I’m currently teaching an intro fiction class to a group of students who are definitely not English majors. Instead, they’re studying business, computer networking, art, nursing. They are smart, analytical people but they don’t pursue literary fiction all that much.
So what am I doing with them? I’m making them extremely uncomfortable. I’m asking them to read literature. Sure, they knew this was coming when they purchased a big book of stories, poems, and plays from the campus bookstore. But that doesn’t mean they were going to like it.
And it doesn’t mean I like every story either. But I’m reading differently. I’m reading magical realism. I’m reading 19th century stuff. I’m reading stories by James Baldwin and Edgar Allan Poe that I don’t try too often. (…no sci-fi so far). Some of it I’ve even read before, but that doesn’t mean I pick it up for fun.
My reading is making me uncomfortable. And I think you should be uncomfortable, too.
No, I’m not suggesting you add erotica to your reading list.
But maybe think about getting a different perspective. To fire off some different neurons or make a new connection. To see a style that you’re not used to seeing. To think about people or the past that you don’t think about too often.
I have my favorite authors, and I’m sure you do, too. That doesn’t mean we just have to read them all the time though.