There are so many books out there from all sorts of different genres. We all have our favourites and preferred genres that we tend to stick to. Not always experiencing everything that is out there. As I have mentioned before, I think it is important to try different styles of book. Here is a list of some “must read” genres in your life time, accompanied by multiple recommendations (because let’s be honest, we are all different and need options).
Become familiar with a Classic. There is honestly nothing like the classics. They may have stuffy language and take longer to get into but it is definitely worth reading at least one in your lifetime. If only for the satisfaction at the end and as it is a broad genre it is guaranteed that there will be one story that takes your fancy. Try: Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Frankenstein, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the list really goes on.
Immerse yourself in a series. Find a series with at least three books and read them all in succession. Get to know the characters, watch them grow as the books develop, fall in love with them so that you dread finishing that last page. It really is a feeling all of it’s own. Again, there are series in many styles of genres so it should be easy to find one that appeals to you. Try: Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia.
Transport yourself to another generation with a Historical Fiction. Do you have a particular period in time that interests you? Chances are there is a historical fiction that matches. Take yourself to Europe during WWII, along the Nile in Ancient Egypt, South Africa during Apartheid and walk in someone else’s shoes. Try: All The Light We Cannot See, The Other Boleyn Girl, River God, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Help.
Experience a historical reeanctment of true events. Similar to the last category but even better because it is basically true (plus the fictional embellishments of the author). Although the author adds flair to the tale there is still the crazy feeling that this all happened before. Try: The Midnight Watch, Burial Rites, The Revenant, Eat Pray Love, Into The Wild.
Go to another world entirely or a different version of ours. Science fiction and fantasy is not everyones cup of tea but it is worth trying at least one in your lifetime. Imagination can really run free without the constraints of reality and it is worth reading something with the only limits being the author’s imagination. Try: The Hobbit, The Martian, Ready Player One, 1984, The Name of the Wind
Get sucked in by a mystery/thriller. There is nothing like being completely and utterly drawn into a book. Reading furiously just so you know what happens. I’ve lost entire afternoons and evenings to the lure of a great thriller or mystery. Thrillers are more urgent and demanding, while mysteries have a gentler pace so there is something for all. Try: Gone Girl, The Girl On The Train, After The Crash, The Lake House, anything by Agatha Christie.
Learn about the life of someone you admire. Be it sports person, actor, singer or anyone else you have an interest in. Give their life story a shot. Reality can be just as interesting as fiction and while this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (not my favourite to be sure) there will be someone you connect with. Try: The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank, Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Bossypants by Tina Fey, I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.
Break your heart with a romance. Not all romances are lame Mills & Boon-esque stories. There some great unsual romance stories out there, plus plenty of typical ones that are amazing regardless. Where else are you likely to experience grand romantic gestures? Unless of course, you are one lucky person who has their very own prince/ss charming. Try: The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, Me Before You or less typical love stories like My Name Is Memory, Warm Bodies.
Live some literature that gets beneath your skin. Literature is defined as written works of superior, lasting artistic merit. This may be one of my favourite genres as I love contemplating the content of a book after the pages have ended. These are the books and ideas that stay long with you into the future. Try: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Goldfinch, Life of Pi, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Cloud Atlas.
Warm your soul with light-hearted and fluffy chick lit. Not all reading needs to be serious, life-changing or ground-breaking. Every now and then it is great to zone out with a light and fluffy feel-good tale. Especially one that celebrates friendships and the unbreakable bonds that come from mutual respect and love. Try: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Everyone Worth Knowing, In Her Shoes.
Plunge into staple authors from your own country or cultural background. I highly recommend reading about different cultures, learning about life all around the world. However, I think at times reading novels from your own culture is underrated. Personally, I am from Australia and there are many authors that encapsulate the feeling of home for me. I suggest you of the same and breathe in the soul of your background. I can recommend Australian picks including Cloudstreet and Breath by Tim Winton, The Messenger by Markus Muzak, The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, Jessica by Bryce Courtenay.
Have I missed any must-read genres? Or are you from another country or cultural background? What can you recommend for others?