I’m a SciFi reader! I love the creativity, the way a good writer is subtly teaching me something while I’m thoroughly engaged in the story (like C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy). I admit it’s a habit. Not really a bad habit but it keeps me from trying other genres.
This week I was forced to read outside my favored genre or miss a meeting of my beloved book discussion group. I was shocked when I realized this month’s book is a nonfiction, and to make it even more outlandish, it’s about medical practitioners. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science is definitely not a book I would have chosen to read, but Complications proved to be a wonderful learning experience.
Atul Gawande tells stories of his and other doctors’ experiences, stories that filled me with awe, fear, understanding and respect for those who’ve chosen this profession. I had to rethink my own critique of doctors. Instead of expecting perfection (when I have fought and lost that battle), I can now hold doctors to a lesser standard. Gawande proved that all doctors make terrible mistakes but that medical malpractice suits will never remedy this; there are too many unknowns in the diagnosis and treatment of human ills. One of the better solutions is for doctors to talk about what went wrong,yet consumers make this very difficult when lawsuits are a constant threat.
When I finished the book, I felt compelled to write a review for Goodreads and Amazon, giving it five stars because it gave me something of value: a clearer perception of how doctors affect healing. And it was an interesting read, full of stories that could almost be in the SciFi genre. I may even consider broadening my reading list.
Recently, a potential reviewer for my new novel, Pieces of You, said he was having trouble getting into it because it seemed to be a romance, and he never reads romance novels. Since I don’t read that genre, either, I was shocked to have my book labeled as such. (I think it’s a bit too complex a story to be included in that genre, at least based on those I’ve read in the past). I can’t blame this reviewer for his perception of what constitutes a “good read” since I’ve done the same. But I do hope he will break the genre habit…at least this once.
If you’ve ever been surprised by something you’ve read outside of your normal reading habits, would you please share your story?