Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Chat: Do You Have a Favorite Genre?


I had a fantastic library haul on Thursday -- look at all those beauties! Somehow a whole slew of my holds came in at one time, but that's ok because three of the books are brand-new, never-before-checked-out, and that is such a treat when it comes to library books.

There were so many exciting books in my library bag that I just had to take a picture for Instagram, and as I was lining them up, it struck me what a wide variety I had in my hands: we've got fiction, sci-fi, women's fiction, memoir, thriller and fantasy. And it got me thinking about genres, and how my tastes have expanded in the past couple years. I don't think I even have a favorite, or preferred genre -- a comfort zone -- anymore. I'm reading more non-fiction than ever (not as much as I'd like to, though), I've been introduced to the world of graphic novels, and every once in a while I'll even give a young adult book a shot.

Five years ago, my tastes were more clear cut: I mostly read general fiction, historical fiction and mysteries with some chick-lit here and there -- basically the New York Times bestseller list. Some authors have come and gone from my reading repertoire, but I still enjoy all those genres -- and more. In the past year or so, I've gotten into both science fiction and fantasy, and I feel like I've only brushed the surface. The more I read, the more I want to read! Non-fiction, graphic novels, horror, military fiction and classics also find their way onto my TBR list these days, alongside the sci-fi, high fantasy, urban fantasy and everything else.

I think the reasons for my expanding tastes are threefold. At 30, I've had plenty of time to explore what kinds of books I prefer, and it turns out I like a lot of stuff! Blogging has definitely helped introduce me to new authors and genres -- I never would have read a young adult book if it weren't for recommendations from other bloggers, and seeing certain sci-fi and fantasy books raved about definitely encouraged me to give them a try, kicking off my exploration of those genres. My library jobs have probably been the biggest influence on discovering new books to sample. Working circulation, I'd check out, check in and cart books all day long, as well as process new materials. I found some awesome 5-star reads just because I happened to scan the cover while getting them processed and ready for the new books shelf. And of course, hanging out with bookish people all day helps too, especially when we all had different tastes and chatty personalities.

So back to the question at hand: favorite genres. Several years ago, if pressed, I'd have probably said historical fiction. Now, while I may gravitate toward some a bit more than others (and romance and contemporary YA really aren't my thing), I'd say I no longer have a favorite genre. That's really no surprise since that describes a lot of my life. I love all kinds of music from country to rock to hip-hop to classical. Ask me to choose my favorite food? Mexican! No wait, Italian! But... burgers! Instead, I prefer a good blend of books, like in the photo above. Give me crime thrillers, psychological thrillers and spy thrillers, give me memoirs, give me WWII and aliens, art forgery and magic.

Obviously, though, all genres are not for everyone and that's just fine. I'm fascinated that so many bookworms are united by our love of reading, but that love manifests differently for everyone. For instance, I follow a fabulous Instagram account owned by a woman who reads almost entirely Scandinavian thrillers and mysteries. For me personally, though, I feel like my broadening tastes has given me a much richer reading experience, helped avert reading slumps and inspired me to be constantly excited about books.

So tell me: do YOU have a favorite genre or are you more like me, sampling a little bit of everything? What categories of books do you like and which ones do you stay away from?


  1. What a great discussion. I like to think I read a pretty good variety but would definitely say I gravitate to contemporaries - YA and women's particularly. I do love thrillers, memoirs, some other non fiction, some fantasy and sci-fi and historical. I do feel like i need t be in the mood for some of my lesser read genres otherwise it isn't as enjoyable. I would love to push myself to read even more out of my comfort zone though.

    1. I agree with you about needing to be in the right mood for certain genres. If what you're really craving is a fast-paced thriller, something like non-fiction or literary fiction can feel like a slog, even if it's really good.

  2. I think my tastes have changed over the years. I used to read more classics when I was younger, then I was into mostly chick lit and historical fiction. If I look at my current TBR, there are a lot of mysteries/thrillers and adult contemporary. I'm trying to broaden my reading horizons, because there are just so many good books out there!

    1. How funny -- it seems like our tastes are reversed. When I was in college, chick-lit and historical fiction were my bread and butter, but now I don't read nearly as much women's fiction. And I'm constantly trying (and failing) to add more classics to my reading list. I have tons on my TBR, but I never seem to pick them up. (I do plan to finally read "Pride and Prejudice" this year, though!)

    2. I only read Pride and Prejudice for the first time this year, too! Also, I see you have The Things We Keep in your photo above - I absolutely loved that one!

  3. I'm like you in that I like a lot of different types of books. I generally fall back on mysteries and urban fantasy as my favorites, but then I feel as if I leave so many other favorite types of books out.


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