I have mentioned this in a couple blog posts now and thought it deserved a post of its own. Earlier this year I decided to take on the Literary Exploration Challenge. Literary Exploration is a fantastic blog available here and even better group on Goodreads. The goal of the challenge is to get out of one's comfort zone and explore other genres. There are three levels: easy, hard and insane, where participants read books from 12, 24, or 36 genres, respectively. I started with easy challenge but was doing so well I decided to move to the hard challenge.
Here is a list of genres for the hard challenge and my progress so far:
Fantasy - A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
Humor - Earth the Book, from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show
Literary Fiction - Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Mystery - Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James
Non-Fiction - Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga by Benjamin Lorr
Paranormal - Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Pulp (Hard-Boiled or Noir) - Toronto Noir edited by Janine Armin and Nathaniel G. Moore
Romance - A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant
Science Fiction - The Secret Circle by L. J. Smith
Steampunk - The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
Thriller - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Young Adult - Looking for Alaska by John Green
As of this writing I am half way done. Admittedly most of the books I have read so far were books I would have read anyway that just happened to coincide with the genres for the challenge, and thus I haven't traveled far outside of my comfort zone. (On the other hand perhaps this is proof that my comfort zone was pretty wide to begin with.) Steampunk is the exception. Though I had heard of it (and was intrigued by it) until this challenge I had not actually read any steampunk. Now I have and found that I quite like it. It is definitely a genre I plan to read more of.
I anticipate the most difficult genres for me will be horror (a genre I
have actively avoided in the past), philosophical (largely because I'm
not sure what this means yet), and possibly poetry (a genre I have read
before but not often and certainly not lately). I look forward to further adventures in reading. Who knows, maybe I'll even end up liking horror.