I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Favorite and Not So Favorite Genres

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
About a month ago Lola at Lola's Reviews wrote a post on the book genres she loved and the ones she didn't like so much, and I liked the idea of talking about what appeals to me in stories and why, so I'm doing the same!  With many thanks to Lola!

My Favorite Genres

Gothic Fiction: Because Jane Eyre is my favorite book, I think this genre appeals to me the most.  There's suspense, romance and melodrama, and that sense of heightened emotion really appeals to me!  And there's something about the darkness of the story that captures me as well - light paranormal aspects are interesting to me for the sense of danger it conveys and the otherworldly, mysterious side of it.  Gothic stories can be like fantasy, but more grounded in reality compared to fantasy.

Fantasy: This is my second favorite genre since apparently I do like fantastical aspects to take me out of reality.  And for me, European medieval based fantasy is more appealing - as opposed to urban fantasy or fantasy that takes place in other cultures.  There's something that feels right about castles, kings, and knights in fantasy stories.  It takes me to a period of time that I would like to experience (although I'm sure it would not be as fun for me in reality!)

Classic Literature: This is a difficult genre to categorize because not all classic lit appeals to me.  Older books that are more steeped in history catch my interest more - 20th century classics are not as appealing.  When I was younger and read my first classic lit book - Tom Sawyer - what impressed me the most was the intricate storytelling that really built on the characters and the plot, which felt so advanced compared to the books I had read before, like Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children.  I was struck by how much more fulfilling the classics could be in terms of being invested in the plot and characters.  It was a much more moving reading experience, and even though I was an avid reader before reading Tom Sawyer, I think the classics helped me become addicted to the experience of living through other characters.  And older classics provide more of an escape to me, since they are set further in the past.

There are other genres that I love to read, like sci-fi, mystery and historical books, but these three genres really sum up what I try to look for in a new read.  Something with suspense and romance, or an interesting fantasy adventure, or a beloved and well-regarded (time approved!) read.

Not So Favorite Genres

Contemporary: I put this genre up, but lately there have been a few contemporary books that I've really loved, so this is a good indication that there are (almost) never absolutes when it comes to what kinds of books I might like.  It's just in general though that this genre does not appeal to me.  I'm just not excited to pick up a story about ordinary people, set in a time like this.  Because of this, the story really needs to excel in the storytelling for me, and that is hard to find sometimes as well, so I can end up disappointed a lot if I pick up a contemporary read.  Rainbow Rowell comes to mind as the biggest exception though - love her work!

Romance: Well, I love a good romance, but a book with just a focus on the romance seems boring to me.  It goes along with contemporary probably, in that I want a little more happening in the story than just two people meeting and falling in love.  And if it's erotica, than the lack of plot is even worse!  And if the story has a happy ending, then that's predictable, and if it doesn't, it's disappointing.  So a pure romance novel has no chance with me!

Non-fiction: This is another genre that I can enjoy if it's the right book, but my interest in it is very limited.  If the topic is interesting to me, I'll pick it up.  And I do find that they can take me longer to read in general than other books.  Probably because the topics can be heavier than in a novel.

There are other genres that don't interest me - war or political stories, or religious fiction doesn't grab me, and I don't think there are any exceptions to that for me.

Do you have one absolute favorite genre?  And are there genres that you feel you absolutely don't like, with no exceptions?

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