Discussion- I have very limited taste in books

I keep seeing so much buzz and positive things about All the Bright Places, I’ll Meet You There and a host of other contemporary novels. I see the buzz, hear the love but I find I have little desire to actually read them. I want to love issue books, contemporaries and new adult novels but I find I can’t (exception would be new adult with a fantasy setting=love for me). I’ve come to realize I have a really limited taste!


One of these included? I’m sold

I want to expand my reading some but it hasn’t worked out for me. I find I am firmly rooted in science fiction, fantasy, dystopian or historical. I can read adult or young adult with no issue but when it comes to genre I hit a brick wall.


A couple of friends (looking at you Crystal and Jon) have been urging me to give All the Bright Places a try. They tell me I’ll love it, it’s beautifully done, heartbreaking and perfection. But when I read that summary? I have zero interest. I wish I didn’t feel that way.


How do you expand your genre horizons? Do you attempt to read books out of your comfort zone? Every time I’ve tried (example-Eleanor and Park) I’ve understood the love for the book but I’ve never felt compelled to read further.

At first I thought my contemporary block was because the setting was present day and our world but I can enjoy thrillers and mysteries even with a contemporary setting like Every Breath and Every Word. I ADORED these books.

I’m wondering- how narrow are your reading tastes? Do you like a wide variety or are you like me and stick to what you know?


  1. says

    Well, I’d say I prefer YA and NA. I almost never read adult fiction books, may they be contemporaries or fantasy.
    There are times when I want to read only fantasy or ony NA and so on but I read almost any genre. If you want to broaden your horizons, I’d say why don’t you start with a book that you don’t have really interest in but your friends have recommended it to you? It might work 😉

    • says

      I’ve tried that in the past and liked the recommended book but it didn’t blow me away or encourage me to read more. I’m with you and go in genre moods. Thank you for sharing!

  2. says

    I’m actually really against high fantasy which is weird because everyone loves it. i don’t mind it but it isn’t something that i’d pick as a first try, to be honest. like if someone recommends it to me, i’ll read it and probably end up liking it [the grisha trilogy owns my heart] but i wouldn’t pick it up on my own.

    even now, i’m still a little against it but now i make myself do it. because it doesn’t really matter if you end up hating it. at least you gave it a shot, right? i say try it [maybe library instead of buying it?] and if you don’t like it, DNF is only an action away ;P

    • says

      I’ve got a close friend that doesn’t like high fantasy either. I always feel left out by my meh feelings towards contemp because it seems they impact so many people in a deep way. And yes! It’s always worth giving a book a shot because you might love it.

  3. says

    I think those of us who are balancing kids/work/blogging might be more reluctant to branch out because our time is so limited. So, I way if you really don’t think you’ll like, don’t read it. It’s ok to take chances, of course, but life is short and so is our reading time, you know?

    • says

      So true Kate! My reading time is precious so I want to be confident I’ll like what I’m reading. If I dont…it’s DNF. Such a great point you make.

  4. says

    My tastes are very similar to yours. I love fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, and historical fiction as well as horror and adventurous children’s/middle grade novels. I just can’t do contemporary novels. They bore me to death! I read to escape reality and contemporary novels are too much like normal every day life. To veer out of my comfort zone, I urge myself to read classics from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. Some are rather boring but I feel like I SHOULD be reading these tried and true novels.

  5. says

    I wasn’t a huge fan of contemporary before either. Paranormal and fantasy were my fave genres. But I think the key to branching out into a new genre is finding a book from that genre that you love and that fits you. And that isn’t necessarily the popular ones – I’m not interested in Eleanor and Park at all and All The Bright Places was good, but not /amazing/ in my opinion. So the best way to branch into a new genre, in my opinion, is to trudge through titles and find one that really fits you and your tastes. For me, those were Jennifer E. Smith’s books. They’re out there, trust me! There are some pretty good contemporaries out there that you can find!

    • says

      Great point! I’ve only ever paid attention to the most popular contempts. There’s a whole work of lesser known stuff that I have no clue about.

  6. says

    I’M WITH YOU KRISTEN!!!!! Contemporary is SO HARD FOR ME TO LIKE. Everyone is raving ON AND ON AND ON to me about All The Bright Places, that Demetrios book etc and yeah, I guess I’m interested BUT I just know that I won’t like it. I get so bored and unattached when I read contemporaries. BUT Every Breath and Move are the two that I can stand. I guess I need mystery and thrillers with contemporaries.


    • says

      Me too. You are my book soul mate lady. I think the only book we’ve had different feelings towards is Red Queen. I consider the Every series thriller/mystery. Is that considered contemporary?

