Bookish Musings: Are You a Bookish Risk-Taker?


Do you don your snowsuit and climb to the top of your TBR mountain and risk falling to your death? Do you juggle with hardcovers and risk bruising your face or stabbing yourself in the eye?? Are you a hardcore bookworm???

Just kidding. I’m actually just wondering if you ever take risks on books you’re unsure of, like books outside your usual genre, books by new authors, books with no reviews, etc. So let’s discuss!

Books by New-to-You/Debut Authors

Do you read books by authors you’ve never tried before? Maybe even authors you’ve never heard of? Authors who are new and have written a debut book? I feel like we all must try new-to-us authors at least since we wouldn’t have enough books to read otherwise, and we’d be missing out on a lot of great books if we didn’t! My answer is that yes, I definitely read books by new-to-me authors, authors I’ve never heard of, and debut authors.


Self-Published and Indie Books

Do you read self-pub and indie books? They have a stigma, so I know they do get read less. Yeah, some of them are not very good, but some of them are amazing. My answer is that yes, I LOVE self-pub and indie books because they’re unique, they step out of the common tropes and genre-norms sometimes, and the gems I’ve found have been worth the less good ones.


Books with Few to No Reviews

Do you read books if they have only a few or no reviews? Sometimes this happens with ARCs that have just come out. Sometimes it happens with books that have already been published. My answer is that yes, I sometimes read books with no reviews, but the blurb has to really sound like my kinda thing or have something that seriously interests me.


Books You’ve Heard Negative Things About

Do you read books if you’ve seen negative reviews or heard negative things about? They do say all publicity is good publicity. I know some people will read a book with controversy and negative reviews simply because of those things. But I know other people will be turned off a book if they hear anything negative at all. My answer is that yes, I usually read lots of reviews before reading a book, and I like to see both the negatives and the positives in order to decide if I might like it and to prepare myself.


Books You Know Nothing About

Do you read books without reading any blurbs or reviews at all? I know some people worry about spoilers or just like to be surprised and go in blind. My answer is actually no this time, I’m picky and like to know what I’m getting into.


Books Outside Your Usual Genre

Do you read books outside your usual genres? Maybe you’re just a genre omnivore and read everything? Or maybe you have favorite genres but will branch out based on recommendations? My answer is no again this time, I tend to stick to sci-fi/fantasy because I’ve tried different genres, and that’s what has stuck.


Books Within Your Genre but Outside Your Usual Type

Do you read books that are in your usual genres, but maybe of a different flavor? For example, if you normally like dark books, do you ever try light and fluffy ones? Or if you like paranormal, do you ever try paranormal with a historical setting? My answer is that yes, I do like trying different things within sci-fi/fantasy, and this is how I’ve found some of the best books I’ve ever read, like Wriggle + Sparkle [review], which was fluffy even though I normally like dark, Black Snow [review], which had mpreg, Nightingale Girl [review], which was about a paranormal creature I usually don’t like, Starflight [review], which was set in space, and Saga [review], which was my first graphic novel.


So What Type of Bookish Risk Taker Are You?

[poll id=”13″]


Talk to me!

What types of bookish risks do you take?
What are some books outside your norm that surprised you?


Your Thoughts


58 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Are You a Bookish Risk-Taker?

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  1. ioana @dragonwaffles

    I don’t consider myself a risk taking reader at all. I’m more of a safe playing bean. I always buy books that I know for sure I’ll love and i never keep books that are lower than a 3.5 start rating on my self lol. If I’m interested in a book but I know it’s not going to be mind blowing I’ll just buy the ebook.

