Reading the books we know we love and enjoy is always a tempting prospect. Why not cuddle up under the covers with another YA or with the latest release from our favorite author? Anticipating the requisite happy ending or the sweet romance or the amazing world building we associate with certain books is a comfortable feeling, especially after a long day. Still, there are plenty of benefits to trying out books we might not otherwise read.
Always Have Something to Talk About
Finding common ground to talk about in a social situation can be nerve-wracking. The more you have read, however, the more opportunities you have to connect with someone over a shared interest, Or you may simply have a great icebreaker in the form of some weird little-known fact. Reading widely, and reading both fiction and nonfiction, can help you enter any conversation.
Present Yourself as Knowledgeable
The wider your reading habits, the more knowledge you have at your disposal when trying to make a point or persuade another person. You may have strong views about a subject, but unless you are familiar with the field or have some facts to back yourself up, it’s difficult to engage with another person and have them seriously consider your argument.
Find New Books to Enjoy
Limiting yourself to one genre or age range may accidentally prevent you from discovering other books you might love. It’s great if YA fantasy is your thing. But why not pick up a MG fantasy one day or an adult mystery? You might be surprised at what you find.
Find New Perspectives
Contemporary YA or Toni Morrison may not be your thing. But when you rule out a certain genre or author automatically, you rule our their perspectives. Reading contemporary YA might introduce you to some issues that other genres are less likely to cover, such as the effects of divorce, the effects of drugs, gang violence, gender issues, etc. Unless you deliberately go outside your comfort zone to find other perspectives, you may inadvertently finding yourself gravitating towards the books that most closely mirror your own beliefs and experiences.
Improve Your Writing
Reading widely both introduces you to a variety of writing styles and strategies, and gives you more material to draw upon in your own work. Reading nonfiction may be particularly useful for you if you need to support your argument with facts or situate your work in a larger context to demonstrate its importance. Reading nonfiction will also give you plenty of material to allude to, to demonstrate to your readers that you have done your research and have authority.