Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

I know, I know, what does the title "Leaving Your Comfort Zone" really have to do with Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. Not much, for me anyway. Had this book come out when I was a teen, I would have devoured it. The only reason I have yet to read it as an adult is that I passed my first copy along to my sister not knowing how fab it would turn out to be and haven't had a chance to get to my second (purchased) copy just yet.

No, it's actually the first book that came to my mind for this blog because it was very much outside of my third sister's comfort zone. See, there are 5 of us - me (the oldest), my brother (25 this Fri!), Junky 1 (16 this Sept), and the twin junkies (just turned 14 in April).

Junky 1 and twin 1 have been blogged about before. They are the junior junkies. Twin 2 is the inspiration for this blog, though. She reads teen chick-lit. That's all. She loves the Clique series and a few other newbies that I have managed to find for her, but with the exception of Meg Cabot's Jinx, she really won't read anything paranormal. She adamantly refused to read Twilight because it's about vamps. After I read The Host, I made a deal with my sis. If I read Twilight (which I planned on doing that week but ran out of time) she had to read it at the same time. Next thing I know, she's read all three! I knew from Host that even though Meyer uses a paranormal backdrop for her tales, that it would still appeal to my sister in spite of this. All she had to do was take a chance.

She has buying issues as well. She's very timid when shopping because she's afraid of getting something she doesn't like. It happens to us all! I went shopping with her and helped her pick out some books, but I had to ask her, wouldn't she be happier trying something new and disliking it than not buying anything at all?

I think a lot of people have this fear. I saw it a lot as a bookseller - hesitation in browsing, people asking for recs and still walking out empty handed. I understand you don't want to let go of your hard earned money on something you may turn out to hate. Trust me, I know. I've hit a point in my addiction, however, where I have had way more great reads than I have crappy ones, so this has ceased to be an issue for me. There are amazing things out there that you have never read! You all know this, but if you're like my sister, you'll never find them unless you take a chance on something totally new.

When you walk into the bookstore, the first thing you see are displays with bestsellers and popular titles. What about all the shelves behind that, though? How often do you go in and browse totally on your own and pick something out? Big readers do it all the time. We know that there's a ton of stuff out there and it's simply a matter of getting our hands on it. Every spine is a potential new author to go on our annual must buy lists. Lesser readers are intimidated by so much choice. How do they know they'll even like it. It could be a total waste of time. They're somewhat content to stick with their regular authors and wait until that next book comes out.

I say, if you are one of those readers who rarely tries something new, and even if you're always trying something new, head out there and pick out something that you've been curious about but afraid to try. Buy something by someone you have never read before. Find a new author! You may like it, you may hate it, it may be your favorite new book. You never know. Just try something new today.

I would add to this, seek out a debut author. Not one who's getting a lot of print ads, not "The Next Da Vinci Code," something that is generating some quiet buzz. They're out there, great new titles that deserve the attention but just haven't gotten it yet. Indiebound's Indie Next List (the new Booksense) is a great place to find new stuff. It's a monthly list generated by independent booksellers with titles that they vote as the best new books for that month. Later this week, I'll try to put together a list of debuts that I have read in the past year that may be out in PB now.

I had two other inspiration for this blog. One comes from today's Murderati post by Tess Gerritsen about the fate of the thriller genre. The other was the acknowledgements page in the book the I am currently reading, Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead, by Saralee Rosenberg. I'll save her for tomorrow's blog, though.

Hope I haven't tread too far from my topic here. My point is, try something new, you just might like it. Think you hate romance? Try one. Don't like paranormals, but you do like mystery? You'd be surprised what's out there now. Afraid of literary books or pink covered chick-lit? Don't be! There's so much out there to choose from and a lot of it is surprisingly good.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I have really started trying to read other types of books and have found most I liked, except for the twlight series. I could not get into them.