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Genres: Likes and Dislikes

I know the idea of genres has always been somewhat controversial because of the difficulty in pinning a book into a pigeonhole of a classification, but I do think genres are necessary to at least give broad approximations of what a given book is about. Without them, it would be difficult to quickly describe a certain novel or even to organize books in something like a library or in an online catalogue.

Despite this obvious usefulness, I still feel that the existence of genres can sometimes be a bad thing, and this arises primarily from stereotyping. This happens at one point or another to most people, and for me it happened with science fiction. I found that I just, in general, do not like "traditional" science fiction, and so for the most part I have avoided such books, sticking mainly to sci-fi like Malinda Lo's "Adaptation" instead of, say, something by Asimov.

Recently, however, I was persuaded to read Ender's Game, which had many of the elements of "traditional" science fiction - spaceships, aliens, a nearly all-male cast, a future society, and so forth. Yet despite this, I found myself enjoying the book a great deal. Because I had stereotyped the genre of science fiction to be something dull with little character development, I prevented myself from trying other works that I also might potentially enjoy.

So, what do you think about the existence of genres? Are there any genres you try to avoid?


Annette said...

I always say I don't particularly car for fantasy. But then I find fantasy books that I, yea, genres can confuse things. Good writing, great characters, compelling plot -- I can read anything with those elements!

Stephanie Ingrid Sarah Kristan said...

We don't *avoid* any genres... but we're definitely drawn to contemporary and fantasy the most. Like you, we think genres are kind of a necessary evil. But maybe the future will reveal a better system?

Bookworm1858 said...

I tend to avoid horror just because I'm such a wimp. But I try to stay pretty open to all genres-it only takes one book to make you reassess a genre!

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