Why Writers & Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List

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Why Writers & Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List

I’m a believer in diversifying your reading list because it flexes both your writing muscle and your ability to identify good plot. Strong characters come in all genres, and impactful page-turners are genderless with regards to the author.

Lately, I’ve been finding myself more engrossed with first-person narratives because I like to experience the action first hand. This is especially true with detective-murder thrillers. Though, today I purchased “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish novel translated to English and written in 3rd person. I love peculiar characters, as this novel is a bit of an off-beat comedy and character-driven novel. Dramedy’s where drama and comedy come together holds an extra special place in this reader’s heart.

Speaking of love…

Once a romance genre fan in my younger years, I’m surprised to be completely uninterested in my current years. Maybe with age comes wisdom, or perhaps with age we grow cynical, rolling our eyes at the hot and heavy scenes.

Regardless of the reason, I haven’t read a decent romance fiction in a good while. However, my new personal romance is with suspense, thrillers in mostly the adult contemporary fiction category.

Again, my special love is for adult contemporary, off-beat dramedy where a bit of mental illness combines beautifully with peculiar life humor, finally sprinkled with a little family dysfunction. Such is the case with my favorite two books that do this beautifully, “The Silver Lining Playbook” by Matthew Quick and “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper.

I haven’t updated my reading list since April, so I thought I’d share what I’ve read since then.

  1. James Patterson, “The Quickie”

Genre: Crime Fiction

I’ve grown quite fond of James Patterson. While I know he’s a seasoned writer, and this is not a new novel, I’m a new Patterson fan. I am late to dive into his books and find them addicting.

  1. Stephen King, “Mr. Mercedes”

Genre: Crime Fiction

I tried getting into Stephen King when I was younger and couldn’t connect with his work. “Mr. Mercedes” is the first King book I connected with and the first book of the Bill Hodges trilogy. I haven’t read the other books in this trilogy, but I plan to.

  1. B.A. Paris, “Behind Closed Doors”

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Similar to “Gone Girl” and “Girl on a Train,” Paris is the latest hot writer to break out of the UK with “Behind Closed Doors,” her debut novel. This was definitely a page-turner. I devoured this book and loved it so much I read her second book as soon as it hit the shelves.

  1. B.A. Paris, “The Break Down”

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Another sensational read that reminds me a little bit of the old 1944 movie “Gaslight.” Paris seems to have a thread in her books regarding relationships that aren’t things aren’t what they seem. People aren’t who you think you are and the reader is left on the edge of their seat.

  1. Megan Miranda, “All The Missing Girls”

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Miranda is a YA author, and this is her first adult fiction. I haven’t read her YA books. Overall, this was another fantastic book that reminds suspense lovers why we love suspense in the first place.

Although I enjoyed this book, I grew a little annoyed with the reverse chronology of it.

  1. Spencer Quinn, “Dog On It”

Genre: Humor, Mystery

One of the smartest narrative voices written from a dog’s perspective. It’s absolutely brilliant, regardless of the fact that the actual mystery component is slightly weak. The strength is in the uniqueness in forming such a believable and strong character and insight from the dog’s point of view. I have 2 dogs, and as a dog lover, not to mention a mystery and suspense lover, this book married the two beautifully. Quinn knows how to tell a mystery story in a light-hearted, humorous way.

  1. Jeffery Deaver, “The October List”

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

As much as I like Deaver, this book is similar to Megan Miranda’s “All The Missing Girls” in that it is told in reverse order. For some reason, this annoyed me yet again. I found myself skimming through the book in a rush to get to the end. I equally disliked the drawings in the book and didn’t think it was necessary.

  1. David Baldacci, “The Fix”

Genre: Suspense, Thriller

A very well plotted novel with details that make you realize the amount of research the author put into it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel. Again, I am fairly new to thrillers. It’s not like I’ve read the genre all my life. I’ve read a variety of genres, thriller, suspense and crime fiction are my latest fix.

