A Bookish Palate Cleanser

As fantasy is one of my favourite genres (with sci-fi at a close second), I'm usually reading a constant stream of books in that genre and let's be honest, it really gets repetitive after a while. This is a problem because I actually like the genre and want to read ALL of everything I'm interested in without getting jaded. Or in Singaporean-style, I would say: "Wah, read until damn gelat." (Heh, how's that for a taste of the local lingo over here?)

A year or so ago, I resolve this by reading a book from a different genre in between spurts of fantasy (or sci-fi, I'll just say fantasy for the sake of not making it into a mouthful). So I may read two fantasies and then a contemporary, before moving back to fantasies. Of course, sometimes I'll change up the combination a bit if I'm not feeling too sick of the genre.

It's how I cleanse my bookish palate. But ultimately, they're all still fiction. Doh!

Recently, out of pure accident, I picked up a non-fiction book because I was curious about a certain subject and happened to chance upon a book that sounded interesting (it's about psychoanalysis). So I got it out of the library and read it after finishing two different YA novels. (Because I have a little bit of OCD and I read my books in order of the dates they were borrowed from the library.) Note that this two novels are of different genres, specifically -- Crown of Fire by S.J. Maas and All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry.

Something funny happened then. Although I took longer to finish the shorter (150+ pages) non-fiction book, after completing it though, I gained a speed boost (but it was very, very short, though it may just be me) AND here's the best part, I appreciated the story -- the fictional, fictitious, unfactual -- that I was reading. It's not that I didn't enjoy the non-fiction but it was just much harder to understand instead of my usual "suspended from reality" mode when I read fiction.

I'm going to experiment again when I finish my next two or three fictions, just to see if it was a one-off thing or it really works better than my year-ago method. I felt that if it really works, it's pretty much what works for me. I really like how I felt when I started The Diviners after reading the psychoanalysis book.

Do you bookishly cleanse your palate? Or do you have a "palate cleanser" book type?

P.S. This does not apply to required reading. I think it's a mentality thing with those. Sorry, professors!


  1. I've been feeling like I need a change as well. I've also been reading a lot of Fantasy, and although I love this genre, I feel like I need a bit of a break. I feel like reading a Contemporary, but I don't have many on my TBR and the ones I do have, aren't calling to me.

    Have you read Crown of Midnight and All the Truth That's in Me yet? I loved them both!

  2. I didn't use to think I needed a palate cleanser, but with blogging, I think that if I go through a bunch of one type of genre, it is nice to read something else. Although it's almost never non-fiction - I guess I should try that more as a cleanser. :) I haven't noticed it boosting my speed for the next book, though!

  3. I do go for palate cleansers regularly. I don't really feel like reading the same genre over and over again, so I'll grab a contemporary here, a fantasy there, then a chicklit, maybe... and now I'm experimenting a little bit with non-fiction, which is quite interesting. But it keeps things fresh :)

  4. Yeah, it seems like because of blogging, we tend to go through too many of the same genre at once? Maybe because each blogger has their own favourites and focus. I'd love to know if non-fiction works for you as a cleanser too. ;) It takes me more time with non-fiction but after that, I really breeze through my next fantasy book or just fiction in general. Not sure why but hey, I'm not complaining. xD

  5. I notice me going for cleansers more often when I read dystopian, I think it's because they're almost always dreary so it puts me in a very sad, sad mood after reading too many consecutively. xD That's great that you're experimenting, I think for myself, I neglect non-fiction too much because I've always associated them with boring, classroom texts... but really, there's more interesting things out there waiting to be explored. :'D

  6. I tend to cleanse my palate after each book, if I'm honest. My favourite genres are fairytale retellings and urban paranormal fantasy, so I tend to alternate reading one of those with a contemporary romance/fantasy/whatever is on my shelf. This week I've read two paranormal romances, a fantasy, a contemporary romance and a middle-grade novel - I like variety!
    Beth x

  7. That's awesome! It's great to have variety, I think, it prevents the reader from getting numb to a certain genre? But I think reading the same genre again and again have its advantages too, like finding a pattern or repeated tropes. Good for research! ;)


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