Thursday, June 14, 2012

Exploring New Genres

Though I love adventures (moving cross-country or taking an overseas trip, for example), I am also in many ways a creature of habit. Kudos to those daredevils among us who step out of their comfort zones on a daily basis—who make it a point, a priority, a lifestyle, to try anything and everything new.

I am not one of those people. I always order the same coffee drink, and the same meal at my favorite restaurant, and I tend to read the same type of books over and over. My genre of choice has always been contemporary fiction (YA and women’s fiction, specifically). Until a few years ago, I had not read many, if any, paranormal, dystopian, or high fantasy novels. I’m pretty sure that I would have never crossed paths with Harry Potter or Bella Swan if friends had not literally placed those books in my hands. But I learned that branching out is good, and empowering! I discovered a whole world of literature I was missing out on.

At the suggestion of a fellow writer, I dipped into dystopian with Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD. Immediately hooked, I gobbled up Ally Condie’s MATCHED, The UGLIES series, THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy, and Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT. And while paranormal/supernatural novels aren’t the first thing I grab, I was floored by Laini Taylor’s books and I even enjoyed my first-ever zombie read—Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Heather Dixon sold me on fairytale remakes with her novel ENTWINED. And fantasy! I was surprised that I enjoyed this genre so very much—thank you, Robin McKinley. 

Contemporary fiction is still my favorite genre, but now that I’ve branched out, I’m like a kid in an ice cream shop, wanting to taste all the flavors. Next on my list are historical fiction and steam punk. Got any suggestions for a first timer?

How about you? Do you tend to stick with one or two genres, or do you sample a bit of everything?


Leeanna said...

I'm predictable in a lot of what I do. Same food, same drinks, same sleeping position, etc.

Books is one of the few areas of my life where I'm adventurous. I have my favorite genres that I gravitate to, but I read almost anything. If a cover or blurb catches my eye, I'll pick the book up and give it a try. I The more I read, the more I know.

lanna-lovely said...

I branch out sometimes but what I read does tend to be dominated by one or two genres. Reading one good book from a genre can have me searching for more like it.

Historical fiction recommendations:

Revolution by Jennifer Donnely, which is actually half historical, half contemporary. It's set in Paris and tells the story of two teenage girls (one a modern teenager, the other living during the French revolution). The writing in it is gorgeous.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is lovely too and so sad. It's about the Soviet deportation of the people in the Baltic states (and it's even sadder because the things Ruta wrote about really happened)

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Weird book, but awesome and it's set over a long period of time but starts in the early 1900's I think, in Mexico.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. The story takes place from about the 70's up until the 00's in Afghanistan, it's one of my favourite books.

Not sure if those are the kind of historical you meant, or if you were looking for more...kings and queens and big dresses and that sort of thing, but I don't really read much of those (unless it's high fantasy, like Finnikin of the Rock). =P


Alissa said...

I only just recently started branching out. Like you, my first choice is contemporary fiction. But I've slowly been getting into more dystopians and paranormals. I think branching out is good. It's growth - reading style. :)

Jennifer Dominique said...

I sample a bit of everything! I get bored easily, haha. I used to be obsessed with paranormal and dystopian YA, convinced that I'd never ever like contemporary fiction unless it was something like Ellen Hopkins. But then, I started seeing all these blogs focusing on contemporary YA, and I was reminded of how much I used to love Sarah Dessen's books (when everyone else was reading Harry Potter, I was reading her stuff), and contemporary, whether it's adult or young adult, is my favorite genre. For me, I can find a gem in any genre...except for maybe those romance novels with Fabio on the front or something. I don't think I'll ever get into those, lol.

Michelle Santiago said...

yay for branching out!! i'm a creature of habit as well but not when it comes to reading. i'll try any genre once lol.

for fantasy/time travel goodness you gotta read Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.

for just plain old fantasy did you read melina marchetta's Finnikin of the Rock (it's just as wonderful as her contemporaries--trust me!).

for more paranormal goodness, read Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. tis so GOOD!!

happy reading :)

Ingrid Palmer said...

Leeanna, "The more I read, the more I know" - very true!

Chelley and Lanna, thanks for the recs; I'll definitely check them out. I read Like Water for Chocolate years ago and loooved it! I've also heard great things about A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Alissa, so right: growth is good.

Jennifer, I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen's books too. And you're absolutely right about being able to find a gem in any many books, so little time!

Andria Buchanan said...

Girl in the Steel Corset and Boneshaker for YA Steampunks. If you want something more adult try Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate.

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