It's odd sometimes how writing and reading slips into other parts of your life. Take eating squirrels, for example.
This past weekend, I had the privelege to travel into some of the prettiest country in Minnesota. The southeastern part of the state is sculpted by limestone bluffs overlooking lazy streams and picture-perfect farmland. Take a look from the top of the bluffs, and you'd swear someone slipped a painting in front of you.
Other than the scenery, the main objective was squirrel. As in hunting and eating them. Now, before you break out the banjos and Deliverance quotes, consider this bit. Wild game is sourced from 100% sustainable "farms" (i.e. the woods), fed 100% organic diets, raised in 100% free range environments, rarely take more than a few miles to get to the dinner table and come in a 100% biodegradable "wrapper." Compared to a factory farmed chicken breast shipped hundreds of miles to a grocery store, and it's no question which is better for the environment (although I'm not here to preach at you).
Those with adventurous palettes and open minds might appreciate these things as I do. In that way, it's like writing and reading.
Writing and reading pays off the most when taking a risk. That takes an open mind. Sure, you could waste time or money. There is safety in jumping into mainstream works (the chicken breast). But take a risk on something that looks weird on the outside (squirrel), and you might find something new and fantastic that changes your views overall.
Which is better for your mind (the environment) largely depends on what taste it leaves in your mouth. I've read bad mainstream books just like I've eaten bad chicken dishes. I've also read great indie books just like I've had fantastic wild game.
I've also had great chicken dinners and terrible wild game. The latter tends to be riskier. But when it's done right, the payoff is tremendous. More so than another chicken incarnation.
The bottom line here is that you have to take risks, try new things. Readers, go find authors you've never heard of before and give them a try. Authors, try your hand at a new genre. I never thought I'd write humor before taking a stab at the Maynard Soloman series.
As for the squirrel, they're in a freezer waiting for someone to work up the courage to test Grandma Sobieck's Chicken-Fried Squirrel recipe. I'll get to it as soon as I clean out my Goodreads list.