As a weed, the common dandelion – Taraxacum officinale – is the bane of most gardeners’ existence. We yank it out, dig it up, spray it, and grumble. But still it persists. The cheery yellow flower is pretty, but its puffball of flyaway fruit allows seed to be transported on the wind, and it multiplies in places where it isn’t wanted, because, after all, it’s an ordinary weed.
The regal and fragrant lily, on the other hand – Lilium longiflorum – with its creamy white trumpet-shaped flowers, has become a symbol of Easter and graces many churches at this special season. As flowers go, it’s decidedly extraordinary.
But the thing is… both flowers are beautiful, aren’t they? Just in different ways and for different reasons.
That’s also true of fiction. I read in different genres, but I wouldn’t normally choose to read science fiction or paranormal novels, for instance, even if they’re acclaimed as best sellers. I know from their reputations many of them are as well written as any of my usual choices, but what I pick up from libraries and bookstores is determined by my personal preferences.
As a young girl I started reading The Bobbsey Twins series, and later it was Albert Payson Terhune’s dog stories. Through passing years I’ve gone on kicks of reading a favourite author or a favourite theme, reading everything available before moving on to another. I’m still a little like that today. I’m passionate about some authors and topics, and will read those books to the exclusion of all else.
I realize I miss a lot of good books that way, but there’s a limit to the amount of time I have for pleasure reading. My TBR* pile keeps getting taller and when I have to make choices, I reach for what I know from experience will be a guaranteed good read. I choose what for me will be an extraordinary reading experience, rather than risk an ordinary one.
Excluding books on the craft of writing or what you read for research, what genres do you read for pleasure? Do you read in multiple genres? What governs your reading choices? Do you think by limiting the choice of genres a reader is being deprived of a valuable reading experience? I’d love to hear your opinion.
(* to be read)
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