I'm writing today's post on a Japanese computer in Japan. This means that everything on the blogger page is automatically in Japanese, which makes for interesting times. I speak tolerable Japanese but my reading is atrocious (mostly because I, um, kind of stopped studying soon as I was able to understand the t.v.).
Is there a point to this post? Actually, yes. I've always thought of myself as a broad-minded person but soon after arriving in Japan a couple of years back, I discovered something about myself - I was a card-carrying member of the book-snob-club. I knew what I liked and that was it. Surrounded by bookstores and libraries, I could indulge my needs as I pleased. It wasn't only a matter of genres but also of authors - with a huge auto-read list, squeezing in a new author wasn't something I particularly worried about (except for my writing buds who sold).
Then I came to Japan. And I moved to the middle of the countryside, far, far, far from the metropolis of Tokyo. There are bookstores in my town. Not a single English book in them. That was when I began my journey of discovery. It took me a while to figure out how to navigate the online delivery sites (cause they're all in Japanese), so for a couple of months, it looked like I'd be in a book-free zone. Nooooo!!!! In desperation, I started going through the box of books left behind by a friend who'd moved back home before I moved to Japan. She had very different tastes from me but beggars can't be choosers. So I started reading. Literary fiction. Fiction from the American South. Booker Prize stuff. Sagas.
Some of it I hated. But to my surprise, some of it I loved.
Two years on, my reading tastes have broadened considerably. I still have my favorite authors and genres, but I no longer turn up my nose at things that don't fall within my past range of experience. Will this last once I return back home or will I be sucked back into the world of the familiar? I don't know. What I do know is that the familiar has now become far wider than it once was.
So my question for you is, how willing are you to try not only new authors in a genre you love, but new genres itself? Have you made any recent discoveries about your reading tastes that you were unaware of before? (fyi I realized last week that no matter how desperate I become, espionage novels just do not do it for me.)