The Pitfalls of Genre
Last week I was reading A&B author Susanna Kearsley’s blog where she raised the issue of genre and suggested we should read books regardless of how they are pigeon-holed into a category. Similarly I have a friend who’s a bookseller and hates how certain books like Hilary Mantel’s are classed as Literary Fiction, while other books that are just as well written as cast off into less prestigious genres.
And I couldn’t agree more. When I roam a bookshop, I usually try and do a full tour of all the genres because I think I might miss something great. For example, I’ve never thought of myself as a reader of crime/horror but I found Laura Ellen Joyce’s Museum of Atheism in Foyles. It tells tells the story of a murdered six year old beauty queen during the last 24 hours of her life on Christmas Eve in a mountainous, isolated community and I was so hooked I finished it in four days. Likewise I’ve never sought out a romance novel but Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird is on my list to read in the next few weeks.
I understand we need a way to classify books so people can find what they’re looking for, but that also means they potentially miss out on a great read because they just stick to the genres they’ve enjoyed previously.
Next time your in a bookshop, wonder into poetry or science fiction, a genre you’ve never tried and see what the world throws at you.
Do you read one genre or several?
Sophie Robinson, Publishing Assistant
P.S. The Guardian lists 61 different genres of book! Click here for the list