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Reading the Genres

August 14, 2011

Once I finished summer classes in the middle of June, I knew I needed a productive goal for the rest of the summer so I didn’t feel I was completely wasting my time. Though of course, I was still working my two jobs. There was one class I really wanted to take  but now that I only have two semesters left, I don’t have any extra credits left. Unless, of course, I want to spend more money and stay here longer just for fun. Which I don’t think I really want to do. So I decided to do a little studying on my own.

The class is called Adult Reader’s Advisory and it’s all about how librarians recommend books to people coming to the library looking for a good read. Even though I know I would have learned about ten times more if I had really taken the class, it turns out I still got a lot out of my self study this summer. I was able to look at a copy of the syllabus online so I had a good idea of how the class was structured and what was covered. I was also able to check out a copy of the textbook from the library, so I was all set to go! I spent a lot of time learning about the many different genres that are out there and the popular authors in each genre. And I made an attempt to read a book from several different genres. I read a Detective novel by Michael Connelly, a Fantasy by Neil Gaiman, Christian fiction by Karen Kingsbury, a Thriller by Michael Crichton, and a Romance novel by Nora Roberts. I learned that there is something great in each of these different genres!

I didn’t realize before I started this project that I was a little bit of a literary snob. I prided myself that I mostly read “literary fiction,” though of course it was always sprinkled in with science fiction, young adult novels, and graphic novels and comic books just for fun. I never considered reading mysteries or romance novels because I figured they just weren’t for me. Boy was I wrong! I was so hooked by Michael Connelly’s book City of Bones that for two days I couldn’t bear to put it down. I was also reading at the time a novel of literary fiction that won the highly prestigious Orange Prize. But after reading Connelly’s great fast-paced detective writing, I tried to pick the book up again and I just couldn’t get through it. It was way too slow in comparison and not nearly as much fun. I’m sure it’s still a great book and I’ll probably read it again later and love it, but it just goes to show you that I really learned how good a fun popular genre read can be.

Lesson learned, from now on I am much more determined to be wide-ranging in my reading tastes. And if I am going to be a librarian, I guess I really don’t have much choice. I now have a list of 144 well-known authors from the various genres and my new lifetime goal is to someday read them all. Though of course the only problem with that is that new authors are publishing every year, and the list will continue to grow and change. That is the danger of opening your horizons like this. Back when I was more selective in my comfortable, favorite genres, I felt much more confident in being able to read and stay up-to-date on what was new. Now that everything’s game, I’m feeling a tad bit more overwhelmed by just how many fabulous books there are in the world!

So help a girl out. What are your favorite authors and genres, the ones you read when you need something quick and fun?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2011 7:58 am

    I’m always so impressed by how much you do get read. Usually when I’m looking for a good book to read I see what you and Donna are reading on goodreads. So I’m not much help but I always like hearing what you have to say about books.

  2. August 15, 2011 8:17 am

    Two of my favorite authors are Michael Crichton and Anne Rice. I think I’ve read almost everything by both of them. I am somewhat of a literary snob also. I’ve only read Twilight and refuse to read any more books by Stephanie Meyer, her writing is so bad that it makes me sick. I’ve also only read some of the Harry Potter books because her writing is so simplistic that I just can’t enjoy all her books. I may occasionally read simple books but I don’t love them and they don’t make me happy. I need something with a little more meat in it, a little more staying power. I love action and thriller books. If you liked Neil Gaiman read Neverwhere, excellent. I also love reading about history. I also love reading about things that are new to me, for example the Inspector O series is really good and insightful into North Korea, a country I know little about. And The Monster of Florence was enlightening about how different the legal system is in other countries that you think would have the same rights for their citizens as the US does. I did read the first book in The Left Behind series and found the concept fascinating, but once again the writing was quite simple and I just couldn’t keep reading them. Romance novels, how are those? I occasionally read a romance novel but usually not on purpose cuz that’s just not my cup of tea. I don’t like the “He loves me, He loves me not…” drama. Maybe that’s the reason I didn’t like Stephanie Meyer!

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