I am passionate about many things, though. So, for the purpose of today's challenge, I'm going to focus on reading.
Challenge yourself to try something new.
I was a voracious historical romance reader for many, many years. I read nothing else. I went from swashbuckling pirates to arrogant lords of the realm to Indian braves. Not a single story set in the modern era, or even the very recent past, made its way into my hands. I knew what I liked and I stuck with it.
Sometimes, though, when in desperate need of reading materials, one has to make due with what is on hand. I've mentioned before that my parents were divorced. Both my step-mom and mom were voracious readers, but their taste in books were far different. My mom could not see the appeal of historical romance novels. So, when the summer months came and us kids were relocated to her house, I lost my access to historical romances and had to content myself with the titles found on my mom's bookshelves.
I'm so glad. I don't know if I've told my mom that, but it's true. I'm glad she had different reading preferences because it forced me to read genres I would have otherwise dismissed in preference for the tried-and-true historical romance. On her shelves I found familiar childhood titles like The Black Beauty and Harriet the Spy, but those aren't the books I think of when I remember those summer months. Instead, I'm reminded of Stephen King and V.C. Andrews.
It's surprisingly difficult to remember when and where a new genre was discovered. Was it my mom who also introduced me to fantasy? It's possible. As the years passed, her reading preferences changed, too. She cycled away from horror stories and started reading historical fiction (remember that impossibly thick book, Sacajawea, mom?). Then she started reading fantasy novels - Xanth - and even a classic or two.
She'd make recommendations and I would take a chance. I discovered historical romances were still fun to read, but that I actually found other genres more to my liking, especially as I got older. Fantasy became a new passion. Then science fiction.
Most recently, thanks to my latest round of schooling, I've discovered my preconceived notions of "classics" were preventing me from discovering wonderfully told stories. Then again, I have also read a few clunkers, but at least I know not to judge the entire "classic" genre by one book or even one given author.
So that's my advice, dear reader: Read indiscriminately.