Don't Judge a Book by its Cover... or its Genre
When it comes to reading habits, most people wind up in some of form of niche. Whether that's classic literature, mysteries, thrillers, legal dramas, biographies, romance, fantasy... the possibilities are virtually endless. If you can imagine it, chances are someone has written in that niche. If not, you should probably get writing stat.
That's not to say that there isn't a wide variety within each niche. you can find romantic urban crime drama fantasies, mysterious legal thrillers, historical fiction romance with a side of science-fiction (looking at you, Outlander) and so many more I couldn't hope to list them all. The crossover potential is virtually endless.
My point is that we tend to find at least one keyword that we stick with. Yeah, readers might drift and read the occasional history, or maybe that new book announced on that long-list, or even that book that Beth at work recommended. After? We tend to drift back into our preferred niche.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Often there is something particular about that niche that speaks to you, whether you like the social commentary rampant in sci-fi fantasy, or you just like aliens, or you enjoy learning about different time periods but with drama instead of lectures. Good for you, any reading is good reading!
However, sometimes outside forces cause you to widen your horizons. Maybe it's a class, maybe it's something that a previously dismissed author says or does. That's what happened to me.
I hadn't read a book that's main genre could be considered "romance" in literal years. Probably since I was a teen and devoured romantic fantasy and young adult books. Then, I read Suzanne Brockmann's speech to the RWA in July, and I changed my tune. In the span of two weeks I read 6 of her books and purchased more.
At the store we started a "blind date with a book' basket. When I first started wrapping them I agonized over the summaries. It's become easier in time, but a lot of the time? The book doesn't necessarily make it into the bucket. There are times when learning more about these authors and their books just completely sucks me in and oh look. Another book for my to-read pile.
I've purchased Pam Jenoff, Jeffrey Deaver, Jonathan Safran Foer and came perilously close to adding a Jodi Picoult before I realized I should probably read some of what I'd already bought first.
This is a great way to get people reading outside their genre and regular authors. You get the book at a discount, get to read the summary without any judgement or preconceived notions on your part.
It wasn't like I had anything against these particular authors, I just didn't think that they were for me, until I was very much proven wrong by actually reading the synopsis.
The literary world is so vast, be careful not to pigeonhole yourself or you might miss out on something great.