Fantasy provides the escapism I crave from a book (or movie, for that matter). I do enjoy the odd YA contemporary on occasion, in particular those that explore mental illness, such as All the Bright Places. However, I’d like to expand the variety of my reading further than this.
There’s two genres in particular that I want to read more of: the classics and literary fiction. If there’s a particular book to blame for this then it’s Emma Brown, Clare Boylan’s continuation of Charlotte Bronte’s last manuscript.
The beautiful language is a major appeal of both the literary and classic fiction genres, but it can also be a setback. I remember pulling faces at the first few pages of Frankenstein. On a separate occasion, I glanced through Inferno and was instantly bored. Macbeth had a similar effect.
I think part of the problem was that I plucked these books off the shelves for all the wrong reasons. Unless it’s some form of required reading, one should pick books to read based on what sounds good. Curiosity alone can draw you into the pages, but it can’t always keep you there.
I’ve loved Hamlet and The Tempest well enough to want to delve deeper into Shakespeare’s work. Praise for Jane Austen has intrigued me to look past my apathy towards the many cinematic adaptions of Pride and Prejudice and add Emma to my TBR. Although I don’t recall hearing anything about Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly, the blurb and second-hand book prices had me gathering it into my greedy arms without a second thought. Jane Eyre was recommended to me via Instagram. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard good things about it so I think it’s time I read that too.
I have a secondary goal for literary fiction, in that I plan to include as much diversity as possible. The list thus far includes books by Han Kang, Chinua Achebe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Khaled Hosseini. Haruki Murakami is also floating around, but I haven’t prioritised Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage yet.
But piling books onto the TBR is not the same as actually reading them. Wanting is not synonymous with doing. I’ve tried to keep my reading goals realistic, but I’m a mood reader so I anticipate delays. This then, is where the true challenge begins, getting those books from the pile and into my head.