Selecting a book is easy when it's something you're interested in. We gravitate toward that which appeals to us, and avoid that which does not. Sadly, this approach does not lend itself to a well-rounded perspective. Here are three tips for selecting something beyond your usual bibliographic fare:
Partner up: Coordinate with a friend whose reading preferences are different from yours and select a book for each other. Getting out of your literary comfort zone is easier if the recommend comes from someone who knows what you like. It also facilitates discussion. Talking about a book with someone who has already read it can make new material more enjoyable (and it's fun to force your personal preferences on someone!).
Randomize: Breaking away from your ordinary reads can be as simple as going to a bookstore or library and picking something at random. This can, however, take a degree of commitment and fortitude. If your perennial favorites include Neil Gaiman and Orson Scott Card, pulling a title from the literature/fiction section could land you with something by Jane Austen. Unless you happened on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you're probably in for a rough read. This could be a problem. For some, starting a book and not finishing it is tantamount to sin.
Just deal with it: Actively seek out and read something you find unappealing. It takes a lot of willpower to delve into something you don't like, but you'll be rewarded with a well-rounded perspective. Sometimes it can even be a pleasant surprise. What you assumed would be objectionable might turn out to be enjoyable. At the very least, completing a book outside your comfort zone comes with a degree of satisfaction. Like cleaning out gutters or having a colonoscopy, it feels good to know it's over with and you can get back to enjoying life.
If you'd rather not take the risk, you can check out our staff picks for guidance or ask one of our booksellers. Helping people select books is what we're trained for and what we love to do.