What was I saying...oh yes, read things you don’t normally read. If all you ever read is the same genre, you’re missing out on gems in other genres. I’m not saying you have to abandon your favourite genre and start reading something completely different. I’m just talking about say, every third book, or something like that.
And why is this so important?
Well, I am testament to this being successful. I do like a good book which makes me cry – see books which have made me cry post. That is essentially still in my usual genre. The second book which made me cry, Gypsy Boy, by Mikey Walsh, is also in the same genre it’s an autobiography (not a celeb one, I’ll grant you, but still autobiographical.)
I was hankering for something a bit different, so I grabbed Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones from my TBR pile. I’ve seen the film, so I knew what to expect. I couldn’t sleep one night last week and thought, I’ll just read a few pages to help me nod off. I finally turned the light off four chapters in. And I finished it after a week yesterday. Me finishing a book in a week, is pretty impressive. I don’t have much of a commute, and generally will prioritise writing over reading. But The Lovely Bones, just kept me gripped.
The language used is beautiful. The concept, although it seems pretty gruesome, is handled positively. The book deals with Suzie Salmon as she watches from her heaven as her friends and family deal with her death. It could have been executed so badly, despite the idea being great, fortunately it’s not awkward, or clunky, you easily slip between her watching down from her heaven, and flashbacks while she was alive.
The concept which I really found very moving, and interesting was about how a person’s death affects those left living. ‘As I watched my family sip champagne, I thought about how their lives trailed backward and forward from my death...’ This is where the book’s title comes from: ‘These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections – sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent – that happened after I was gone...The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future.’
Anyone who’s ever lost a member of their family will understand this, and a book which explains that concept – even if it doesn’t have a happily ever after, or some celeb gossip, was definitely worth leaving my standard genres to experience. I will keep my eyes open for other Sebold books in the future.
Have you ever gone off piste to a different genre and liked it? perhaps you went off piste and hated it. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time