I like to think that reading a variety of genres helps make me more well-rounded. Maybe it just makes my fantasy less oriented toward the typical audience. Either way, I definitely like reading other genres!
Science fiction. I don’t believe that sci-fi and fantasy are interchangeable, and I can’t stand when places jumble them together into one big mess! That being said, I quite like the genre in itself.
As a kid, The Runaway Robot by Lester del Rey was a stand-out, and possibly my first experience with science fiction in book form. Somewhere in the same time frame, my parents introduced me to the original Star Trek, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, and the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. From there, games like Metroid continued my appreciation for the genre.
You’ll probably see a sci-fi story or two emerge from my keyboard in the near future.
Westerns. As a kid in the 80s and 90s, I hated westerns. They looked dreary and old-fashioned, with dusty trails and dustier old men.
Somewhere along the way, after having read biographies, text books, romance novels, and various non-fiction, I realized that I tended to like the best of a given genre. Why not westerns? I started with Sergio Leone’s classic The Man with No Name trilogy, and was surprised to find genuinely good movies. I gobbled up any that had Clint Eastwood, and then I branched out into other classic westerns (and other classic Eastwood!)
Shortly afterward, I found some Louis L’amour books for a pittance at some rummage sales in Michigan’s upper peninsula. While shorter on detail than your typical sci-fi of fantasy epic, they were brisk, tense affairs, and I’ve enjoyed a dozen or so in the past few years. I don’t always pick them up as my next book, but once I start one, I typically power through it in a day or two.
Philosophy. A few times a year, I’ll find myself with the urge to dive into books that explore the deeper meaning in life. G.K. Chesterton has some of my favorites in Heretics and Orthodoxy. This year, I attempted an abridged version of Saint Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica in Peter Kreeft’s A Shorter Summa. It was well over my head, even summarized and explained, but still worth the read. I’ll attempt it again someday!
There are others, too, like turn of the century crime literature. Every few years I reread Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s entire Sherlock run, and occasionally branch out into others, like Chesterton’s Father Brown series.
Of course, all sorts of random genres occasionally show their faces on my nightstand. But for the present, I think that about covers it!