image by Dolly Garland
Most people have particular preferences when it comes to reading. This is true of casual readers, but also often of regular readers. There are people who read a lot, but stick to a couple of different genres, or maybe even just one. I know someone who mostly reads only crime, another person who reads only fantasy, and yet another who reads only biographies and computer books.
Their limited reading is definitely way better than those who don’t read at all, or don’t read much. But they are missing out on so much by limiting their experience to one genre.
Acquiring an eclectic taste in your reading is a good habit. Both for development of mind and for pleasure. Think about it like international cuisine. Why wouldn’t you want to enjoy different types of food?
Benefits of Being An Eclectic Reader
By branching out, and reading a variety of material, you will gain far broader exposure to not just literature but to different ways of thinking, and humanity’s cultural evolution.
Don’t discount the “chic” factor of being well-read. If you aspire to keep intelligent company, of people who are big readers, conversations about books can bring friendships from unexpected quarters.
Discover Joys of Different Genres
Just because you’ve always read one genre, and think you won’t like anything else, doesn’t necessarily make it true. Chances are if you like to read, you will enjoy reading different kinds of stories. A person who reads only happy endings, may not necessarily want to move over to horror, but they may still enjoy “happy ending” beyond Harlequin and Mills & Boons. Just as someone who likes the adrenaline rush from thriller novels, may find similar in other adventure stories, or even true accounts of military or spy history.
Give it a try. Start by branching out to things that are similar to what you like, but slightly different. Then be bolder. If you don’t like it within 30 pages of reading, quit, and start something new. Don’t waste your time on books you hate, but don’t give up on a whole new genre because you didn’t like one or two authors.
Improve Your Language Skills
Effective communication skills are essential no matter what your profession. Reading helps improve your vocabulary skills, as well as written and spoken communication skills. Reading gives you instinctive knowledge of structure and grammar (assuming you are not reading only absolute trash). Reading helps you understand how language is when it works well.
Develop Your Own Taste
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
By sampling what’s available on the reading menu, you will develop your unique combination of taste. I’m not suggesting you should always read absolutely all genres. That’s impractical, and there is not enough time in the world to read everything. Instead, try many different things, and develop your own particular pallet that is eclectic enough to give you the best of different things, yet personal enough to you that it still delivers everything you are looking for, whether escapism, knowledge, fun, truth or a combination thereof.
How eclectic is your reading taste? Tell us in the comments below.