Once upon a time I would have said that popular fiction was pretty much what I read. But after reading John Brendt's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," I was sold on the possibility that a non-fiction book could be just as compelling as fiction. Possibly more so. Depending on how the story was told.
Once upon a time I would have said that under no circumstances would I read romance novels. But after reading Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander," I completely and totally changed my mind. In fact, I have become quite the fan of romances. Most of them. Well. Any of them.
Once upon a time I would have said that I don't like fantasy stories. Once upon a time I would never have ventured into the children's section to browse the books. Books for me to read. For myself. But authors like JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins and Lois Lowry and even Carl Hiaasen have made this my go-to genre. And have you noticed that most of the books being published in this genre are fantasy? Veddy interesting.
And once upon a time I would have said that I don't like science fiction. Because it was. Too scienc-y. Too Y chromosom-y. I might still. Sorta. Say this today. I have not completely gone over to the dark side. But there are some books in this genre that are really good. One of them being "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell. In fact. I would put that book as one of my all time favorites.
And then. Once upon a time. I discovered a science fiction author. One that I think you should try. Maybe even think of him as science fiction lite. And that is Robert J Sawyer.
You could start with "Flashforward." Are you watching the TV show? Well. The book is nothing like it. In the novel, there is an event that causes everyone in the world to black out - and see a vision of their future. In the tv show, that future takes place in 6 months. In the book - 20 years. What makes the book so very good is the philosophical angle. Do we control our own destiny? Is the future fixed? Is it malleable?
Keeping with philosophy, why not try "Calculating God." It is the story of a paleontologist who is visited by an extraterrestrial. Specifically to gather information about mass extinctions that seem to happen not only here on earth - but across the universe - at the same points in time. The alien assert that "the primary goal of modern science is to discover why God has behaved as he has and to determine his methods." The book is mostly cerebral. But it is also touching. Laugh out loud funny. Character driven. Especially as we read the grappling our paleontologist must do as he deals with his athiest beliefs ("If there was a God, there wouldn't be cancer").
Or. What about a triology. Where you don't have to wait months for the next one to be published. Don't you just love finding a completed series after the whole thing has been published? You ought to try the "Neanderthal Parallax" (Hominids, Humans, Hybrids). It tells the story of a parallel earth where the neanderthals are the hominids that are dominant. And somehow a bridge between these worlds opens. There are chasms in the differences. Yet. There is shared "humanity."
So...what about you? Do you have a favorite genre? One you never thought you would read? Do you like science fiction?