

Using Netgalley has really helped me branch out - that & my Nook - I read through the notes & pick what I like then I'll read it because I feel like I have to. I've gotten to like several new authors that way.

Dr J said...

Using Net Galley has been of great help, and just getting better acquainted with my daughter's reading shelves has pushed me into some other genres that I would not have previously chosen. Doing reviews for The Book Binge has also given me piles of stuff I wouldn't have read, either. The eReader phenomenon has helped, hasn't it?

Thanks so much for your comment.

Hilcia said...

Dr. J, I know exactly what you mean! For years I read literature, best sellers and my favorite contemporary and historical romance writers with a science-fiction romance here and there. That was the extent of my reading. But a few years back now, those favorite romance writers switched to suspense romance! What to do?

I went hunting for new romance writers and in the process found not only new ones, but also new sub-genres that I now love and enjoy: high fantasy, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, paranormal romance, erotica, gay fiction, military space opera (scifi), and more! There's just SO much to enjoy out there. :D I love it all.

Erotic Horizon said...

Hey Hon..

Very thought provoking topic.... I have comfort reads and favourite authors.. not sure if I have comfort zone though..

I read a little of everything and am too much of a mood reader to chalk up not reading a particular genre for months on end as comfort zone issues...

Since this year I am trying to read more old school erotic eg. Holly Black, Emma Allen etc... I like the assumed rather than having it all hang there as most of the more modern erotic fiction are now..

If I think really hard I would say the books that make me really queasy are those child abuse books that came out in the UK over the past 3-4 years.. They are horrible... Books with children being abused freaks me out anyhow..

I am using my library more - where I have the chance to read there recommnendation...

I am letting my friend and my Mom choose one books a month for me - Last month I read book on childhood Asperger - really good. Also read Taming of The Shrew - freaking rocked...

This topic has really made me think of some good books I read this year..