Diversifying my reading life would mean picking out books to read that deviate from my normal selection. Usually, for me, this has to do with genre. I am a fan of realistic fiction, so I tend to stick near realistic fiction. I know I shouldn’t; I should expand my horizons, follow the path less traveled, etc., etc. But I’m the kind of lady who knows what she is going to order at a restaurant even before getting a look at the menu. Even if I’ve never been to the restaurant before, I will order what I consider to be a very ‘safe’ dish.
Honestly, I am absolutely fine with this. I shouldn’t be, I know. Complacency is the enemy, if you don’t try it how will you know that you don’t like it, ya ya … I know. But here’s the thing: I have tried other genres and it’s very seldom that I find a gem I like. And my philosophy is, if I don’t like it, why waste my time reading it? There are so many obligations in life that you don’t at all want to do but have to, why make reading that way? I won’t preach that message to my students, but I will be able to understand when they say a book is not their cup of tea. (If they don’t want to read it, however, it will fall under the ‘obligations in life that you don’t at all want to do but have to’ category. Hopefully I’ll be able to provide more free reading type reading to my students than ‘you MUST read this book or FAIL!’ type reading :))
My goal should be to get over my somewhat predetermined (perhaps mistaken) opinion that most literary genres are not for me and at least attempt to expand my reading life to different genres. (But in my defense, realistic fiction is a pretty broad genre in and of itself, so technically I am somewhat of a diverse reader.) So… next week I will pick out a book outside of my comfort zone to read. Maybe if I actually do enjoy it then I’ll do it again the next week. We’ll just have to see.
A diverse reading life would look like this: stacks of fantasy, biography/autobiography, horror, mystery, etc. books as well as poetry books, plays, graphic novels, etc. I think that students having diverse reading lives is super important so they don’t end up like me (hehe :)) A diverse reading life truly does open your world, though. Even though I many not enjoy it when I read something outside of my comfort zone, I do learn from it. I remember in elementary school one of my teachers had a reading chart (kind of like the book bingo we have in adolescent literature) and if you read a book in each genre you would get a treat — a stick of gum, a fruit snack pouch, an extra handful of goldfish at snack time. I think this actually could work at any level, the prize would just be a little different. Like at the high school level it could be a candy bar or a pop (or some other healthy alternative. I’ll have to give more thought as to what that could be.)
Despite my personal interest in reading what I want to read and ONLY that, I do realize the knowledge and enjoyment I am probably missing out on because of not diversifying my reading life. So, let the diversification begin!