Meet & Greet: What’s your favorite genre?

As I was thinking about ways to add to my blog, I thought about what I like in the blogs I read. And one of the things I like the most is when there’s a good group of commenters, a sense of community, a feeling that this isn’t just a place for one person to pontificate but for a bunch of people to hang out. So, I figured, what better way to encourage that than to stage a meet & greet?

So, everybody out there, drop in and say hello! Introduce yourself, post a link to your blog if you have one, or post a link to anything else you want to if you don’t. I know you’re out there… Rather than put all the pressure on you, though, I thought I’d offer a topic of discussion to get things going. If this goes well, I’d like to make this a monthly feature, so we always have something new to discuss.

Posting my list of summer anthro reads made me think once again about my ongoing complaint that “popular anthropology” doesn’t really exist any more. It’s definitely a topic, and sometimes people write about it, but it’s not the kind of genre they print on book jackets and shelve all together in the store. So I’d like to know — What is your favorite genre? And is it something you can always find, like epic fantasy or Edwardian romance, or something you have to put together on your own, like popular anthropology or  clockpunk or historical gay naval officer romance?

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About Jen Moore

I'm a recent library school graduate in Madison, Wisconsin, looking for a full-time professional job and trying to manage a fulfilling life in the meantime. Oh, and I read. A lot.

Posted on July 6, 2011, in Meta and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I’m Grace, and I’m currently in library school. My blog can be found at http://bookswithoutanypictures.wordpress.com/

    As far as genre, I’m going to have to go with either well-written fantasy or 19th century Russian literature (I know that isn’t a genre, but it should be!) A lot of fantasy is not well-written, so it takes some searching to find, lol.

    • Hey, I don’t see why 19th century Russian literature can’t be a genre. What is a genre, anyway, except for something that has more in common with itself than with other things?

      What do you mean by well-written fantasy? I know I can name a lot of crap fantasy, but do you prefer a particular kind of not-quest stuff or just anything that doesn’t read like a D&D campaign?

      • I mean mostly in terms of fantasy that if I keep seeing glaring errors in grammar and syntax, I go into proofread mode and can’t enjoy the book. An author needs to be able to write coherently and to have a decent grasp on the English language. I’ve read far too many fantasy novels where the story could be good, but the writing is so terrible that I can’t get through more than a couple chapters. It makes one wonder where the editors are.

        • It’s true, a lot of fantasy seems rushed out the door, but I think that’s true of anything that gets popular enough that they want to see it published ASAP. (I shudder to think of some of the urban fantasy I’ve flipped through in the bookstore.) So what are some of your favorite fantasy novels?

  2. I really enjoyed Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy, because instead of having Merlin’s character rely on superpowers, his feats of awesomeness were a product of science and engineering.

    I am a big fan of Charles de Lint’s urban fantasy. He’s the guy who pretty much invented the genre, and he’s a fantastic writer.

    I’m also a big fan of Robin McKinley, even though most of her stuff is technically YA, because she assumes that her readers are intelligent. She does a lot of fairy tales retold, but her more original novels “The Hero and the Crown” and “The Blue Sword” are probably my favorites.

    • Oooh, Mary Stewart! I haven’t read those since I was in high school, but I should go back to them.

      I keep meaning to read Robin McKinley, she seems like an author I should love, but I’ve never gotten around to it.

  3. Hi Jen! I’m a new follower and am enjoying your blog so far. I’m a health sciences librarian, but that has nothing to do with my blog.

    If I had to choose a favorite genre, it would have to be the classics. After that, it would be historical fiction. I don’t like to read a lot of fluff, though once in a while it’s fun.

    Thanks for doing this! It’s fun.

    • Hi Julie! I like your blog, it seems awesome.

      I have always been surprised when I find a “classic” novel I like; high school English did bad things. Turns out I actually like Dickens. I still find that weird. (Unless by classics you’re meaning Aristotle, which would also be awesome.)

      So, who are some of your favorite authors? Classics is a wide field…

      • Thanks! I didn’t really narrow down “classics” because I love most of the classics I’ve read – Jane Austen, Dickens, Salinger, Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott, Dostoyevsky, Poe, Fitzgerald, Cummings, Shelley (either), Twain, etc. I guess if I had to narrow it down, I would say that the Victorian era British writers and the American “expatriate” writers of the 1920s-1930s are my favorite. Though I also like the Central/South American “magic realism” authors like Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. lol. I guess this is a hard question for me!

        • Fair enough – that’s an impressive collection! Some day I will dive into Russian literature, it’s only a matter of time. (I have the slight fear that I would actually enjoy War and Peace, and since I like Salman Rushdie and James Joyce’s Ulysses too, this would mean that no one would ever take me seriously ever again.)

          I also want to read more Central & South American magical realism. I have fond memories of a high school English textbook that contained “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” I know I love that but I haven’t read anything else – any recommendations?

  4. Humm.. I generally say that I mostly read Sci-fi and Fantasy, when what I think I mean is that I like to read novels with fantastical elements, that are not set on modern Earth, with either epic plots or strongly developed characters or both, that explore mythological themes and/or the potential of humanity, have beautiful prose when I can get it, which generally contain great female characters and satisfying endings.

    Is that too much to ask? Nah. (For example, I adore Lois McMaster Bujold.)

    I blog about books (and comics and other stuff occasionally) at The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf.

    • Totally not too much to ask! Bujold is wonderful, and there are a surprising number of equally awesome books coming out on a regular basis. Have you read N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy?

      I have actually been reading your blog for a while! I love that you review comics; I’ve always wanted to read more of them, but I’ve never quite gotten the hang of individual issues.

  5. Mood and tone matter more to me than genre. Wrote a couple of blog posts on that recently. They’re here if you care to see them.
    http://dlmorrese.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/beyond-genre-tone-and-mood/

    • That is an awesome and interesting way to think about it. In a lot of ways I think I agree – sometimes I want a particular feeling out of whatever book I’m reading, so I don’t think “I want a SF/mystery/historical book” but “I want something that will make me happy/sad/thoughtful.” I do find that they overlap a bit, because “things that make me happy” include a lot of SF elements, for instance…but not universally.

  6. Hi Jen,

    I just stumbled upon your blog and love it! Good luck in the job hunt…the yucky economy can’t be helping :(

    My blog is http://leahslitandcoffee.blogspot.com/. My favorite genres are fiction (usually the bestsellers, but others sprinkled in there) and crime/mystery. It’s hard to pinpoint one specific genre! :)

    • Thank you! The economy is certainly not helping, but I’m lucky — I have jobs that pay the bills while I’m looking for the job I really want.

      I hardly ever read bestsellers, to be perfectly honest, but I love a bit of mystery now and again. Do you prefer the cozy/detective or the grittier type? I find I bounce back and forth between the two a lot…

  7. Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a shorter novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, so you may want to start there. I liked his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude better, but it is almost triple the size, I think. Another really good, but lengthy, magic realism novel is The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Another good, shorter one is Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. I hope you enjoy whichever you decide to read – I love them!

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