I won’t be partaking every Wednesday – if I try to blog on a particular day each week, I always end up losing interest – but I thought it would be a fun meme to dip in and out of.
I’ve been a bit naughty as the following aren’t really I’d consider genres, but I’m just not a big fan of genre books. I consider my favourite books to be so special, and compartmentalising them this way takes away from their uniqueness for me. It feels like an insult to categorise them and lump them in a genre with a load of books that aren’t in the same league.
This is one genre I can get on board with.
The first historical novel I read was called The White Queen, and I thought it was by Jean Plaidy but extensive Googling has proved me wrong. Of course, when I try to Google the actual author, it just keeps coming up with Philippa Gregory’s novel of the same name. (Doesn’t help that both books are set during the same period!)
I loved this book for a long time and it inspired my interest in the Plantagenet era. Sadly, I lent it to a friend and never got it back.
Contemporary Young Adult.
I don’t consider this a proper genre: YA is the audience; contemporary is the setting. But by these standards, historical fiction isn’t really a genre either, so I’ll let it slide.
I’m not a massive fan of YA contemporary, most of which tend to focus too much on romance, but I do find myself reaching for it when I’m in the middle of a slump or looking for a quick, fun, easy read. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl got me into YA as it is today, but I was originally drawn to teen books by Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret as I was a big fan of her children’s books and this was definitely one of the first books that got me into older reading. Are You There, God? is probably a bit young to be considered YA, but as it got me into books about pre-teen and teen characters, I’d consider it a gateway into the world of YA. From that, I went on to things like Fear Street by R. L. Stine, then the Girls in Love series by Jacqueline Wilson, and these all left me with a love for younger novels that never made me feel embarrassed to pick up a YA book.
Funny story – I was in Waterstones the other day and a woman about my age was talking on the phone. She was saying that she couldn’t help coming up to the YA section (which we were a few rows away from at the time) because she felt like her reading age was too young for adult books. I caught her eye and grinned, intending to be all ‘haha I know how you feel’ but she went bright red and turned away because she obviously thought I was judging her. I sent a longing look after her when she left like, ‘Be my friend… I read stupid books too…’
Mysteries & Detective Stories.
I was more into genres when I was a little kid than I am now, but that’s because at that age I would read literally anything I could get my hands on. (I’ve become far too snobby in my old age.) I was a huge fan of mysteries in particular, and Enid Blyton was Queen of these. I loved all her books and especially all of her mysteries, but I read The Famous Five first and loved them most of all. I spent so much time with Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Tim that I was basically in their gang.
(Also, it’s only just occurred to me that George wasn’t just a tomboy – she was transgender. She wanted to be a boy, and to be considered a boy. This is very progressive for an author whom we have established is a massive racist.)
Strangely, I don’t like reading detective novels as an adult. (I love detective TV shows though.) I’ve tried Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie and got nothing out of them. I don’t even much like the Cormoran Strike series by J. K. Rowling. Can anyone recommend any really good, modern detective/mystery novels?
Turns out I have 2 genres that I like!
Dystopian fiction is genre-iffic, as well. It follows such a strict pattern, and I know a lot of people dislike it for this reason. However, I love that pattern so I’ll give most dystopias a go.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld was probably the first dystopian I ever read, but back then there wasn’t much dystopian fiction around (apart from George Orwell). Skip ahead a few years and The Hunger Games came out at the cinema. I loved it and read Suzanne Collins’ trilogy immediately after, and now I love myself a bit of dystopian YA.
Like most people, I first had to read classics at school, but unlike most people, I usually really enjoyed the books on the curriculum. (We all have our likes and dislikes, but I wasn’t one of these who will automatically hate a book just because we had to study it. I actually enjoyed the close readings you have to do at A Level.) Generally we read Shakespeare, but when I got to GCSE level I had to study To Kill a Mockingbird, which remains my all-time favourite standalone book.
My mum’s book-buying habits are worse than mine, which meant she had a beautiful oak bookcase full of beautiful literary classics, none of which she had ever read. I was (and still am) obsessed with this amazing matching collection so I started to pick up a few. I read Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, both of which pushed me towards wanting to read more classics.
Thanks for stopping by!