Adjective: Deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
Noun: A person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
I recently joined in with a blog hop and was delighted to see a large number of ‘eclectic’ readers taking part. Whilst in no way am I judging anyone’s choice of reading matter, I ended up a little disappointed. I can understand the need to call your blog eclectic if your choices don’t neatly fall into a genre or you read two or three different genres but to me, it’s all about reading a little bit of everything.
Take a look at my TBR if you’re brave! I read general fiction, contemporary literature, classics, urban fantasy, crime, horror, sci-fi, humour, historical fiction, popular science, travel journals, young adult, children’s, short stories, novellas… the list goes on. Not forgetting the books that I’m not even sure fit into a category.
What’s important to me is that a book is well-written and has believable characters that engage with me as a reader, neither of which has anything to do with genre.
In this world of specialism, am I at a disadvantage? So many people will look at a book and say “I don’t read <insert genre here>” I feel that people will visit my blog and run off. Unless it so happens that my latest post is in a genre they already like.
You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve heard someone dismiss a book because it was Booker short-listed. It’s meant to be a sign of good literature yet so many people are prejudiced to think it will be hard going, pretentious and/or boring. I’d really recommend Sarah Waters’ The Night Watch to anyone with this Bookerphobia and challenge you to change your mind.
The leper of the genres has got to be science fiction. I bet you’d happily sit down to watch a sci-fi film, but when faced with a novel most people would dismiss it straight away. In a world where scientists have cloned sheep and people carry miniature computers in their pockets, why is this genre deemed so inaccessible? It’s not all about spaceships and aliens, and even those can be made into an entertaining or thought-provoking book.
There are, of course, some genres I read more than others. The high percentage of urban fantasy novels has a lot to do with them being easy and entertaining reads that I can get through in an evening (if uninterrupted). I can’t really compare in volume to contemporary literature, which in general takes me a bit longer to get through. How busy I am at work will also affect what I read; sometimes I just want to turn my brain off when I get home. I could watch the telly but instead I choose to read easy-going books. I won’t always blog about a book if it’s something I’ve read for sheer escapism though.
Not that I’ll stop blogging or change my reading habits. I’ll just have to be content with my hard-core eclectic followers!