  2. chucklesthescot

    Yes, I always enjoy the chance to try a totally new author especially in my favourite genres! If I see an author I haven’t heard of has an apocalypse/prepper series or fun sounding UF out, I’m all over that! I mostly read Indie and self published books now because there is so much choice in prepper, apocalypse and zombies. Yes there may be editing issues and some are terrible but when you get the really good ones it is worth it. I do read books with few or no reviews if I like the sound of the story. On the point about negative reviews, I read them on GR and decide whether or not these issues are dealbreakers or worth ignoring to read the book. I must read a blurb to decide if I like the sound of it and prefer to look at a few reviews first before diving in so I don’t read it if I have no info at all on it. I am careful in reading blurbs though in case spoilers are there. I tend to stick to my favourite genres and rarely move outside them. I did all my genre exploring years ago and know what I like now!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Indie books are great for those subgenres and topics that aren’t super popular in the mainstream. And I agree, to me it’s so worth it to find the gems. I’d rather read some crap and some amazing books than read all decent but unimpressive books. I tend to just read blurbs and not worry about spoilers there. I figure it’s not really too much a spoiler if it’s in the blurb. Like, some people consider anything that happens past 10% a spoiler, whereas for me it more depends on exactly what the info is. But yeah, I’m pretty much with you on the genre thing! I do explore new subgenres when they sound interesting though.

  3. Lola

    I would say yes to almost all of these. I love discovering new to me authors and so far I’ve tried some new to me authors every month I think :). I might add that as one of the things on my stats spread sheet for next year. Most of the books I read are indie or self-published nowadays. There are so many amazing self published books out there.

    I regularly pick up a book with few or no reviews, often I decide based on the blurb or cover. So I guess I do rarely pick up a book where I know nothing about, because I at least take a look at the blurb in most cases. Actually the books by favorite authors are the ones I most often go in blind as I might actually buy those without even reading the blurb beforehand, but that happens rarely.

    I like branching out in different genres, I still remember how a few years ago I decided to pick up cozy mysteries and it’s one of my favorite genres now. Although there are still some genres I read very few books in like Historical romances and romantic suspense, which are both genres I would like to read more of, but I haven’t fully found my way in those genres yet. And then there are a few genres like horror or thrillers that I pick up very rarely, only if an author I already know writes them. I also like books in my preferred genres, but with a different flavor or focus. I pick up a dark book now and then and I picked up a few paranormal cozy mysteries or books with less known supernatural creatures, I also picked up a few superhero books this year, which is a sub genre I rarely read.

    Normally I wouldn’t consider myself a risk taker, but I guess I am a bookish risk taker. As I would say yes to almost all of these, I only went with no with the point of going in a book without knowing anything about it as I usually at least read the blurb or a review or two. I do want to get a feel for the book and try and gauge whether it’s a book for me.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, you do seem to read a wide variety of books, and I know you read lots of indie and little-known books. And that makes sense to sometimes go in blind if it’s an auto-buy author of yours.

      I stay in sci-fi/fantasy, obviously, but I mostly tend to find new subgenres by reading a book that has something I know I like that interests me, but it just also happens to have this new thing, and then I’m kinda like, “Hmm, I kinda like this new thing!” and then I start to try more of it. I don’t read many superhero books either though. Not my fave thing to be honest.

      You’re definitely a bookish risk taker πŸ˜€

  4. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    I’m almost all of these things, except books I know next to nothing about. Unless it’s an author I ADORE, I’m probably going to need to know more about the book before diving in. However, I like reading books by authors I don’t know or reading debut books. You find some great stories that way. Plus, I’ve branched out a lot more through blogging and I read more genres than I used to. I’ve found some favorite books this way! As for indie/self-pub, I do, but probably not as much as I should. But there are some great books if you just try!


    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah I don’t really understand how people can go into books blind! But I’ve definitely found great stories by reading new authors and debut books. That’s awesome you’ve branched out more since blogging πŸ™‚

      1. Victor

        Hi Kristen? If I may be so bold, I’d like to interrupt your conversation and explain why I go into some books blind. It will usually be due to a recommendation from a trusted source. A friend on GR, Matthew, suggested that Dark Matter be read ‘before it gets spoiled for you’. I remember requesting it from the library having read only his review. I knew it was sci-fi and romance, two genres I usually don’t run to, and that was it. I loved the story and the experience of not expecting anything, if that makes sense. IIRC I went into The Library at Mount Char just as blind and I enjoyed the ride.

        I don’t always go in blind, but when I do, I have a blast?

        I hope you’re doing well, my friend.

