I think as bookworms we all have at least a couple of genres that we mostly stick in, and the big one for me is fantasy. There’s just something about kings and queens, and dragons, and magic, and sword-fights that I just can’t get enough of, and this has pretty much been the case since childhood when I became obsessed with The Lord of the Rings.
I also have a pretty strong penchant for historical fiction (must be all those kings and queens and sword-fights again!) and YA (mostly fantasy YA, to be honest!), and for the most part, I seem to stick within these three genres. I’ll maybe have the occasional foray into a different genre – maybe a little non-fiction here, or a crime thriller there – but then I’ll always return to what’s comfortable and familiar.
And whilst it’s great to have that one genre that feels like the bookish version of home, sometimes I think a little variety can be a good thing. There are countless books I don’t even bother to look at in the bookshop just because they aren’t one of my ‘preferred genres’, and I’d probably love a lot of them if only I’d give them a chance!
So here are the genres that I would like to read more of, if only I can tear myself away from fantasy for long enough!
- Science Fiction
For ages, I classified myself as a science fiction reader, mostly because I really got into the whole dystopian trend a couple of years back, and I tend to group it in with fantasy (a lot of bookshops have a ‘fantasy and sci-fi’ section, as opposed to two separate sections). But actually, when I think about it, I really don’t read all that much science fiction, which is something that suddenly struck me when I picked up a copy of Alastair Reynolds book Revenger in Waterstones the other day. I was really intrigued by the blurb, but realised I couldn’t remember the last book I’d read that was actually set in space… Anyway, I read and really enjoyed it, and it made me wonder why I don’t read science fiction more often!
- Urban Fantasy
I absolutely adore fantasy, yet when I was thinking about it the other day, I realise I tend to like a very specific type of fantasy. I love the whole ‘swords and medeval worlds’ kind of fantasy, but there’s so many other types of fantasy out there for me to explore! Namely urban fantasy. I guess the title ‘urban fantasy’ has always made me think of stuff like The Mortal Instruments series, which I started reading, but wasn’t overly fussed with, and that’s maybe what has put me off.
But I definitely intend to give it another go soon, so I’d welcome any urban fantasy suggestions!
I’m not great with gore and I’m a total scaredy-cat, so it’s not hard to work out why I’ve always avoided horror. But at the same time I do love a good old-fashioned ghost story, the kind that isn’t all blood and guts, but sends a little shiver up your spine, so if I could find more stuff like that I would probably enjoy some horror.
- Literary fiction
I’ve always considered myself a reader of literary fiction – I like a book that can challenge me and I enjoy unusual formats. However, I realised the other day that it has literally been an eternity since I’ve read an out-and-out literary book, and I think it’s because of the huge amount of them I had to read at university. It kind of beat my love of literary fiction out of me, but it’s been three years since I’ve graduated, and I’d love to get back into it.
A while ago I read Death Note and really, really enjoyed it! I wasn’t that accustomed to reading any kind of graphic novel, and reading from right to left took some getting used to, but I loved the story and the artwork, and the way the format seemed to keep up the pace (I could read one of the two-volume editions easily in a couple of days). Death Note seems to be a lot of people’s first experience with manga, and I’d love to explore the genre a lot more!
So are there any genres you rarely read that you would like to get into more?