Do You Read More than One Genre?

Reading different genres

Do you read primarily one main genre? Or do you read several?

My favorite is contemporary Christian fiction along the lines of the Mitford series by Jan Karon. I love to hear about everyday people, their encounters with problems and neighbors and loved ones, and how God works in and through them. I have learned from and been deeply affected by Christian fiction..

But I also read a lot of historical fiction and a fair amount of suspense. I am not a big fan of romance. Most fiction has a love story, but I like books that have more to them than that. I don’t care for westerns or Amish fiction, but I have read some of each. I enjoyed some fantasy or speculative fiction. I wouldn’t read horror or erotica.

I love biographies and memoirs. Some biographies have had a profound influence on my life.

I read a lot of Christian nonfiction and enjoy it, but I have to make myself start and keep going with most of it. I gravitate more to stories.

I also like many classics. Someone once said “A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” Classics still speak to us today even though writing styles and society customs have changed.

I read a little from non-Christian sources. Unfortunately, much secular fiction has a lot of language, sexuality, or gratuitous violence problems, which I don’t want to read. And you have to keep on guard against wrong philosophies. But some of it is still beneficial.

One reason I ask is just because I am interested. I love to talk books and reading interests.

But I am also curious. I’ve heard and read that authors should write primarily one genre so readers know what to expect from them. If they write in another genre, they’re told they’ll need to search for another audience. Some go so far to say that authors should use pen names if they write in two different genres.

That makes sense. If a writer is known for Amish fiction, it would be jarring to her readers to get that author’s latest work and discover it’s a gruesome murder mystery.

On the other hand, I have followed authors over to a different genre from what I have read from them before. In fact, I am more likely to try a different genre if an author I like has written in it, if only to see how they handle it. I wouldn’t want a favorite author to use a pen name for a different genre, unless they make it known that they’re doing so, because that makes it harder for fans to follow their work.

So I can see the wisdom of not disappointing readers who come to expect a certain kind of story from an author. And it’s probably wise for those just getting started to stay with one genre until they get established.

But I think sometimes a genre crossover can work.

What do you think? Would you follow an author from one genre to another? And what’s your favorite genre? Do you read more than one?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Hearth and Soul, Senior Salon,
InstaEncouragements, Booknificent)

15 thoughts on “Do You Read More than One Genre?

  1. Hello – yes I read all different kinds of books – put like you, I stay away from gruesome horror tales and erotica. In a normal year, my reading will tend to be 65% – 75% non-fiction and the rest fiction. I read all kinds of non-fiction, but mostly psychology, self-help, religious-Christian. This last year, I also read some political non-fiction. I’m like you, I do enjoy hearing about what other people like to read. I select many of my books based on recommendations from people I trust.

  2. I too read from various genres, Barbara. And like you I also love the Mitford series! Another favorite author of mins (although I don’t know if she has any recent works) is Janette Oke. Books are always a great adventure!

  3. Barbara, good morning! I love memoirs and really good fiction. I love fictional series like Jan Karon’s that are soothing to the senses, especially in this season. Historical fiction is superb, too. I can’t wait til our library doors open again!

  4. Interesting topic! I tend to alternate reading fiction and non-fiction. I love non-fiction; I think a lot of it is that as a former teacher, I just love learning. I read some Christian fiction, but I find a lot of it pretty “meh” and that makes me really sad honestly. For me, reading is more about the book before me than the author, although there are a few authors I read multiple things by.

  5. This is an interesting question and I’ve had to think about it a bit. I can’t say that I have a favorite genre although I gravitate to Christian ones with people I can identify with and if it is a series, all the better. I tend to find my favorites by accident and usually by recommendation of author rather than genre. One of my favorite authors – Miss Read (Dora Saint) wrote about a small country village in the Cotswolds and she is how I found Jan Karon – perhaps my favorite author. I enjoyed the Hercule Poirot mysteries on TV which led me to Agatha Christie’s Hercule and Miss Marple. I also remember watchng “All Creatures Great and Small” on public television with my husband which caused me to stumble onto Alf Wight (James Herriot). I do read non-fiction but it has to be for a certain thing. I enjoy some classics as well.

  6. Yes! Although mystery/suspense is my favorite — I like the puzzle — I enjoy many genres. My best of the best lists often feature historical fiction though. I think the authors I choose are good at taking a point in the past and making it relevant to modern readers. Really, any good story, regardless of genre, interests me.

  7. I read a variety of genres. I’m not sure how to categorize it, but one of my favorite genres is behavioral economics with a dose of psychology and sociology. 🙂 I appreciate Christian nonfiction but I like for it to have something new to add to the conversation. Personal stories of faith are always helpful!

    I haven’t read many classics the past couple of years. I usually am glad I read them by the time I finish, but they can feel laborious to me along the way. I like to read fiction in general, but I want it to be worth my time and either be very engrossing and/or meaningful.

  8. I mostly read non-fiction about the Holocaust and biographies/autobiographies of survivors, the US’s horrific history of slavery, and the harsh treatment of Native Americans. Yeah, I know these are some hard subjects, but I am fascinated by history. I read Christian books that help me to grow in the Lord and Bible studies. I also read historical fiction when I read fiction unless it is the Mitford series.

  9. I read loads of Christian nonfiction,but there was a time when I read strictly fiction, biography, and memoir. My goal is to read more “old books” this year. I think we need variety, and would even argue that it’s important to read authors I disagree with from time to time.

  10. I love your thoughts here, Barbara. I love Christian fiction, and I read across many genres. I like contemporary fiction, some women’s fiction, some romance if it’s a story with depth. I enjoy historical, suspense, and some YA. I also enjoy some nonfiction, but I actually find that easier to listen to than to read in hard copy. Like you, if there is an author I enjoy who writes in a different genre under a pen name, I like checking out how they handle that genre.

  11. I definitely read more than one genre! I enjoy christian fiction, nonfiction, theology and biographies. I usually find myself in the middle of two or three books at one time 🙂

  12. What an interesting question! These days I usually read whatever I can get my hands on – as long as it’s contemporary and a bit romance, modern woman looking for a husband kind of thing. In the past I read a lot of different genres, but now I’ve kind of narrowed it down because I don’t have a lot of time for reading and the modern ‘chick lit’ is easy to come by. I think my favourite genre would be autobiographies, and it’s been a long long time since I’ve read one. If I could recommend my two favourites, they would be from the French actor Gerard Depardieu, and the American actor, Sidney Poitier.

  13. Pingback: February Reflections | Stray Thoughts

  14. As a children’s book author and historian, I naturally gravitate to reading those two genres. But I love reading biographies, thrillers, and mysteries as well.

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