Hi friends 👋🏻 After my previous post, I’ve been thinking a lot about which genres just don’t seem to agree with me. I have my favourite genres as most people do, but I don’t like to box myself in too much and I will very rarely say no to an entire genre, but rather specific tropes.
But I’m not here to talk about tropes, for now, I’m here to rationalise why certain genres just don’t work for me. While I won’t say no to a genre, there are definitely some that I’ve tried numerous times and now I just kind of avoid them.
Saying that I can’t get into high fantasy may be a little hypocritical of me because I love the Grishaverse and that series has been classified as high fantasy before, but to me, high fantasy is series like The Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire. If I see a map or a family tree at the beginning of a book, my mind goes into overdrive because there is no way I’m going to remember who every character is or where every location in the world is. Heck, I still have a hard time remembering characters from the Grishaverse, and I will admit that when I read King of Scars I had to remind myself of who Zoya is. And she’s one of the main characters. I probably don’t have the memory span to read high fantasy, but I still have yet to find a series where I remember every single aspect.
I’ve talked about why I prefer soft sci-fi before, and my main reason is that I prefer sci-fi that focuses on humanities (sociology, psychology, anthropology) rather than STEM subjects. Hard sci-fi tends to have a focus on scientific accuracy and deals in objective facts, while soft sci-fi is more escapist and be on the more philosophical side. I also often find hard sci-fi books to be too dry for my tastes so I prefer to watch hard sci-fi movies than read books. Watching a spaceship can be so much more fun than reading about it.
It’s porn. You either like porn or you don’t. I’m not against pornography but I don’t actively seek it out in my books. A friend of mine tried her best to get me into BDSM erotica after she read the Fifty Shades series and it’s just never been something I want to try. I think I can’t get into erotic books because sex can be a tricky thing to write. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve written sex scenes before (or that I’ve published them to AO3), but when writing sex you have to make sure that it is arousing. On one side of the scale, you have what is sometimes called “IKEA erotica” where it’s too mechanical, and then on the other, you have Mills and Boon prose which is so overblown with vague euphemisms that you don’t know who’s doing what to who. And don’t get me started on the numerous different ways people describe genitals. I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve read some horrific descriptions of penises in my time.
Adult Paranormal Romance
A lot of the issues I have with adult PNR are the same as those I have with erotic fiction. Most of the adult PNR I’ve read are also erotic and some of the sexual content in those books was a bit uncomfortable to read. I used to be very into YA PNR when I was a teenager thanks to the Twilight series, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve drifted away from the genre. Those books are written for teenagers and are about teenagers and as an adult, I don’t feel comfortable reading books that lovingly describe teenage boys’ bodies. I’ve tried to make the jump to adult PNR, but I just can’t seem to find any that I like because of the sexual content. I’m not a kinky person so a lot of the dynamics between the main couples can make me cringe.
History has never been my favourite subject and I can only really get into historical fiction if it has elements of other genres. I enjoyed the Stalking Jack the Ripper series because they’re mystery stories and don’t just tell the story of a young woman in Victorian England going about her day of being a woman. I’m okay with genre fiction books being set in certain historical periods if it’s relevant to the story, but when I talk about historical fiction, I mean books like those that Philippa Gregory writes that pride themselves on historical accuracy and are loosely based on true events. If it feels more like reading a non-fiction history textbook than it does a novel, I’m not going to feel it.
I have such a strained relationship with literary fiction that I could go on for days about why it’s not one of my favourite genres. I admire authors who are able to create works of art with just words, who have experimental styles and are willing to break the “rules” of writing, but that doesn’t always mean that I’ll enjoy reading it. Too often, literary fiction has been a total slog to get through because a lot of the literary books I’ve read focus more on being artistic than telling a story. I also hate the idea that literary fiction is “superior” to genre fiction and that literary books are the only ones worth studying. That kind of attitude is what turns a lot of students off of studying literature and reading, in my opinion. I just hate the concepts of “high art vs lowbrow art” in general because it comes across as so elitist. I don’t need to force myself to read War and Peace or Finnegan’s Wake in order to be considered a book lover, thank you very much. I already have a Masters degree in English so I feel like I’m done with those types of books until I feel like picking one up.
I am aware that audiobooks are a medium and not a genre, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get used to listening to them. It’s important that audiobooks exist because they allow people who can’t see or have vision problems or migraines to be able to read without their eyes, but I have the opposite problem in that I have issues with my hearing. I recently got one of my ears vacuumed, but that hasn’t taken away my issues with processing sounds. Someone could be right next to me and it will take me a while to understand what they’ve said. The best way for me to use audiobooks is actually to have the text in front of me so I can read along, but that kind of defeats the purpose of using an audiobook in the first place. I also don’t have the best attention span so if my mind wanders while I’m listening to something, it’s gone and not coming back.
talk to me!
Are there are genres that you can’t get into? Are you willing to give them a try or do you just stay away from them?
I agree with quite a few of these! Audiobooks a million percent. I want to, so badly, but my brain is just not a fan, and I cannot stop my mind from wandering. I am apparently a far more visual than auditory person! High fantasy is definitely one I struggle with, I agree that it is just too much, and I feel like I have to figure out this whole new system and I just cannot! Same with hard sci-fi. If it is too technical, I feel like I am in school, not reading for fun. I can’t do erotica either, I think for the exact same reasons you mentioned! And PNR I think is just not my jam in general, basically. A few here or there I can be enticed by, but for the most part, nah. Also VERY much agree about literary fiction! I do like some historical, but I am kind of picky about it I think! Love this post!
I wish I could train my brain to not wander when listening to things, but it just wants to 🙃 And hard sci-fi makes me feel like I’m in school too! We must have the same brain or something 😀
Ha! We are like…twins? 😉 Except that I will read anything sci-fi if the blurb strikes my fancy, so I’m guaranteed to stumble upon some hardcore sci-fi now and then. I do prefer the soft kind myself, though. As for high fantasy and historical, I just…don’t like them at all, and I go out of my way in order not to read books with sex in them (though sometimes it rears its head anyhow) because they make me uncomfortable.
“I don’t need to force myself to read War and Peace or Finnegan’s Wake in order to be considered a book lover, thank you very much. I already have a Masters degree in English so I feel like I’m done with those types of books until I feel like picking one up.”
We must be long lost twins! 😂 I get caught off guard when books have sex in them, especially when it’s one that I didn’t expect to have graphic sex scenes in it. It’s something I’d rather go looking for myself than have it just pop up in something that was rather clean for the most part.