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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

A lot of people who read as a hobby have found genres that they enjoy above all else. If the different sections of BookTok are any indication (such as HorrorTok, which is dedicated to all things horror books), some readers have a niche that they absolutely adore. Be it fantasy, romance, classics or science fiction, almost everyone knows someone whose sole genre of books defines most of their reading taste. However, while it can be great to seriously be into one genre, there is also a lot to be said for reading widely across all sorts of genres, even ones you think you might not like. 

My reading taste has developed significantly over the last five years alone. My early high school years, I was reading mostly contemporary YA, dystopian literature, and other books that were highly marketed towards teens. I didn’t read much else until on a whim I purchased Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans with a Barnes and Noble gift card. From there on out, my main love became literary fiction and classical literature. I didn’t think that I would like horror or much science fiction, and I pigeonholed myself into those few genres thinking it was all I would enjoy.

It wasn’t until I started expanding my To-Be-Read list with books that people suggested I should read. These books ranged from Russian classics to Stephen King to nonfiction about different theories I wasn’t aware of previously. As I started reading these, I realized that there were really only a few genres I didn’t enjoy (sorry to all the romance readers out there). I learned that I actually really enjoy horror and science fiction, as well as numerous other genres and types of literature. Not only was I getting benefits as a writer, but I was also learning to recognize the values and themes that different genres work with. I began to learn more about the world around me through both fiction and nonfiction, which I don’t know that I would have gotten as completely if I just stuck with the few genres I liked originally.

If you find that a lot of the books you read tend to fall into the same category, I highly encourage you to branch out and pick up something that you might like. There are plenty of forums where you can ask for “science fiction recommendations for romance lovers” or “classic literature for a hardcore fantasy fan”, and find even more books that may become new favorites. There are so many books out there that you could read – why limit yourself to just one kind?

Evelyn Homan

UC Riverside '24

Hiya! I'm Evelyn, and I'm a fourth-year English & Creative Writing double major, as well as an Honors student researching independent studying in the 21st century. I love literature, midwest emo and goth rock, alternative fashion, and talking. A lot.