  7. says

    You know me-I have very eclectic reading taste. Though, I’m not crazy about Fantasy. I think it is important to try things that you wouldn’t normally like and to suspend all expectations and just accept that it is going to be different, but different doesn’t always mean bad. BTW, love all the gifs you’re using. ☺

  8. says

    i’m like you. I find it hard to get into contemporaries. Or books outside the genre I read. I have no helpful advice. Maybe lay out some books on your bed and throw a cat on them. Read whichever one it lands on! Or not…

  9. says

    I totally see where you’re coming from! My tastes have narrowed a bit over the past year. I used to love everything as long as the book was good, but now I am finding myself so rarely interested in any other genre apart from contemporary. I’m not sure if I’m going through some teenage phase or something lol (my friend insists that’s what it is) but yeah, it’s harder for me to be interested in much fantasy lately 😐

    • says

      I’d love a list of your fave contemps so I can see if any of them look like something I’d be interested in. I think we all go through phases at different points in our lives. I think too we can over read a certain genre and get sort of bored with the usual story-lines. that happened to me with adult thrillers.

  10. says

    Meek, amazing post Kristen. <3 I also have huge issues with contemporary books. I just cannot seem to care much for them. Drama. SO MUCH DRAMA. I hate it, lol 🙂 Which is why.. sigh. I'll Meet You There. It was a two star for me. But for the most part, I hated that book. I hated it so much. I don't think it would be for you. But maybe 🙂 But then I read The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre, and I loved it to pieces! But no drama. Just sweet characters and sweet romance and just sweet. I think you would love that one too 🙂 Anyway. Amazing post 😀 Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

    • says

      You and me both. I actually watched the show Parenthood which was full of drama and was in essence a contemp and I loved it. I wish I could find that in book form. I’m happy to know the Ann Aguirre book was great. I wasn’t crazy about the cover :-/

  11. says

    I KNOW I’m limiting myself because I REFUSE to read books that contain love triangles anymore. REFUSE. I hate them with a red-eyed vengeance. That cuts out a lot of options when it comes to YA, surprisingly.

    I don’t blame you for your disinterest in contemporary novels. I only started reading them myself in the past couple years. 🙂

    • says

      I can take some love triangles but cutting them out of what you read would cut down on the number of books to read. Might be helpful actually! I hope eventually I can develop a taste for contemp since I hear such wonderful things about them.

  12. says

    I’m totally with you! I have the hardest time reading contemporaries… It’s just so difficult for me because I need action and life or death situations. But since I’ve started blogging ( a little over a year ago), I have decided that I needed to expand my horizons. So I began by reading John Green books. I’ll be the first to say that his books are just totally not for me, but they are decent steps in the right direction. I then discovered Colleen Hoover and began really respecting the genre a bit more (I would advise starting with Never Never or Maybe Someday). From there, I read Noggin by John Corey Whaley (which is absolutely SUPERB!), and Fangirl (I like Fangirl better than Eleanor & Park).

    By no means is my library going to turn into a contemporary madhouse. I still have a VERY heavy selection of fantasy, scifi, dystopian, and historical fiction, and I plan to keep it that way. Those are the books I enjoy the most, and I think it will stay that way for a LONG while.

    Great post! Know that you are definitely not alone here! 🙂

    • says

      Great selections! I’m going to look them up on GR and add them. Hopefully at least one will hit the right place for me. For some reason the John Green books do nothing for me. I read one, Looking for Alaska…and it was meh. I’ve had no desire to read any others. I think I’ll skip them for now. Thank you for the recs!

  13. Mariam K. says

    I’m actually like that too! But I don’t think I like history books as much (I could never get into The Book Thief or anything like that. Although I’ve heard marvelous things about Redeeming Love.) But I just think it’s to try a book with elements you like and a contemporary, as you’ve done. Contemporary I guess can either be done beautifully or not so well. But for some people, crossing the line isn’t an option! And I think there’s nothing wrong with only liking certain genres! If there’s a contemporary out there that’s meant to be loved by everyone, it will find it’s way to your bookshelf! 🙂

    • says

      You know, I read part of the Book Thief and didn’t ever finish O.O I hear so many good things so I imagine I should try again at some point. I’ve read Redeeming Love years and years ago and really loved it. Not sure I would now but I recall it being good. Great points you’ve made! It’s ok to stick to what we love. And you’re right…Eleanor and Park made it to my kindle app so it can happen.

  14. says

    You know contemporary is not my go to genre, and neither are romance, be it paranormal romance, contemporary or even historical romance… So I know that those kind of books are gonna be more miss than hit. There are contemporary exceptions that I do love here and there, but not many and not often. So yes, I do understand what you mean!

    • says

      Oh! I didn’t know you don’t like paranormal romance! I learn something new everyday. I thought you liked those ok. I’ve not read a romance book so I don’t know about those but I’ve read a historical romance years ago and it was pretty good. Not sure I’d like it now though. I did enjoy our contemp read along we did. Horrible…I can’t recall the book’s title right now.

  15. says

    I just had this EXACT convo with a friend on twitter. The whole girl swooning over boy just isn’t enough to draw me in. I stick like glue to the genres you do which is probs why I cknstantly stalk your blog hehe. I think I am going to read All The Bright Places since I am to review it so I’ll keep you posted. I’ll also let you know if I come across any Contemps that are palatable since I have decided to get my proverbial feet wet.

    • says

      I’m sad I missed your twitter convo because I’d have jumped right in! You must keep me posted on how you feel about All the Bright Places! If you love it then I might just have to give it a go.

