Talking Genre

As I’ve already mentioned a couple of times, this week I’m taking part in the Armchair BEA, an online conference for book bloggers. Each day the hosts give us a couple of topics to discuss, and as I’m a couple of days behind I’m going to mix and match.

Science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, romance…  Though often dismissed or ridiculed by the more “literary” minded, these novels often deal with complex themes and issues and some of the world’s most beloved authors write in these categories.

If you’re a reader of genre fiction do you have a favourite author or series? And what keeps bringing you back for more fantasy/sci-fi/horror etc? And if you don’t read one (or more) of these genres what is it that deters you from those sections of the bookstore?

Let’s face it, I’m all over the shop when it comes to reading… I like variety and I’ll give everything a go but I do have a few firm favourites. For starters, I love crime fiction (I love crime dramas too, but we’ll discuss THAT obsession another day). I’m quite picky though- I like my novels to be character drive… you can have the most ingeniously mysterious plot on God’s green Earth but if you don’t have a solid base of character it’s just a pointless read.

When I was younger my favourite genre was probably fantasy. I used to devour any books that even hinted at ghosts, witches and vampires. I’ve moved away from the supernatural in recent years, but that’s purely because I haven’t found any series to sink me teeth into (forgive the pun) – recommendations welcome!

Sci-fi is not a genre I’ve ever felt compelled to read. Don’t get me wrong, Star Trek and Quantum Leap were pillars of my childhood, I’m just not sure I’d get along with them in book form. And I don’t think I’ve ever read a horror. This wasn’t intentional… I have an extensive collection of Stephen King novels, I just haven’t got to them yet! Romance is an iffy area. Typically if a book is marketed as a romance I won’t enjoy, I just need a bit more substance HOWEVER most books do benefit from a hint of romance.

Literary Fiction: Are there any misconceptions or things that you’d like to clear up for people unfamiliar with literary fiction? What books have you read this year that would fit into this category? Is there anything coming up that you’re particularly excited about? What authors/novels would you recommend to someone new to the genre? 
Let’s start with my definition of ‘literary fiction’ because it’s a pretty vague term. As far as I’m concerned, literary fiction is
a) mainstream
b) non-canonical
and as such comprises the majority of books we come into contact with. It’s one of my pet hates when I’m trying to talk books with someone and they say ‘I don’t really like literary fiction’ because
a) that just sounds pretentious.
b) what do they read then, the dictionary?!
c) unless they’ve read every single piece of literary fiction they should button it, because it comprises SUCH a huge selection of books!
As time goes on I’m starting to read more and more books that I would class as literary fiction (mostly because I need a rest from those classics!) I’ve had a pretty good year for reading so far…
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
Circus of Ghosts by Barbara Ewing
Are three that I’d definitely recommend to anyone and everyone who’ll listen to me!
Over the summer I’m also going to be taking part in the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club Challenge, so I’ll be reading a fair few more, stay tuned for upcoming reviews!
So tell me, what’s your favourite genre? Are you for or against literary fiction?
D x

2 thoughts on “Talking Genre

  1. Pingback: Bye Bye BEA | Doing it the Open Way

  2. It’s interesting that there’s so much confusion abou the term “literary fiction.” I’ve seen the opposite definition of what you said – meaning not mainstream fiction. I probably think of it more as a style of writing – which I can’t define – I just know it when I see it, and most of the time it’s contemporary fiction. But – I’m a genre lover myself.

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