Thursday, November 10, 2011

Genres, genres, genres...

I found an image that had a chart of book genres that I really liked but it was almost too small to read the categories! So here they are, listed for your convenience:

  • Mysteries
    • General
    • Noir/Hard-boiled
    • Police procedural
    • Hobby
    • Cozy
    • Historical
    • Paranormal
  • Romance
    • Contemporary
    • Paranormal
    • Gothic
    • Regency
    • Western
    • Historical
    • Romantic suspense
  • Fantasy
    • Traditional
    • Horror
    • Comic
    • Historical
    • Weird
    • Contemporary
    • High/Epic
    • Slipstream/Interstices
    • Urban
  • Science Fiction
    • Dystopian/Utopian
    • Space opera
    • Alternate history
    • Cyberpunk
    • Steampunk
    • Military
    • Romantic
    • Hard
    • Soft
  • Thriller
    • Environmental
    • Supernatural
    • Historical
    • Medical
    • Psychological
    • Legal
    • Espionage
    • Political
    • Technological
    • Military
Obviously not all genres are presented in this list but good enough. I can't come up with examples of each of these but I am pretty sure it corresponds to what I like to read or at least have tried.

I do not care for thrillers in general and I've read very few. I loved The Bourne Identity, for example. I read The Hunt for Red October and it was okay (LOVED the movie!) but cannot face another Tom Clancy tome, ugh. This is CPA Boy's favorite author though.

I am not a big mystery fan either but I have read a handful. I read Sue Grafton's A is for Alibi, liked it fine and decided not to pursue the alphabet series any further. I think they would be entertaining but there are too many other books I'd rather read. I read a scrapbooking hobby mystery series by Laura Childs which is cute but not well written. I read them because they are short, feature a scrapbooking shop, and take place in New Orleans (my hometown). The "mystery" is serviceable at best but I like reading about the French Quarter (where the heroine lives) and other New Orleans stuff (food, Mardi Gras). I like the more unusual mysteries like the Flavia de Luce novels; she's 11 years old. I also adored a book I read called The Victoria Vanishes in the Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery series. It was very funny. It turns out to be the 6th book in the series so I need to go back and read the earlier volumes.

I know everyone's taste is different but I really don't understand how people who delve into just one genre do it. In other words, how does one read every "cozy" mystery to come out? How do you stand one more romance novel, especially when that's all you read? I get too bored reading the same type of book!

As for romance, I have read exactly 2 Harlequin romance novels in my life; that was plenty. Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" books are considered romances (among other genres) but she has pretty much made her books more historical in recent volumes. There should probably be another category under Romance: Vampires. Ugh.

Of these categories, the ones I gravitate towards are Science Fiction and Fantasy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE dystopian  novels! Just read a teen book from the 1970s called The House of Stairs. I can thank Mr. Frank Levy and his Speculative Fiction class at Mandeville High for the genesis of this love!

Alternate history is great too Robert Harris's Fatherland is a good example). I haven't tried steampunk yet but I have a series on my Kindle to get to at some point, so we'll see. In the fantasy genre, I guess I would be a reader of Horror (Stephen King, for example), Comic (Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker's Guide, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books), High/Epic (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, etc...), and Traditional (I think this would cover children's series like Harry Potter, Septimus Heap and Bartimaeus).

I also read books that aren't categorized on this list. Literary fiction, I guess?? Where should a book like Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides go? Or even something like Catcher in the Rye? Where does Historical Fiction (Edward Rutherfurd's Sarum) go, assuming it wouldn't be considered a Historical Romance (Gone with the Wind or Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber)? So this genre list is incomplete.

I like a lot of non-fiction too and that's a completely different animal. Subjects I like reading about:
  • The Tudors: Henry VIII & Elizabeth I specifically. I like non-fiction AND historical novels almost equally. I didn't watch "The Tudors" though because we don't get Showtime.
  • RMS Titanic and other shipwrecks
  • Serial killers: real ones, not necessarily fictional characters
  • Lucille Ball, Katharine Hepburn, Jean Harlow, Great Garbo: fascinating women
  • Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra, Queen Victoria and her descendants (especially Nicholas & Alexandra)
  • Language, specifically the history of English
  • Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other related geology/meteorology
  • World War II, especially Hitler & the Nazis and the Holocaust
I know I am missing a few topics!

Time to go read!

1 comment:

  1. Honey! Your taste is so dark! Nazis, serial killers, shipwrecks?!

    I like reading YA and cookbooks and contemporary women's fiction (not to be confused with chick-lit, which I loathe). Our only areas of overlap are biographies! I will send you the article I wrote about Jean Harlow -- she was fun to research.