  1. Iris Johansen, “The Perfect Witness”

Genre: Suspense, Paranormal

I thought I would enjoy this novel and then got disinterested midway through. I’ve never done this before, but I literally stopped reading to pick up something else. I just can’t seem to get into it. I also saw some negative reviews on Good Reads where people stopped reading. I thought I was the only one and was surprised to read reviews, that other people couldn’t finish the novel and put it down, too. Echoing one of the reviewers, it totally reads like a book meant for 5th graders. The plot is confusing, and the weird psychic paranormal element doesn’t work. That’s just a small part of what felt off.

  1. Claire Douglas, “Local Girl Missing”

Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Douglas reminds me a lot of B.A. Paris, as she’s another UK writer. However, this felt a lot like other books done before like “Gone Girl” and “Girl on a Train.” It also reads like Megan Miranda’s “All The Missing Girls.” For this reason, “Local Girl Missing” feels a little too similar and not original enough. I’m half-way through though and still willing to finish it, so at least that’s a good thing.

While these books are mostly the same genre, they are diverse for me because I wasn’t always into suspense. I’m a recovering romance reader, a die-hard dark-humor, dysfunctional characters lover, and now a newbie suspense addict. I’m also a self-help junkie. In general, it’s good to open your palate up to a diverse array of genres. It’s like traveling or eating new exotic foods, diversity is what makes us all unique, and it’s what makes various authors and different genres so spectacular to discover.

Diversity Image

For more on diversity check out these participating bloggers. (Links will be updated once they are published.)

Barb Caffrey

Ipuna Black

Jothish Joseph

Jane Love

Nicolle K Part 1

Nicolle K Part 2

Sonyo Estavillo

Divyang Shah

Mylene Orillo

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Why Writers & Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List

    Diversity: Kindness, Love, and Respect – Ipuna Black said:
    November 5, 2017 at 7:10 AM

    […] Sonyo Estavillo @ ‘Lil Pick Me Up (“I am here to champion anyone from the successful and confident folks, to those that are clinically depressed.”) Why Writers and Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List […]

    Liked by 1 person

    YellowCable said:
    November 5, 2017 at 7:11 AM

    I also put one of my book (an e-book rather) not even mid way. I think the story has potential but for some reason I was not glued to it. I am still thinking to come back to it some day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      November 5, 2017 at 7:29 AM

      I know what you mean and for me, it’s harder to get into e-books. I have to get used the the electronic pages, as I am still an old-fashioned type that needs the real thing.

      There’s nothing like an actual book in your hands. But, I realize that e-books are the latest thing and may eventually wipe out printed books. For now, I’ll keep my collection of the real thing.

      But, I know what you mean, I try to give every book a chance but sometimes you simply can’t connect with the material.

      Liked by 1 person

    […] Sonyo Estavillo: Why Writers & Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List […]

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    How diverse is diversity? – TheJothishJosephBlog said:
    November 5, 2017 at 8:00 AM

    […] Sonyo Estavillo […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Benn Bell said:
    November 5, 2017 at 11:47 AM

    Interesting post. I also believe in diversity and writing. I enjoyed reading writers from all over the world. Have you had a chance to read anything by Arundhati Roy? Her novel The God of Small Things is quite Sublime.

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      November 5, 2017 at 1:58 PM

      No Benn, I haven’t read Arundhati Roy but I’ll add her to my list and check out “The God of Small Things.” Thanks for the suggestion. Yeah, I love reading different authors from all over as well. I always take away something new and interesting such as how they form dialogue.

      Like

    Ipuna Black said:
    November 5, 2017 at 1:38 PM

    I agree with you. It’s important to read a diverse range of books. It’s also wonderful escaping into another place. Great list here!

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      November 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM

      I enjoy escaping to different world’s also and often prefer it to television. Diversity makes every writer different even writers writing in the same genre.

