Discussion: Does Genre Choice Matter in the Long Term?

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so i had a lot of trouble formulating the title for this blog post, and i guess that’s probably because i’m super unsure of what i’m actually trying to say. i’ve been spending a while brainstorming good discussion posts, because i know i haven’t posted one in a long time, and now i have something that i want to write about, but i can’t figure out how to go about it. so hopefully by the time you read it, this post will have been edited 4 times (update: it took 7) and sound semi-coherent, but i thought it was relevant information that i’m having trouble writing this.

at the risk of sounding like i’m writing an essay for english class, the point i’m trying to make is:

does the genre we read/prefer to read say something about our personalities?

I know there’s a lot of research/articles saying that playing violent video games could cause a more violent personality (although none of those articles are exactly proven, i’m aware) but what i want to know is can the genre we read affect our personalities as well? are you more likely to be a hopeless romantic if you read romance books, or did you pick up the romance book because you already are a hopeless romantic? I tend to think the latter, but then i get to thinking about the fact that when you’re a little kid, you oftentimes only read the books your parents/older siblings/teachers get you. And then these tend to be the trends that stick. So if you’re given books about taking over the world as a child, will you be more likely to WANT to take over the world as a (young) adult?

will it affect where we go in the future?

when you were little and adults asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, you most likely said something like “a princess!” but then there were other people who said “doctor” or “lawyer” or maybe “secret assassin” (well, hopefully not that one). personally, i got a lot of my inspiration for what i wanted to be when i grew up from the people around me, but also from tv shows and books. i mean, i know about 3 people in my friend group alone who thought they wanted to be pre-med because they watched Grey’s Anatomy.  So will reading more “realistic” books where the characters have careers, as opposed to the full-time job of running a rebel revolution, cause kids to be more realistic when considering their job choices? could it possibly inspire someone to enter a field they never would have considered otherwise?

does it make a difference if we only read genres we like versus if we force ourselves out of our comfort zone?

going back to the Grey’s example earlier, if my friends had hated the show, they probably would never have decided to become doctors. so what if a kid reads a book about a lawyer, but hates the genre… will that mean that they instantly will not want to become a lawyer? in that way, are we limiting what people will enjoy in real life if we force them to read books that they might hate? or are we broadening their perspective?

overall, does our genre choice affect our interests?

the point i’m trying to get to, and trying to ask all of you (since clearly i have literally zero answers), is whether or not recognizing interest in a specific book genre can cause people to predict the field of study/personality of the person reading that genre.

and not necessarily in the most predictable way.

obviously, people who read money management and business books will be more likely to enter the field of finance.

but are people who read fantasy more likely to become school teachers, or does reading about creatures that don’t really exist inspire them to learn more about the ones that do– are they likely to become biologists?

if i read consistently WWII historical fiction, where characters are quietly (and not so quietly) subverting the German armies, are you more likely to go into a career such as the FBI? or, when reading about all of the families who were turned in to the Nazi’s by the people they trusted, will you become more secretive, less open and willing to make friendships with others?

even if this is dramatic, books affect us.

maybe this is just me, i’m not actually sure. but when i read a book, i feel myself changing to match the tone. if it’s a sad book, i’ll be more somber, my thoughts will gradually fall into the same wavelength as the main character. I mean, when i read Turtles All the Way Down, my anxiety, normally managable, became infinitely worse, because then i started wondering if the things i was thinking were because i was feeling them, or because the girl in the book was feeling them, and it was all downhill from there (thanks, John Green)…  that’s a story for another day… but if i exclusively read books about characters with OCD and anxiety, if that was my go-to genre, would i change, fundamentally, as a person?

I think these questions have huge implications for what we read, and even what we write. because, after all, if reading certain books is likely to change our lifestyles, then shouldn’t we exclusively read books that match our goals?

but then again, maybe we already do just that. me, plagued with anxiety, was always more likely to read Turtles. the future surgeon was always more likely to watch Greys. and the girl married at 18 was far more likely to read Twilight (kidding!)

let's talk

do you think books can affect our personalities? or do we read books that match the personalities we already have? have you cast your nominations for the book blogger awards? make sure you do!

 

 

4 thoughts on “Discussion: Does Genre Choice Matter in the Long Term?”

  1. Hmm this is really interesting, Joce! I never thought about it that way. For sure books affect us but I didn’t think of it impacting us this much. I think for me personally, books in general (but fantasy especially) has influenced me to become a big writer, because I want to write a book just like the ones I read. I also think that reading books we relate to can also have a big impact on us? Like for example, when I read Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman, I recognized the thoughts that Kiko was having about wishing to be white to be “pretty” as my own and that changed a lot of how I view myself. I have no idea if this is some science tho 😂 Great post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s probably very beneficial to read outside your comfort zone occasionally, but I think since most of us read for pleasure, it makes sense to pick up books we know we’ll like. The books we decide to read do say something about us in a way, but in the same way that our favorite movies do.

    Liked by 1 person

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