  16. says

    While I wouldn’t necessarily call my taste limited, I definitely know what I like and – more importantly – what I don’t like. I absolutely love discovering new authors (and have stepped out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions) but, chances are, if someone recommends a book to me that’s from a genre I KNOW I don’t enjoy, I’m not going to be interesting in reading it at all.

    • says

      Yep, I hear you. Even with all the love for the book if I know I’m not into the genre (here it’s issue books) then I am not compelled to pick it up. And I agree…I do tend to know what I won’t like.

  17. says

    Anyways, I think I’m complete opposite and try to force myself to love all the things. I’m not a big fan of contemporary or MG but I find myself constantly trying to make myself love it. I don’t why, but I can’t help it. I’m more into fantasy and historical than anything but if you tell me it’s awesome I most likely will at least try it!

    • says

      I’m with you! It’s so much easier for me to love the fantasy/sci-fi than the contemp. I almost feel like I might be harsher on the contemps since I go in not as enthused.

  18. says

    There is nothing wrong with knowing what you like and sticking with it! If nothing else, you save time, money, and energy by not investing those things in something you have a reasonable certainty you won’t love. You know, I still feel guilty about forcing that Gayle Forman book on you. I knew it was outside your comfort zone, and I did it anyway. I won’t do it again!

    As for me, I’ve always had somewhat diverse tastes. When I was young, I was fortunate to have a father who bought me any book I wanted. A lot of them were traditional children’s books, but I also read adult books like Stephen King, I read our encyclopedias (for fun), and I read my father’s history books. When I visited my grandmother, I dug into her totally inappropriate and way too steamy for me (at my age) romances.

    So with that background, it’s probably not a surprise that I read some of the things I do. But even though I have pretty broad taste, it’s not THAT broad. I tried Sailor Moon as my first manga, and I wasn’t into it. I’m going to try a couple other authors before I write off manga as not for me. And poetry? I will never understand it.

    • says

      My dad was awesome like that too! I was allowed to read a variety of books and immediately latched onto fantasy. I actually wouldn’t read any sci-fi in my teen years but have finally grown to love them as an adult. And never feel guilty about the Gayle Forman book! I didn’t hate that one at all. I liked it but didn’t feel like I had to read the next. But I would, if it were in front of me. That’s the thing…I feel no draw to buy contemps. I enjoyed the Fruits Basket Manga because I loved the anime 🙂 I’ve not read any others but those which I never finished. I should one of these days…

  19. says

    Mine are fairly narrow. I really like historical, fairy tale retellings, some sci fi, and fantasy. Contemporaries I only like romantic comedy, fluffy types. Something I’d like to watch as a movie 🙂 Even fantasy, I get intimidated by really high fantasy sometimes, esp adult. All the crazy names and intricate worldbuilding is a lot, although ironically I LOVE A Song of Ice and Fire a lot. I want to try more though! But yeah, can’t do issue books, sad contemporaries, or most NA. And I’m ok with that.

  20. says

    I’m similar in that I don’t love contemporaries. When I’m asked why, I often tell people that I have enough on my to-read list, I have to limit myself somehow.
    However, that said, I have found that I do actually like contemporaries that are heartbreaking and sad (Falling Into Place, If I Stay, etc.)
    I would probably like All The Bright Places, but I don’t want to read it. I would also probably like John Green’s books, but I don’t want to read those either.
    I don’t have any interest in reading any other contemporaries, though. Not my thing.

  21. says

    I think I’m also limited in my taste for books, because when it comes to it I always go with fantasy/fairytale book as my first pick. I do try to branch out and it has been quite successful so far. I think it’s good to sometimes stray away from the things you are familiar with. If you push yourself, you might surprise yourself and if not, at least you know it truly just wasn’t for you.

  22. says

    I suppose you probably already know my answer to this ;-). I went through a time when I wanted to get into contemporary novels and then I gave up and just accepted my love of sci-fi and fantasy will never die. If you’ve tried it and found that it just isn’t for you, I would say you shouldn’t push yourself to read things you aren’t interested in. This is supposed to be for fun after all 😀

  23. says

    I totally stick to what I know. I’m in the same boat as you as far as my tastes (minus the historical, unless it has fantastic reviews and was recommended to me). I tried reading The Fault In Our Stars and I kept waiting for that moment for it to pull me in so I could understand what apparently I thought the rest of the world understood. It never came. I told my husband to keep the tissue box handy, but I never needed it. I did enjoy the book and it was a breeze to read, but I just never connected with it like I was hoping for.

    I think when breaking out of my shell I tend to gravitate towards stories that have a lot of buzz or a lot of hype in the blogger world. I also watch my feed on GoodReads try and hold out to see how my friends rate the book before I give it a go (if I know they’ve put it on their TBR or currently-reading shelf). I trust the opinions of my friends and the wonderful blogging community to help guide me in the right direction. But I always take it with a grain of salt that I might just never connect with a book that lives in a genre I’m not in love with.

    You are not alone 🙂


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