        1. Kristen Burns

          When I thought about it, I figured it must be recs that get people to read books they know nothing about. That does make sense. I just am very picky and always want to know what I’m getting into. Glad Dark Matter worked out well for you though! I’ve heard good things about it.

          Thanks, you too πŸ™‚

  5. Rachel @ Chocolate and Chapters

    This is interesting to think about. I very rarely read books I’ve heard nothing about. Reading reviews for books is something I love doing. πŸ™‚ It’s just really fun for me. Which is probably why my TBR is so huge!

    The risk listed here that I take the most is definitely reading outside my favorite genre. My favorite genre is historical fiction, but I read more OUT of my favorite genre than within it. I did the math/statistics? on all the books I’ve read this year and I’ve read fantasy the most, by far.

    I’ve read quite a few books lately that have no/few reviews, because I’ve been reading ARCs. I just read one book that only had one review and I absolutely loved it! I was really happy about that.

    Anyway, thanks for this post! I’ll be thinking about it when I make reading choices in the future.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol reviews are so helpful, idk how other people can read books without reading them first!

      That’s interesting that you read more out of your fave genre.

      Yeah, that def happens with ARCs, sometimes there are no reviews yet when you’re deciding whether to request it. Those always feel like a risk to me, but sometimes they completely pay off!

  6. Literary Feline

    Yes to all, with one exception. I do pick up to read books I know nothing about in terms of what it is about specifically, but I figure that doesn’t count because I only do that when I know the genre or it is an auto-buy author. So, technically, I may not read the blurb or a review of the book before reading it–but I can make certain assumptions about it based on more general factors.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I would say that counts if all you know is the genre or the author. I won’t read a book just based on either or those things. I usually read the blurb and a bunch of reviews!

  7. sjhigbee

    I have ticked all the boxes in your questionnaire – but the last two come with a caveat. I do read books outside my normal fare – but only occasionally. A really great article Kristen:))

  8. Laurie @ Bark's Book Nonsense

    I have to say yes to everything except the books I know nothing about. That’s too risky even for me. My tbr pile is scary huge and all of those questions above are likely the reason. I mainly stick to romance and horror but I am easily swayed outside of those genres if a friend writes a great review or a podcast talks me into it (which isn’t hard!)

  9. Karen

    I’ll take risks in all of those groups but I do like a little input from trusted reviewers first if I’m going outside what I usually read.

    For example, I don’t read or enjoy fantasy all that much but I’ve downloaded a few you’ve reviewed to try because they have humor which I do like so I’m willing to take a chance.

    The exception – not knowing anything. I have too many books I need to and want to read so I don’t have time to take chances like that lol Maaaaybe for an author I love.

    For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      That makes sense. And aww, yay, it makes me happy my reviews have convinced you to try some books!

      Lol right? There are so many books I want to read, I want to know that there’s a good chance I’m gonna like the book I’m spending time on!

  10. Angela

    I’ve been trying to read outside of my comfort zone and try new genres. It’s going pretty well! I read a lot of debut authors and although I have favorite authors, I’m not scared to try new-to-me authors. I don’t generally read self-published or indie books, though. They just don’t seem to come on my radar as much.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay I’m glad it’s going well! I’m actually not a big author person. Like, I guess I’m more likely to try a book I’m kinda unsure about if it’s an author I love, but I generally make decisions based on the books themselves, so that’s why I read lots of new-to-me authors.

  11. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    nope not me. You know I always stick to my fantasy books πŸ™‚ because then if I don’t I risk a heartbreak my blog wife goes around saying that she doesn’t know me anymore.
    Now seriously speaking, you know i have been reading all kind of stuff lately but one thing I usually don’t do is to read books with few or bad reviews. Because you know I’m a DNFer and I already know my triggers πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ok I tried, I really tried to think of some sort of witty response because your comment cracked me up, but I failed because I am so tired from moving that I cannot think properly. Please forgive me!

      Yeah but what if the negative review is, like, something that *you* like even though the other person didn’t? When it comes to neg reviews, I tend to read multiple because if every person has the same complaint, it’s usually valid. But sometimes it’s a completely subjective kinda thing, you know? But yeah, reading a book w/ only a few reviews to base the decision off of can be risky!

