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Are you a generalist as a reader? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Are you a generalist as a reader?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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Brien Sz
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Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby Brien Sz » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:05 am

Just curious about folks reading styles. I consider myself something of a generalist as a reader. I cycle through genres because if I read, say, three or four thrillers in a row, they begin to seem the same. So what I tend to do is read a couple thrillers, read a horror or two, move to a biography or two, then onto fantasy, then over to something dealing with the study of early Christian history, then maybe a mystery or adventure before coming back to a thriller. Are others like this or do you stick within a particular genre or two?

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shadowwalker
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby shadowwalker » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:48 am

Pretty much a generalist - there are a couple genres I steer clear of just because I've never been that interested in them, but will occasionally dip my toes in.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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pls
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby pls » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:06 am

Definitely a generalist. I tend to go for the classic authors (like Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner), but I will read anything except perhaps romance and erotica (which is pretty boring stuff). And I'm not so stuck-up as some here to not read self-published works, some of which are quite good.
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shadowwalker
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby shadowwalker » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:52 pm

Well, SP isn't exactly a genre. ;) That said, and not meaning to derail, I have read SPs, but only on recommendations from friends or if it's an author who has already been trade published. I just don't have time to wade through a slush pile, and without a trade publisher involved, that's what we're faced with re: self-pubbed. That's not a blanket condemnation of SPs - just a sad fact of life.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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pls
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby pls » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:26 pm

I get a daily list of novels, not all self-published, from Book Bub and for the Kindle, and I choose from this list. Some are better than others, of course, but I have no idea which are self-published.
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Quoyle
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby Quoyle » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:04 pm

Always a generalist. I'm in a library book club and our monthly read includes historical and contemporary fiction, nonfiction and memoirs. We read them all, even when we don’t like them. Some we choose ourselves, but others are brought in for us by our library. Often they are titles we would never have chosen ourselves, maybe never even knew existed, written by authors we have never heard of, but books that almost always have an interesting twist, a fresh point of view, or a look at people, their multicultural differences, famous and ordinary, working through the joys, sorrows and complexities of their lives; books that might be considered controversial and provide a forum for lively discussion. I also have my favourite authors (I have read 30+ books by Alexander McCall Smith), and read random picks from bookshops and libraries.

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DrG2
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby DrG2 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:33 am

I read very little narrative nonfiction (0-5%).
I read some other nonfiction, mostly as research. (5-10%)
I read very few romances, thrillers, mysteries, though I have read several Nicholas Sparks novels and I used to like mysteries when I was younger. I'd like to read more, to see if I can figure out how to maintain suspense. (3-8%)
I read a bit of Science Fiction. (5-8%)
I read a fair bit of Fantasy. (15-20%)
I read a bit of humor. (5-10%)
I read a fair bit of general fiction mostly tending toward the literary end. (30-65%)

I read short stories and novels.

percentages all guesses. I read 75-100 books/year.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:06 pm

I don't read as much as I did when I was young, but I still average a hundred and four novels per year. I read almost every genre. I suspect I've read as many classics as anyone, but I also read westerns, SF, fantasy, mystery, horror, romance, and literary fiction. Every genre has good fiction, and even great fiction, and every genre has poor fiction.

With nonfiction, I primarily read autobiographies of writers, and of historical figures I admire. But I also read a lot of science books. Third, but still plentiful, I read books about weapons, and books about war.

I also read newspapers, magazines, short stories, poems, essays, and soup can labels, if nothing else is available.

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Loren Killdeer
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby Loren Killdeer » Sat May 14, 2016 8:33 am

I think everyone is a generalist. You can't just read a genre or two! You are going to love them all!

Anyway, there are some genres I do find more interesting, like fantasy, humor, science fiction. I like thrillers, and policials, and I'm not used to terror books (but I had read them). The only genre I usually dislike with exceptions its romance. I usually can't emphatice with it.

What do you read?
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Re: Are you a generalist as a reader?

Postby drewavera » Sun May 15, 2016 1:24 am

I like to read science fiction and biographies mostly, but I've been known the thumb through some pages of a thriller from time to time.

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