Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Words: Trying Something New

To anyone who has been reading this blog or simply looks at the tag cloud in the sidebar, one thing about my reading habits is extremely obvious: I LOVE YA. I'm not embarrassed at all by this fact that at 23 years old, I get an incredible amount of joy from reading books primarily aimed at 14-18 year olds. In my defense, as if I need to provide one, I didn't start reading these books until a graduate school course on it this past spring, but now that I've tried it I don't think I could ever give it up.

That being said, I've been afraid lately that I've become too comfortable just sticking to YA lit with my reading tastes. Don't get me wrong, it's fabulous the way that YA can cross genres and still discuss really intelligent issues, but I am 23 years old and I do have an English degree and lately, that itch for wanting something a bit more difficult has been there. Again, this is in no way putting down YA and saying it can't be, but I mean my brain wants a book that I don't always understand what it's saying, that I need to make sure I have access to a dictionary, and that I can't speed through. So this week, I started reading Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. It's nonfiction, it's aimed at baseball enthusiasts (I'm a moderate fan but I'm not obsessed with the game or stats), and I have to take my time.

Honestly, it's been a welcome change. Have I also been reading YA on the side? Yes, but Moneyball is my main read right now. As readers, I think it's important that every now and again, we be willing to look outside of the box every now and again. It's so easy to get comfortable with one series or genre or author and not stray too far from the things we know we like. After all, reading for fun should be enjoyable, not work, right?

Well, yes. And no. People that read are, in my opinion, people who enjoy being stimulated. After all, unlike movies or TV where everything is laid out in front of you, reading requires work. Your imagination has to fill in the gaps, or you have to consider an issue and make a narrator come to life in your head. In that sense, reading is already a challenge, so why not really push ourselves every now and again?

Baseball isn't my favorite sport, hockey is, yet I find myself picking up a book exploring the world of the Boys of Summer every few years. I can watch a game and understand the general gist of what's happening, but I'm not passionate about it. I have a favorite team, but unlike the Chicago Blackhawks, I don't follow the stats of the Cubs. Yet here I am, reading a baseball book. And there are statistics involved, too (math has never exactly been my forte). Yet I can't put it down. I'm so interested in learning about how Billy Beane's mind works and how these other numbers and baseball enthusiasts somehow changed the way the draft is approached. Just because I was willing to try something I wouldn't normally consider.

So what genres do you stick to and which ones are you considering giving a chance? Let me know in the comments below and, as always, happy reading.

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