  12. Greg

    I do try new stuff, urban fantasy and thrillers come to mind. I never read a UF before blogging. I have no problem with debuts or new to me authors, and I don’t really worry too much about # of reviews? I must admit though I don’t read many self pub or indies, and I kinda feel bad about that, but all the solicits I’ve gotten just haven’t really appealed to me? I do always read the blurb though, I don’t like going in blind. In fact I probably have bought it because of the blurb in part, so… yeah.

    I do think some of my favorite books are books I never woulda tried pre- blogging. Like the Blue or Big Little Lies. I just never read stuff like that. Or the Wayward Pines books, Dark Matter, stuff that are more like a SF/ thriller mash up. Love the tension in books like that.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Then hurrah for blogging since I love UF and support you reading it! Lol. I mean, I can’t blame you for turning down a book if you’re not interested. Honestly I turn down most of the requests I get, but then I end up finding self-pub books just by browsing around Amazon lol. I really don’t like going in blind either. Like, I even like to read the blurb right before starting the book because it helps orient me when I start.

      It’s awesome that blogging has helped us find books and that books can surprise us like that!

  13. Annemieke

    I buy a lot of books by new to me and debut authors. I even preorder some of them. I guess I’m quit the risk-taker on that front, haha.

  14. MaryGrace

    I do rely heavily on reviews and word of mouth, though if I’m already familiar with the author’s work, I like to jump immediately on their newest book.
    I’m also a big sissy when it comes to horror, even though I’m knee-deep in Stephen King, Joe Hill, Dan Simmons, and the like. There’s only so much descriptive gore I can take.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That makes sense. I’m not so much an author person though, I still base my decision on each individual book/series.

      I’m totally a sissy when it comes to horror too, except it’s not really the gore that bothers me, it’s the creepy stuff!

  15. Amy

    Really fantastic post πŸ™‚
    I think I’m definitely a bookish risk-taker, especially when it comes to reading books that have got negative ratings. It just makes me super curious, and I love to see for myself whether they’re good or bad. It’s daunting, especially if you end up loving the book everyone hates, but it’s also fun!

    I’ve also started reading outside my genre comfort zone, and that’s been awesome. I’ve discovered so many great books because of that. For example, I used to hate contemporaries, but now I really enjoy them and they’re one of my favourite genres! It’s so cool πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns


      Yeah, I never really understand how some people can say they don’t read books if they see even a single negative review since every book has negative reviews! And sometimes it’s the negative ones that convince me to give the book a try.

      I’m glad going outside your comfort zone has been working out well πŸ™‚

  16. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I love reading books by brand new authors!! And the books that NO BODY is talking about!! Those are my faves. I don’t read a lot of indie books just because I don’t know a good way to screen for the good ones. I also do NOT usually go outside of my genre. I read a lot of serious Contemporary– and I barely ever read Fantasy or Romance.

  17. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I guess I can be a risk taker… but it depends. Like, if I’m trying a debut author I will only read the ones which are in my reading comfort zone because it’s hard for it to go too wrong. Or, if I’m trying a genre I don’t usually read then it’ll be books people I know have read and recommended. I mean, a lot of the time I don’t even think about it. I’m interested in books and if the story sounds good I’ll pick up a copy, but I have my spending limit, unless it’s an author I love or a book everyone is telling me is brilliant I’m not as likely to buy an expensive physical copy (unless I have a gift card, then all bets are off).

    1. Kristen Burns

      That makes sense. Like, a debut author in something that’s not your genre and no one recommended it would be an awfully big risk lol. But yeah, I don’t tend to think about it most of the time either, it’s just what I’m interested in or not! But that’s a good point too, I’m not willing to spend as much on a risky book that I’m really unsure about.

  18. Latanya

    I tend to take more risks with debut authors, books within my preferred genres but within a subgenre I don’t deal with often, books with a few reviews (due to lack of exposure) and those I know nothing about (e.g. no hype or underhyped). I like to keep my experiences fresh. While I do venture outside my preferred genres once in a while, I tread lightly when I do.

