Monday, January 31, 2011

On Expanding One's Reading Horizons -- Or, I'll Only Read That If You Make Me

I am known for horning my way into book clubs...well, the same book club actually. When I moved to Durango, CO, in 2003, I heard my staff talking about their book club. To make things really awkward, I asked if I could join. How do you tell your new boss "no"? Not my finest moment, but the Mountain Sistahs welcomed me with open arms.

Somewhere along the way I decided I was too busy with work to have outside interests. Can you see the warning sign that I didn't? So, I quit.
After a number of years, I wised up, established better work boundaries, stopped saying yes to every request to volunteer, and carved out time for me. Then last summer, I saw a member of the Sistahs getting her hair done at my stylist's shop. Once again, I "invited" myself back into the group. Actually, I asked Jackie to ask the rest of the group if they'd accept me back.. And they did!

Last Wednesday was book-picking time again! I was so excited...until I realized how much interest there was in non-fiction titles. I wanted fiction! Non-fiction always felt like school-work or an obligation. Fiction transported me to other worlds. Fiction was fun!
Some members sensed my panic and assured me it's usually an even mix. I have to admit that some of the non-fiction picks in the past ended up being some of my favorite books (The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe). The book club forces me (gently) to expand my reading horizons and read books I'd not otherwise buy or check out from the library.

My contribution to the reading list was The Sky is Everywhere, a young adult novel by Jandy Nelson. If my group can agree to read young adult, then I sure as heck can read some non-fiction. you gravitate to fiction or non-fiction?
Have you been pleasantly surprised by a book that was outside your typical reading tastes?

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