Literary Citizen in Training


New Horizons

I think when I first started my creative writing career, or hobby, I had a wider canvas of topics that I wrote about. As I’ve sped through my classes, my subject matter diversity has almost ceased to exist. I said it in class, but for those of you who don’t know yet, I prefer to write/read horror. On top of that I’d add a supernatural element. I guess it’s okay to narrow your field when it comes to writing, but I definitely need to expand when it comes to reading. I was trying to select books to read on Net Galley, spending a few hours looking over books that seemed interesting to me, but oddly enough, I’ve found it hard to take a blind leap of faith on a book. I typically look at reviews before-hand! A real catch-22 when it comes to selecting a book to review. I ended up selecting a few that best suited my interests such as horror, mystery, and thriller genres, but it left me feeling as if I have narrowed my interests a little too much. I’m sure I could enjoy a story in most genres, as I do with movies, but it ultimately comes down to the books themselves and how they’re written.

A great blog post on a similar subject by Liz Loves Books made a few suggestions on how to expand your preferences. Firstly, it all begins with a small first step. An easy first step is simply listening to the suggestions your friends might make. Try to make it something that is outside of your usually subject preferences. I can’t say that I’ve taken many suggestions from my friends and family, though. The only other avid reader I know in person is my mom, and she prefers to read widely different genres than I do. As much as I’d like to expand my horizons, I don’t think Josh Grisam is going to do it. Liz also made a rather radical suggestion, depending on how you look at it. Next time you find yourself at a local book store, a cheap one preferably, try to pick a random book, outside of your genre or preferred section, and choose something solely on the cover of the book. Interesting advice since most people advise you not to “judge a book by its cover.”

What do you think of these covers? Without any other information, summary, acclaims, awards, or otherwise, would you take a chance on one of them? Liz suggests doing just that. Take a chance. If you hate it, hate it. But what if you love it? It might not be worth the time or the money for some people, but I think it sounds like a fun experiment. I’ve got to admit, I’ve done it a few times before, but I at least read the book’s plot background on the back.

Lesson: attempt to read books you might not typically read! I have a few on my shelf that are far outside my standard choices, but I keep putting them off in favor of the books I’m more inclined to. Once I finally sit down and get a chance to try them out, I’ll tell you all how it went!

On a side note, I was finally approved by Net Galley to review a book. Doing Cathy Day proud! The book, if you’re interested is The Butcher, by Jennifer Hillier.