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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

“The Genres that Scare Me”: A Report and Reading Plan by John the Librarian

Earlier this month, I had this Call to Action post where I was challenging all of you to really think about the genres you enjoy the least and make a plan to learn more about them.  Again details here if you need a refresher.

I had a lot of positive feedback from this post with many library workers contacting me, asking for help, and sharing some of their informal plans, but John the Librarian, a blogger and a Digital Librarian for the Digital Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, took it one step further.  He wrote this blog post entitled, The Genres that Scare Me where he took inspiration from myself and a Book Riot post by colleague Molly Wetta, assessed his reading, made a plan of action and then shared it for the benefit of all.

I asked John for his permission to share this post with all of my readers because I truly hope it inspires others to take my Call to Action seriously. As you can see in his post, once he took the time to reflect on his own reading and identified what genres he needed to know more about, figuring out what to read was easy.

I have included the opening of John’s post below, but it is simply the recap. Click through to see how he analyzed his own reading and how he plans to attack those genres he is frightened of. 

Thank you John. And good luck. Let us all know how the reading went and if you were able to conquer your fears.


The Genres that Scare Me

I spend a fair amount of time talking about the importance of diversity in our stories and reading culture. I fully support the #WeNeedDiverseBooksmovement. I’ve made a commitment to increase the diversity of my own reading, both in terms of authors and characters.
I read two posts over the past couple of weeks which spin the idea of diverse reading in a slightly different direction:
I Can’t Even with Librarians Who Don’t Read Diversely by Molly Wetta (posted on Bookriot, August 12, 2016)
Call to Action: Get Out There and Read Something You Are “Afraid” Of by Becky Spratford (posted on RA for All, August 22, 2016)
Normally, we talk about diverse books in terms of the ethnicity and cultures of characters, authors, and story traditions. What speaks to me about the two articles linked above is the call to increase the diversity of the genres I read. The call to “read outside [my] own taste and interest” (from Bookriot), to read things I dislike or that scare me to try (as per the RA for All post).
I considered my lifetime reading history, looked through the books on my shelves at home, reviewed my Goodreads account, etc., and discovered something that makes me proud:
My reading is already very diverse. There’s very little out there that doesn’t interest me enough for me to have spent time looking into it, both fiction and nonfiction.
Nonetheless, I identified four fiction genres that I rarely, or never, read:
  • Romance
  • Urban Fiction
  • Inspirational / Christian / Faith Fiction (for Pete’s sake, I don’t even know what the preferred nomenclature is for this one!)
  • Westerns (I’ve read True Grit by Charles Portis, a title or two by Joe Lansdale, and The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt)

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