Books · Discussions

Expanding My Reading Horizons: An Update

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When I started Passports & Paperbacks, I made a commitment to read more widely (you can read all about my goals for 2017 here). This meant delving into genres that I had either never read from before, or that I have sorely neglected over the past few years. When it comes to reading, I know what I like. For a while now, I’ve stuck mostly to historical fiction and classics, with the occasional non-fiction book thrown in for good measure. But starting a blog seemed like the prime opportunity to expand my horizons, and I’m so glad that I took it!

The first genre I decided to focus on in 2017 was dystopian fiction, for which I chose The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451. These books alone have managed to convince me that this is a genre worthy of my attention. It turns out that terrifyingly, plausible stories strike a chord with me. Who knew?  It’s certainly no surprise that this genre has grown in popularity in recent times, and it’s oddly disturbing to drawn comparisons between these alternate realities and the world we live in.

So now I’ve whet my appetite for dystopian fiction, and it got me thinking about the other genres I would like to explore this year. I’d certainly like to read another dystopian novel or two, and I’ve been known to enjoy non-fiction and literary fiction, so it also makes sense to add these to my mental checklist. As for genres that I have read next to nothing of, I’ll be focusing on fantasy and short stories. These are genres that I’ve been meaning to get into for a long time, and I’m determined to make it happen this year. So, I’ve picked out a book from each of my chosen genres with a view to reading them all in the coming months (fingers crossed!).

Dystopian Fiction:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This book is already sat on my shelf and ready to go, and it not only enables me to delve further into the world of dystopia, but also provides an opportunity to read some more Canadian fiction! I’ve been revelling in having access to a whole bunch of new authors since I moved to Canada in 2015, and I have become really taken with the wonderful writers that this great country has produced (Margaret Atwood, anyone?). Station Eleven is internationally acclaimed, and has been highly recommended by friends so I cannot wait to give it a read.

Non-Fiction:

Dear Iljeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The little that I know about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is derived from rave reviews of two of her previous books (Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists), and her kick-ass TED talk, but this was all that I needed to convince me that she is a rather remarkable woman. Her latest book is a series of letters addressed to her friend Iljeawele, containing advice on how to raise her daughter as a feminist. Need I say more? I urgently need to read this, and binge through the rest of Chimamanda’s work while I’m at it.

Literary Fiction:

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

There was a ton of buzz surrounding this book last year. In fact, I’m fairly sure I’ve never heard so much praise for one book, so I am curious to find out if it’s worthy of the hype. It tells the story of a stay-at-home dad and is centred on an event in which his 15-year-old daughter collapses at school and stops breathing. I know little else about the book beyond this basic premise, and I’m happy to be going in blind. I’m hoping that this book will prove to be something of a revelation. Perhaps I’ll be raving about it on this blog before too long!

Fantasy:

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

This will be the second in Schwab’s ‘Monsters of Verity’ series and is set for release in June. I have already pre-ordered it, so it made sense to add it to this list! I read the first instalment, This Savage Song, last year and became immersed in this paranormal reality and the characters that inhabit it. It was refreshing to read a story in which the two main characters, male and female, have no romantic attachment, whatsoever! That may well change in Our Dark Duet, but rest assured this addictive series has convinced me that it’s about time I gave fantasy a real chance.

Short Story Collection:

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

Not only is Jen Campbell a brilliant author, she also has a YouTube channel in which she talks about all things bookish. If you’re in search of some seriously great reading recommendations, you’re going to want to become familiar with her! This short story collection will be Jen’s first, and won’t be released until November, so I am eager to make it one of my end-of-year reads. It has been described as “a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.” What could possibly be more intriguing?!

Are there specific genres that you would like to read more of in 2017? Do you have any recommendations from any of the genres that I have mentioned?

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3 thoughts on “Expanding My Reading Horizons: An Update

  1. If you want to read a really crazy dystopian SF novel check out Suzy McKee Charnas’ Walk to the End of the World (1974) — it’s interesting reading it in dialogue with The Handmaid’s Tale which was written a decade later….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you love Station Eleven as much as I did! It was truly an amazing book! 🙂
    And I’ll definitely have to read Our Dark Duet when that comes out. I liked This Savage Song, but didn’t love it, but every time that’s happened recently with a series, I’ve ended up loving the second book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This Savage Song was sort of my first foray into fantasy, so I am hoping that I’ll be able to discover even better stuff from that genre – I’ll certainly be scouring your blog for recommendations! I’ve also decided to make Station Eleven my next read, I just can’t wait any longer!

      Like

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