      Liked by 1 person

    […] Sonyo Estavillo @ ‘Lil Pick Me Up: Why Writers and Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List […]

    Liked by 1 person

    […] Sonyo Estavillo @ ‘Lil Pick Me Up: Why Writers and Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List […]

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    Nicolle said:
    November 5, 2017 at 5:56 PM

    I agree with this great post! While I don’t read a lot of novels nowadays, I do read a lot of different stuff like informational articles and Japanese comics of different genre, and I find it broadens my view for my writing. 😀📚

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      November 5, 2017 at 6:09 PM

      Japan comics is an interesting choice when it comes to reading material. I have never read them before but I have friends that are huge comic books fans. It’s definitely a genre that has a huge following.

      Liked by 1 person

        Nicolle said:
        November 5, 2017 at 6:40 PM

        They certainly are! Not only Japanese comics (manga); Korean manhwa and Chinese manhua (interesting how they sound similar in different languages 😀) are on the rise in popularity too. I like reading them because how diverse they are; they can cover different topics (like first love, struggles of life and even bullying) across different genres (like fantasy, action, romance, slice of life). 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        Sonyo Estavillo responded:
        November 5, 2017 at 7:25 PM

        I think being a former romance addict I could see myself getting into romance Manga, Manhwa or Manhua! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    Jainey said:
    November 6, 2017 at 2:15 AM

    Interesting post, Sonyo. I agree with you. It’s very important for writers to read a diverse range of books. You’ve got a great list here! I’ve read a few on your list and will check out the rest after I finish the 275 books waiting to be read on my Kindle. Don’t blame me.. ha ha. I’ve already gone through about a 100. and I found some gems like:

    Carrots by Colleen Helme (a lady goes to pick up some groceries, gets caught up in a robbery and is shot in the head but doesn’t die. instead, she gets mind-reading abilities)

    The Hold-On Trilogy by Peter Darley (it’s awesome!)

    Empath by Becca J.Campbell (it’s a paranormal novel which also involves a paranormal serial killer targeting ladies. i don’t want to spill too many beans here. But check it out.)

    And many others!

    Like

    How I Found Diversity in Writing – Mylene C. Orillo said:
    November 6, 2017 at 9:06 PM

    […] Sonyo Estavillo: “Why Writers & Readers Should Diversify Their Reading List” […]

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    Holly B / Dressedtoread said:
    November 7, 2017 at 3:52 AM

    Wow…love this post! I also think as a reader it is good to try other genres and grow as a reader. I love mystery thrillers, but I also used to read romance. I am now uninterested, but trying to read a few to see if I can enjoy any of the popular authors. It is nice to have a change of pace!

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      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      November 7, 2017 at 6:53 PM

      If you have any suggestions, let me know which romance novel you enjoy and I’ll try it. I liked your post on B.A. Paris & think we have similar taste. I’m always open to new book suggestions.

      Like

    Mylene Orillo said:
    November 15, 2017 at 9:08 PM

    Wow! Thank you for the book recommendations. Not a fan of suspense and thriller though, but I’m amazed and curious how these authors develop their amazing and best-selling novels. Will try to check one or two of these books .Who knows! I love mysteries tho. These authors could really teach us a lot about writing styles and how they develop their plots. I’m also a romance reader, still am. Hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      December 5, 2017 at 6:30 PM

      If you have a good romance book or a book you’ve read that you like, let me know. I’m always up for a good book.

      Like

    Andrea Lundgren said:
    November 30, 2017 at 3:21 PM

    I think diversifying your reading list can be one of the best things an author can do. It really helps you see your own genre with fresh eyes, and you can pick up a writing trick or two in the process.

    It’s one of the reasons why I really appreciate resources like our Writers Club. It offers free book promotion and brings together authors of all kinds of genres, helping us see what great variety is out there (and helping get word out about our own work, too).
    https://www.patreon.com/AWritersPath

    Like

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