I've been a reading feen these days. Not only am I trying to get through my TBR pile, but I continue to pick up books that interest me. I just finished Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald. The novel was not only a great read, but interesting and informative as well. Yes, there were romantic elements (I maintain that nearly all books have some type of romantic element), but it wasn't what I'd call a romance and I'd label it Women's Fiction.
I find that I am drawn to stories that show me a different take on life. The Kite Runner, Double Bind, and Water for Elephants. All show me something that I'd never gravitate to normally, but that I really find broaden my capabilities as a writer and reader.
How does reading across genres help me as a writer? Many writers receive the advice--read, read, read. Well, how does it serve me as a historical writer to only read historicals? Also, how would I learn about different parts of the world if I wasn't reading Veil of Roses? By learning, reading different voices, and broadening my horizons (so to speak), I am adding to my writing toolbox. And as this toolbox grows, different layers are added my experiences and knowledge, as well as vision as a writer.
Romance is still a mainstay of my bookshelf, but Jan Karon added humor with her slice of life inspirationals, JK Rowling added mystique and wizardry with Harry, and Khaled Hosseini brought empathy and interest with The Kite Runner.
In the end, reading across genres not only brings pieces of the world's puzzle to my side, but into my heart and perhaps influences my writing in the best possible manner.
That's it according to Maddy~