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Get Reading: How To Figure Out Which Genre Is For You

By Books Editor

Sunday, May 7, 2017.

When we’re little kids, a lot of us really love reading. We go to the library every weekend, we browse the stacks at our local bookstores - and then something happens in our teens. We get too cool for reading, or we decide to study English at university, which means that we over analyse books way too much and we lose some of our natural love of reading. But never fear - if you want to get back into reading but you aren’t sure where to start, here are some explanations of the different literary genres to help you figure out where to begin...

Literary Fiction

If you really want to challenge yourself and stretch your brain, literary fiction is the best genre to go for. Although literary fiction often isn’t as fast-paced as other books and it might be harder to get into, it’s characterised by the beautiful, stylised way in which it’s written. If you want to read a book that’s a little like poetry and that explores deeper, more meditative themes then literary fiction is probably for you. The best way to find good literary fiction that you can discuss with other people who have read the same titles is by checking out the latest long lists and shortlists for literary prizes.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is hotting up at the moment and also has a pleasantly diverse shortlist - check out Stay With Me by Ayọbámi Adébáyọ̀, a Nigerian author who writes about family, grief and motherhood, or perhaps Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, which has also been nominated for the Man Booker and follows the story of a young woman who has fled China following the Tiananmen Square protests.

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If you really want to escape from your everyday life, then a good fantasy novel is key to doing that. If you want to try diverse high fantasy then you could check out Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogies, starting with Assassin’s Apprentice, which features a diverse range of characters, most of whom are black. A lot of fantasy about people living in castles with dragons in the background tends to be extremely white, so Hobb’s novels are a beautifully written welcome change to the norm. If dragons and high fantasy sounds a little too far-fetched for your tastes then why not check out urban fantasy? It’s about our world but changed a little, with some lurking fantasy and magic in the background - think about the parallel world of Harry Potter, for example.

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Young Adult

A lot of adults stride past the YA section of a bookshop without even stopping to consider what gems might be lurking there. The truth about young adult books is that they’re just as challenging for authors to write as books for adults are. How many times have you struggled through a boring literary novel just because a newspaper gave it a great review and you thought you should read it? Kids and young adults won’t be nearly as kind to their books, which means that YA novelists need to be on it all the time - for example, here’s a list of 10 enchanting magical realism YA books that did extremely well. The biggest YA release this year is Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and follows the story of Starr Carter, a teenager whose unarmed best friend Khalil is shot by police in front of her. It’s an incredible read, and one of the few books where you should absolutely believe the hype. If you’ve already read it and you’re looking for more books on a similar vein, Patrice Lawrence’s Orangeboy is also excellent.

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Finally, the thriller is really back in vogue - and women are buying far more of them than men are, probably because of the way the domestic noir genre has rocketed after the success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On The Train. Domestic noir is set primarily in the home and follows the experiences of female characters who realise that their lives are not as they should be, whether that’s because of the malevolent influences of their partners, their children, or forces from outside their homes disrupting their lives. If you’d like to get started with some great quality domestic noir, try out Lucy Atkins’s The Night Visitor, Fiona Barton’s The Widow, or Ali Land’s Good Me, Bad Me - they’re all great reads full of suspense. If you prefer a more traditional police procedural, you can’t do better than Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, which starts with the incredible In The Woods.

Get Reading: How To Figure Out Which Genre Is For You

From: Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema | 19.Jul.2020 @07:37:00 | Add Comment
Great piece. But you said nothing about short stories and nonfiction.

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