A new year just turned and with it came troves of book lists telling us all about the most best and/or most popular reads of 2015.
Gaggles of readers are now catching up with what the previous year’s “books that people read.”
‘Washington Post’s Top 10 Best Books of 2015’
NPR’s Best Books of 2015
Amazon’s ‘The Best Books of 2015’
New York Times’ ‘The Ten Best Books of 2015’
Barnes and Noble, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian… and the lists go on.
Having a literary canon is all well and good.
There is comfort in reading a popular book knowing that there is a greater chance of being able to discuss that book with fellow fans. For such a solitary act, reading is fast evolving into a communal experience. Social media has seen to that.
And so many of us read the popular books and share our opinions. We key in on “hot authors” and the “it” books of our respective genre’s. Each genre becomes a sort of silo within which like-minded communities are built and nurtured.
But variety is nice, is it not?
Carrots are healthy for you, but can you eat carrots for every meal, every day?
Your mind deserves every bit the nutrition and variety that your stomach craves.
If you read Sci-fi then read biography.
If you read biographies then read fantasy.
If you read fantasy read classic literature.
If you read classic literature then read travel.
If you read travel books then read horror.
If you read horror then read romance.
If you read romance then read Sci-fi.
(I apologize for all the genres / sub-genres left out, but you get the point.)
Perhaps the greatest challenge is to read more indie authors.
Reading ought to be treated more like listening to music.
How many of us browse Spotify, Pandora, Youtube, and any other multimedia outlets on the net? How many of us look for something special and new?
Is it not satisfying to uncover that track with under 1,000 listens and yet repeating it a multitude of times? Better yet is the feeling of sharing a new music artist with friends. We kind of take ownership of our favorite artists, in a way.
The world of books should be treated the same way. By all means read the most popular, the hot topic, the famous author. But every so often pick up something new — something that just might change the game. If you find a new author start by reading something short — a test drive, see how it feels.
Let’s read different stuff. Let’s find more of the best books and share them with friends.