Monday, November 8, 2010

ON BOOKS ~ A Bad Apple Shouldn't Spoil The Genre...


Yesterday, we covered hated movies.  You know, the worst movies you've ever seen?  It was fun to read the passionate posts that evolved.  Sometimes I think we argue more strongly against the things we dislike than we do for the things we care strongly for.  I also find myself disregarding entire genres/niches/styles of various things simply because I've experienced an unpleasant example from their ranks that caused me to generalize against the entire lot.  It is easier to rail against the entire segment than to give it another honest try.  I get so caught up in creating excuses for avoiding it that I don't see how it would take less time to just dive in and test the water.

I think we all do it in one way or another.  Especially with books.  I can't tell you how many people beg off reading the classics because they are too long or too intimidating or they think they are no longer relevant to our world today.  Which is why I posted a fun synopsis of each section of War & Peace with my blogging buddy, Stacy, as we read along in order to show such people that classics are fun, engaging and actually quite relevant because human nature "is what it is."  However....

I avoid fantasy/dystopia/science fiction like the plague.  I used to love fantasy when I was growing up.  It made me a voracious reader of series after series of fantastical worlds that helped me escape from the struggles of my youth.  I've always enjoyed sci-fi TV shows and movies.  Never have a problem buying into the alternate reality they present.  Yet for some reason, I now instinctively turn my nose away from those genres in my reading on a regular basis.  "Ugh," my inner voice always says.  Why?  I think as I grew older I found a love for biographies, memoirs, non-fiction and reality TV.  The real stuff going on attracts me more than worlds that don't exist.  But then again, reality TV is truly...fantasy.

So that I am not a hypocrite for pushing the classics while shunning the fantasy genre with equal conviction, I do my best to shove that "ugh" aside and dabble into my least favorite genre every now and then.  And you know what?  I actually really like it.  I am always surprised too.  I love "The Handmaid's Tale."  I love "The Book of Lost Things."  I love "The Time Traveler's Wife."  I cannot wait to finally begin the "Outlander" series.  You can keep "Brave New World" however.  That is one classic of this genre that I could not get behind.  But I'm not letting it deter my evolution as a reader.

For as lazy as I am in the rest of my life, I refuse to be lazy with my reading habits.  There are books that are terrible.  And they exist in all genres.  Which is why one bad apple is no reason to turn against the fruit entirely.  Otherwise you'd miss out on some very tasty apple pie.

12 comments:

jehara said...

this is so true.

i usually avoid romance novels like the plague. however, i do happen to really like nora roberts. i can thank my mom for that. her books have story, strong women characters, and make me laugh out loud. they are the perfect little pick me up chocolate books.

Lin said...

I'm with jehara--there's no heaving bosoms for me. I really don't like romance novels--ick. Or Sci-fi.

I need to make more time for reading. That may be a New Year's resolution.

Penny said...

I agree with you on the Classics. So many people I talk with are scared to read them, in fear they are boring, or not relevant. SO UNTRUE. It drives me mad to know what they are missing!! If only they would give them a chance :)

kaye said...

Well written. I've enjoyed book blogging because it has encouraged me to try new genre's and styles of writing. I do find myself reading more fantasy than anything else . . . It is my favorite genre even though I am older.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I tend to be just a little snobby about romance and urban fantasy. But I know that is bad. I should probably give them a try just to see.

Margot said...

You are right on, Molly, and I agree with Sandy as well. I've always enjoyed romance and light-hearted novels but, since book blogging took over my life, I don't read and post about them very often. There is a snobbishness about those genres. It's as if a book read just for fun is a bad thing.

On the other hand, I want to be a well-rounded reader so I'm glad to add some of the other genres into my book list. I've read some fantastic books that way and have learned to love them. Stepping out of one's comfort zone can be difficult but can lead to all sorts of entertaining things as well.

stacybuckeye said...

I love to step out of my reading comfort zone (thanks for supporting me in my War & Peace journey). I still have not found the dystopia book that will make me want to read more, but there's always the next one.
I think I read from lots of genres, but my comfort ones are romances and mystery/thrillers. And since I'm getting about 3 hours a sleep (and not in a row) right now you may see me falling back to those books, to hell with challenges :)

Dave and Tami said...

Great thoughts. This theory was proven recently when I actually found a Graphic Novel (and I use the term "novel" very loosely here) that I didn't think was a total waste of paper. I actually liked it. Not that I will stop, harping on them, mind you - but you're right, there are good books in every category.

ds said...

Well said! I confess I remain a snob about romance novels, but last year shattered my misconceptions about Gothic/horror and Stephen King. Challenges are good for that! I discovered an affection for Wilkie Collins, and that the Man from Maine has more depth than I was giving him credit for. Who knows what the next year will bring?

Kathleen said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I'm open to reading all different types of books and just because I read a fantasy book and don't like it doesn't mean there will never be another one in this genre that I will like. I shied away from graphic novels for the longest time and then finally gave them a try. I love the ones I read and am so happy to have found another type of book that I can enjoy!

Izzybella said...

I'm in the minority here as I enjoy paranormal, though I will admit that last week I had to look in the romance section for a particular author I'd heard of-I swear I was skulking like a spy trying as hard as I could to not be seen in that section.

I do love many classics (I will not lie, there are some of them I loathe), as well mysteries, biographies, histories, general fication, and obviously paranormal/urban fantasy. I have no objection to admitting that about 60% of what I read each year in the way of novels is pure trash. I'm not sorry either! Those were some enjoyable reads. But I love being challenged as much as I love being entertained. The best is when you get both at the same time!

Izzybella said...

In addition to general fication, I also love general fiction. :)