Poll - Simultaneous reads and diversification

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First off, let's return to the last poll. The question I asked was "How many books do you read at the same time?". The answers went like this :

- One - 48%
- Two or three - 30%
- One on paper and one audiobook - 18%
- Every last one of them that falls into my hands - 3%
- Four or five - 0%

I'm actually among the 18% of the respondents who listen to a different book than the one they are physically reading. I thought from what I read on some blogs that more people would be reading simultaneously more than one novel but it seems the majority of readers still want to stay concentrated and immersed into one world. Interesting.


Then, let's head on to my new interrogation. The topic of diversification in reading habits has been discussed on several blogs over the past months. Mark Charan Newton started talking about "Bloggers’ Frontlist Fetish" and asked if us bloggers could read more of the older and less advertised books lying in wait for a time to give them more light. That post and some other related comments lead me to ask the following question : "Should we diversify our reading choice?". There is two "themes" in this query.

First, do I think that I should read more of the older books to bring them back to life? I'm not sure. I already read a couple of them every year (and I think I have a considerable enough background... although when I look at what I haven't read yet, my perspective change), trying to return to some of the roots of the genre, but I will probably always prefer the next big thing (however, not much so in audiobook format). So I could say that I already do it in a minor proportion and even if I can understand Newton's call for more obscure or older books digging in the libraries, I don't think it should be a greater priority for the majority of the bloggers, mostly because it depends on your reasons behind blogging. Mine is to write about books I'm mostly interested in. Anyway, that's simply my opinion and my goal here is purely to ask the reader what they think about this, not only the bloggers.

Second, if your a regular at A Fantasy Reader, you probably know that the majority of the novels I read and review are epic fantasy books. I have read more outside the genre in the past, mostly Sci-Fi and thrillers, but I'm actually in love with fantasy and more precisely epic fantasy. That's simply what I enjoy the most and it's giving me the reading pleasure I'm looking for in literature. The choice is staggeringly huge so I don't really have to go elsewhere and I'm not a reader that needs breaks from the genre.

As for everyone decision of reading outside of the genre or the specific niche within the genre, I think it's everybody's call and not really something that should be forced upon a reader. I would not really vigorously recommend to someone to read more books outside their common taste but I can understand that some people tend to do so and they usually have solid reasoning behind the choice. Aidan form A Dribble of Ink posted his at SF Signal in a text about Genre Diversity. It seems to suit him well and I'm glad for him (interesting post even though I didn't feel challenged).

To close up on the subject, I just wanted to talk about one comment Aidan made on Mark's reiteration of his "plea" that we should write about less "frontlist" titles :
Just wait, though, the next few weeks are going to bring an endless deluge of review for Mockingjay, The Way of Kings and The Black Prism. The blogosphere will look more sycophantic than ever.
Do the blogosphere really look more sycophantic when big guns are released? In some cases yes, but I hope and I think that's not the case in the majority of circumstances. It's normal that those titles get more blog time and if we are looking for more diversity, I think we could simply read more blogs, as with so many of them, a large cluster of novels can get their share of glory.

Having strayed just a bit, let's return to the question (and remember that what I ask is not only for bloggers but for all the readers). Should we diversify our reading choice?

No - stick to the niche we love
Yes - read more older books
Yes - read more outside of usual genre
Yes - both outside genre and older books


Showtyme said...

For the most part I stick to newish releases in the genre I love (like you, epic fantasy), but every now and again when I hear good things about a science fiction series I'll pick it up and give it a shot. Also, when I'm feeling particularly frisky I'll reach into the depths and pick up some older books (Right now I'm reading the Black Company books by Glen Cook). These forays into non-epic fantasy occur maybe once or twice a year.

redhead said...

I'm with you, it depends on the blogger, and their reason for blogging.

I've been reading more "new" stuff than usual lately, but "new" for me means it's less than 5 years old. Now I'm really curious to go through the reviews on my blog (not that many yet) and see how much is new stuff and how much is older.

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