  19. S. J. Pajonas

    On some level, a book has to “speak to me” before I’ll read it. I know that’s super vague, but I usually know what I want when I see it. And if I start reading a book and it doesn’t have what I want, then I set it aside. But I try new authors all the time and I’ve even tried genres I was never interested in before. Usually though, I’m not won over by something way outside of my comfort zone, so I really have to be interested to go there.

    1. Kristen Burns

      No, I think I get it. Sometimes I can pinpoint exactly what it is about a book that makes me want to read it, other times its more of a vague feeling. And that makes sense you’d have to have an even stronger interest the further you stray from your comfort zone.

  20. Victoria Grace Howell

    I like to read books from all sorts of genres for variety. I even read a contemporary book not too long ago. It wasn’t my favorite but I know the author and I wanted to read some of her writing. πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Gosh, I haven’t read a book that wasn’t sci-fi/fantasy in probably at least a year! But I get it. I read this one author’s series even though it wasn’t quite my genre not because I knew her personally but because I love her writing blog and was curious to see how her books were.

  21. Jennilyn

    Six yes answers out of seven, so I guess I am a bookish risk-taker.

    Books by New-to-You/Debut Authors – yes, I actually do not care about the author as long as the synopsis tickles my interest.

    Self-Published and Indie Books – yes. In the Philippines we have #romanceclass books (indie pubbed Filipino romance books) and I try to support them as much as I can.

    Books with Few to No Reviews – yes, I’d still read if the synopsis picks my interest.

    Books You’ve Heard Negative Things About – yes, or actually it depends. if there are only a handful of negative reviews, I won’t be bothered by it. But if it’s mostly negative, I stay away.

    Books You Know Nothing About – no, I don’t go opening a book blind. I always check synopses and average ratings in Goodreads before I buy/read.

    Books Outside Your Usual Genre – yes, I’d like to think that I am a genre omnivore. Like I am a contemporary trash but when I saw Illuminae on sale in Amazon, I bought a copy.

    Books Within Your Genre but Outside Your Usual Type – yes, wait. I’d like to think yes but I can’t back this up with sufficient evidence on my part, haha.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You really are!

      Same, I don’t care about reading new or debut authors as long as the book sounds good. That’s awesome you read indie/self-pub as well πŸ™‚ That’s fair, if a book has mostly negative reviews, most of the time there’s a good reason, but I’d still probably read them to see exactly what it was people didn’t like just in case I liked that or didn’t mind it. And yeah, it’s crazy to me that some people don’t even read blurbs before reading books!

    1. Kristen Burns

      You’re not the first one to realize you’re more of a bookish risk taker than you thought πŸ˜‰ But it’s totally ok to stick to favorites sometimes too!

  22. Evelina

    I do most of these! Although you know, I will be careful with things like indie or negative review ones. If the negative review contains triggers I know I will not appreciate, then I will not go for it. But sometime negative reviews make you more curious about it πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh yeah, if the reviews, whether negative or positive, talk about the book having things you don’t like, that makes perfect sense not to read it! But a lot of things in books are subjective (e.g. the characters were great!), so I try to not trust any one single review about those types of things. And I know some people will avoid a book if they see even one negative review.

  23. Olivia Roach

    I basically do all of these except with books I know nothing about. I used to, but now I try to always read the synopsis at least to avoid sole cover buys like I used to always do.. But I guess I am kind of a risk taker!

  24. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I’d say I’m less adventurous than you, but I do take some risks. I used to read A LOT of self-pubbed and Indie, but nowadays I find myself taking a lot fewer chances on those. I mostly stick with authors I already know. (Though I occasionally make exceptions.) I try out other genres from time to time, but still mostly read YA fantasy, sci-fi and contemp. I definitely read reviews and I’ll read a book even if some people didn’t like it if it sounds like their tastes are different than mine. This is fun to think about!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m not so much an author person, so I tend to read a lot of different authors for that reason. But hey, I totally understand sticking to your preferred genres! And exactly, sometimes someone who writes a negative review just has completely different taste than us, and we might still like the book πŸ™‚