Breaking Into Books is an ongoing series I post every other Sunday with tips and advice for new readers. In the first post of the series I shared my five top tips for breaking into books and today I’ll be discussing how to find the perfect genre(s) for you! 📚
Finding the right genre of books is likely to involve experimentation and trial and error, but is essential because taking the time to find the genres that appeal most to you will be key to your reading success and enjoyment. When I speak to people that don’t read one of the most common complaints I hear is that reading is “boring” and my response to that statement is always the same – if you find reading boring, you’re reading the wrong book. When you find your niche with books, reading is fun, exciting and immersive.
Since there are so many genres out there it can be difficult to know where to start. The best place to start is as broadly as possible and ask yourself: what type of TV shows and films do I enjoy watching? This should give you a strong indicator of where to look.
Next ask: what do I want to get from the books I read? We all read for different reasons and have various motivations, so consider what you want to gain. Are there certain topics that are important to you or that you identify closely with?Do you want books to provide a means for entertainment or escapism? Do you want to educate yourself on topics that impact your life and the world around you? Perhaps you want the books you read to provide all of this or none of it. Only you can decide.
Leading on from there you can begin to answer the question: do I want to read fiction or nonfiction or both? Some of you will instantly know that you have a preference for either fiction or nonfiction, but if you want to read both that’s okay, it just means you will have even more variety of books to choose from! Once you’ve decided if you want to start with fiction or nonfiction, it’s time to narrow your options down a little more and look at some of the main genres in nonfiction and fiction.
- Biographies and Autobiographies
Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
My nonfiction recommendations
- Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters (Biography)
- African American Experience in Vietnam: Brothers in Arms by James E. Westheider (History)
- This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (Autobiography/Health)
- Miseducation: Inequality, Education and the Working Classes by Diane Reay (Education/Sociology)
- Eloquent Rage: a Black Feminist Discovers Her Voice by Brittney Cooper (Autobiography/Feminism)
- Graphic novel
- Historical Fiction
- Science Fiction
Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
My fiction recommendations:
- Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy)
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Historical Fiction)
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Classic)
- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Science Fiction)
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Mystery)
Some of these genres will likely jump out at you, so go with your gut. Bear in mind that finding the genre(s) for you can be a long process (I’m still discovering new genres and learning more about my tastes everyday) so be patient, experiment and do your research. You may decide to read one genre exclusively or you may choose to read 10 different genres – whatever you choose is fine, because it’s all about doing what’s fun and works for you.
Finally, there’s lots of great resources online with book recommendations based on genre which are invaluable resources. Goodreads, StoryGraph and What Should I Read Next? are great places to start but the best way to get recommendations is from book bloggers like myself or readers that you know IRL, because in my experience, it always produces the best book picks.
I hope you found these tips helpful! The most important thing when starting with or returning to reading and trying to find the right books, is to remain open-minded, persevere and enjoy the journey. As humans our likes and dislikes, moods and mental states are constantly evolving and generally our book tastes evolve with those changes, so follow your gut and I promise that you will find a book(s) that you love which will transform your reading experiences 😊
Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.