Weekly Geeks: Genre Allergies
Given the prompt by Weekly Geeks this week to discuss my genre dislikes and allergies (or, more positively, my genre loves and recommendation), I decided this was a post in need of a list. Because if there is one genre I really love, it’s a good list.
Three Genres I Dislike/Am Allergic To:
1. Boy-fantasy (see: A Game of Thrones and possibly Eragon, if you asked my co-blogger Kate)
2. Stream-of-consciousness anything (which I guess means the Beats are out as a whole)
3. Poetry (unless it’s Tennyson or “Jabberwocky”)
Three Genres I Like and My Recommendations for Starting in Said Genre:
1. Classic literature – If you like stories about society/societal expectations with emphasis on interpersonal relationships, go for Jane Austen. If you’re more into sweeping morality dramas with amazingly descriptive prose, go Dickens. If you prefer plays, you can’t beat Shakespeare and Wilde. And if you’re looking for something more adventurous, go Dumas. Just don’t start with Trollope; I think he’s an acquired taste. :)
2. Historical Fiction – I wouldn’t recommend a particular book for this genre since it’s so varied. Rather, I’d start with either a time period you love or an author you know is good. Because there are a lot of pitfalls in historic fiction, it can be best to start out with a great author and go forward from there. For example, Rushdie writes some great historical fiction even though you wouldn’t immediately classify him strictly as a historical writer. That said, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is amazing (although you should probably also like a dash of the fantastical and magical to enjoy it) and I’d go for Edward Rutherfurd’s Sarum if you’re looking for a book that traipses through just about every conceivable time period at once because you just can’t pick one.
3. Books about Books – Start with Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris and don’t look back. There’s no comparison.
The more I think about it, actually, the more I’ve realized that I really like hybrid genres. By this, I mean mysteries that take place in the past or historical stories that have elements of fantasy in them. Genre mashing can get so creative and interesting, particularly when authors veer into alternate realities or histories.
What about you? What are your favorite/least favorite genres and what would you recommend I start with? And how do you feel about genre mashing?