Reading Out Of The Zone

Right around this time, members of RWA are receiving big packets full of dreams–Golden Heart and RITA entries. The Golden Heart is RWA’s national contest for unpublished manuscripts, while the RITA is for published books.

I got my ginormous (eight books!) box of books this week, and I have a lot of reading to do. What I like best about judging the RITA is the chance to get exposed to books I don’t tend to pick up; yes, they’re all romance, but this box includes a bunch of category romances, which I don’t normally read. I pride myself on keeping a good perspective on the books, even if they’re not my usual cup of tea, so I feel comfortable taking on these genres (all except inspirational; I had one of those last year, and it was very hard for me to gauge. I hope I did a good job with it).

Reading out of your comfort zone can be liberating and exciting; maybe you’ll find an author you absolutely adore, or a trope you just can’t stand. It can also confirm your reasons for not reading in that genre, but that just means you know more coming out than you did when you started the book.

Do you read entirely within your normal range? Or do you take risks with other genres? If so, what was the last book you broke your own boundaries with?

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12 years ago

I love exploring different genres now, though it’s mostly related to different authors. The most recent was Carla Capshaw. She writes inspirational historical. I usually stick within the Regency period, though I’ve read quite a bit in the medieval time frame as well. I’ve never read a book about Roman times before, but she was a brand new author, and I wanted to give her book, The Gladiator, a try. I loved it!

12 years ago

I’ll read a historical, then a contemporary, just to keep the genres fresh. While I prefer Regencies, I’ll occasionally read a medieval (I adore crumbling castles). I have volunteered to judge for some RWA Chapter contests. I find it stimulating to read outside my comfort zone to provide the feedback necessary for contests.

And yes, it’s fun to receive the box of book/manuscripts for judging!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Megan, like you, my RITA books are the main ones to pull me out of my habitual reading genres. I have a 7 category books, but since my two critique partners write category, I feel I can judge them.

I have one historical and that will be my treat, I think.

In my personal reading, my departure was to read a book about religion, What Jesus Meant. I’m not a religious person, but more of a spiritual one, but I found this book fascinating.

12 years ago

There aren’t many genres I don’t read actually. I was hoping for some categories in my RITA books, but no luck. I always look forward to reading those books.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after

How fun, happy reading to you.
Warm regards and a lovely weekend to you,

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

I tend to read strictly in two genres – historical (primarily Regency) and paranormal.

However, I have a number of friends who write romantic suspense and category so I do read their books.

Some of the latest I’ve read are

Cavelli’s Lost Heir by Lynn Rae Harris


I Can See You by Karen Rose

Jane Austen
12 years ago

As a librarian I feel that I need to read from every genre so I can be well informed and actually help people when they ask me what they should read. So really while I like to read historicals, mysteries, chick lit and everything else I still try to read from other genres too. The one thing that I just can’t read no matter what genre is when authors spell like an accent (like typing the word “thang” instead of “thing” when a book takes place in the south.) If I know where a book takes place I can add my own accent and having to read an updated Captain Wentworth call Anne “Sweet thang” well it makes me vomit a little.

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

I was disappointed not to get any series books this year, too! I just don’t often read one otherwise, and I do enjoy them. But I have 8 books to read now, so much get busy!

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