How to Expand Your Literary Horizons

Benjamin (Ben) Shoval currently serves as president of Seattle, Washington’s Shoval & Co., a position he has held since 2004. In is free time, Ben Shoval likes to relax by reading.

In a recent poll of 1,000 adults living in the United States, researchers discovered that about 41 percent had not read a single novel in the previous 12 months, while a similar number had not read a work of non-fiction. The overlap of individuals who had not read a single book in any genre came in at about 28 percent. The benefits of reading range from lowering a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s to improving a person’s vocabulary and general knowledge of the world.

There are a few steps individuals can take to expand their reading horizons. One method involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Those who have only read nonfiction in the past 12 months can choose a novel or book of stories, while fiction readers can pick up a biography or memoir. Similarly, individuals who prefer mystery or romance novels, for example, should consider a work of fantasy or science fiction.

Familiarizing one’s self with a favorite author is another way to read more books. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, for instance, consistently ranks as one of the most popular American novels of all time. However, Fitzgerald penned three additional novels, over 160 short stories, and The Last Tycoon, a novel in progress at the time of his death. Book clubs represent another way in which individuals can find new books to read.

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