Reading is a huge part of our lives – so huge that you’re actually reading about what to read! The best part about ‘What Type of Books Should You Read’ is that there isn’t just one answer because it depends entirely on your personality. Despite this vagueness, there are some tips we can give you to help narrow down your choices.
What Type of Books Should You Read?
People should read books according to their interests. Generally, every genre of book is good. The most beneficial genres of books are science, self-help books and biographies, because they contain the most knowledge.
Why You Should Read Your Favorite Genre
Reading about subjects you like is essential to learning about yourself. A stereotype of avid readers is that they’re all obsessed with classic literature only – you know the usual suspects: Moby Dick, The Odyssey, Frankenstein, or anything by Shakespeare.
Each of those titles (and Shakespeare’s works) are rightly popular for what they do well in terms of story, character, and analyzing the power of words.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to like them at all. You should read books from the genre that pulls you in the most, that intrigues you, because that’s what makes you who you are. Each genre not only has something unique to offer readers, but your preferred genre help you express yourself too.
If you want to expand your knowledge, consider reading Science and History books
There are a couple ways you could approach reading science and history books. Obviously, there are plenty of textbooks out there to dive into, though this isn’t exactly cost-effective.
Luckily, pop science books are big right now with titles like A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson or even The Physics of Star Wars by Patrick Johnson.
They combine a study/description of the complex world of science with some…interesting twists that are entertaining and informative.
History books can come in different forms: Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States represents an objective look at historical events in the US, while Elie Wiesel’s Night is an incredibly powerful and personal account of his experiences during the Holocaust at Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
Whichever you decide to read, History and Science books provide several ways to stretch your mental muscles.
If you want to become the best version of yourself, you have to read Self-Help books
Self-Help books are a great way to boost your confidence and recognize your potential. The best part of this genre is that there is a book that will cover nearly every issue you may have.
They won’t just issue a blanket statement that hopefully covers a problem the *majority* of readers have.
Books like The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin can help resolve issues you may have with your self-image. What On Earth Am I Here For? from Rick Warren tackles how we deal with our existence and motivations. Finally, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill lays out how to find success in your life.
Each of these approaches to self-help is incredibly different, but they represent a small fraction of what you can find in this genre. Exploring how to live your life to the fullest is integral to our human experience.
Do you need an escape from the world? Read Fantasy!
Maybe you’ve had enough of dealing with exploring the real world for answers. That’s okay too! Fantasy and science fiction is a genre that is constantly growing.
While George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is set in a medieval world filled with dragons and white walkers, The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut is a darkly humorous adventure through the solar system and the human psyche alike. If these aren’t quite for you, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien could immerse you in a world of wonder and danger to your liking.
Traversing these fantastical worlds can be a great way to explore your own ideas and test the might of your creative juices.
Start reading Horror books if you like watching Horror movies!
Horror on paper works a bit differently from horror on the big screen, though they can both make your heart race. Horror movies use visuals to their advantage (and to your dismay/delight, jump scares). Books based in horror are often a slow burn, melding you into the atmosphere, creeping disturbing thoughts into your mind.
The Turn of the Screw from Henry James works especially well tampering with your perception of reality. Jurassic Park (a bit more on the Sci-fi side) by Michael Crichton uses disturbing imagery and detail to its advantage while ramping up the violence. Finally, Franz Kafka’s The Trial follows a man trapped in bureaucratic hell after an ambiguous crime he’s apparently committed.
If you find real-life mundane or lacking adrenaline, horror could be your go-to.
Short Stories are the best for people who don’t have a lot of time
Just because they’re short doesn’t mean they don’t have much to say. Short stories are a great way to explore your reading tastes because they don’t require a huge time investment but graze all genres.
Numerous famous authors have produced short stories of their own, like A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner or Alice Walker’s The Flowers. Some writers also chose to produce a majority of their works as short stories, like Leslie Marmon Silko’s Storyteller or Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (or even Woman Hollering Creek).
What short stories lack in length, they make up for (and exceed) in purpose, direction, and substance. There’s an endless sea of other short story authors to explore.
Read Biographies if you have some idols
They always tell you to never meet your heroes, but no one’s ever said anything against reading about them. It’s an incredibly easy way to get to know someone from every angle, especially for historical people that can’t change the narrative. Pick out any historical figure and there’s bound to be a decent number of biographies and profiles available for them.
If you want an in-depth look at the foundations of America, maybe a biography on Samuel Adams by Mark Puls or Ira Stoll could sate you. Should you be looking for something from the same period but across the ocean, E. A. Ritter’s analysis of King Shaka Zulu’s life in Southern Africa could pique your interest.
If those aren’t your taste, there are hundreds of biographies available on anyone from inventors like Nikola Tesla to activists/politicians like John Lewis and countless other remarkable people throughout Earth’s history.
Comic books are the best if you look for something lighter
It’s almost inevitable that most people reading this have heard of the comic book craze that’s swept the world in recent years. The benefit of comic books is that they can be enjoyed with a certain level of aloofness.
The focus is generally on the action and innovative art, not so much on the story (though the writing can still be great). Of course, you have the staples like Marvel (Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Panther, etc.) and DC (Batman, Super Man, Wonder Woman, etc.) and their plethora of superheroes and offshoots, but the explosive popularity of comics has also helped smaller creators thrive. Dark Horse Comics has seen recent success with The Umbrella Academy both in print and on Netflix, while Toho Comics is experiencing similar goodness with Godzilla movies and comics.
Overall, comic books are a great genre to break into right now because there is a constant flow of new material each year.
Hopefully, this list of genres helps you determine what sounds best to you. Reading what you love is far more important than reading what is widely accepted as ‘good’ in society. Keeping your love of reading alive by exploring these genres will be something you’re thankful for down the line.