Discussion Highlights: Limited by Genre

Last Week’s Discussion:
Limited by Genre

We talk a lot about genres in the monthly event I co-host, Calendar Girls, and it got me thinking. I read in very specific genres. Am I limiting myself? Am I missing out? What if I could broaden my mind and imagination and writing skills if I read more than just my favorite genres? Let’s see what the discussioners thought!

Adam said:

“I definitely agree that a healthy variety is good in all things, but it all comes back to why. Reading for fun often means indulging in less than admirable literary choices, but we’re all free to like what we like, and I think we can all think back to at least one time where we felt pressured to read something because it was “good”, and it felt a lot like work.”

Rae said:

“A person can only feel limited if they personally feel that they are missing out on something and then they can choose what else they want to know.”

Blaise said:

“To the point that we shouldn’t box ourselves in, that we should broaden our minds, I definitely agree. I think my hesitation stems primarily from the whole concept of genre — the categorization is more a marketing tool, I think, than it is a writing tool.”

Trent said:

“In some ways I hate the idea of “genre”. In today’s world, even more than in the past, if you write in genre A, then you have to have x, y and z happen or everyone will hate your book. I’ve read some great books by great modern authors, but I’ve read too many of them that follow that cookie-cutter pattern”

It would seem we have opinions on both sides of the fence: those who support branching out and those who see it as unnecessary. Additionally, we seem to have quite a bit of frustration with ‘genre.’ It seems this has become a too rigid classification for books that is, in fact, limiting the ability to tell stories and has a tendency to cause good stories to fail. Hmm… perhaps this is something we readers should bring to attention of the marketing industry??


Check out this week’s discussion on Thursday at 10am EST:
Hardcover vs. Paperback

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9 thoughts on “Discussion Highlights: Limited by Genre

  1. Really interesting discussion! I personally am on the “branching out” side of this debate. Personally I feel like for all people argue how genre should work and even with the tons of advice on people conforming to genre norms, I think that as readers we appreciate flexibility. I think I’m far more likely to see posts online about “tropes we’re tired of seeing for x genre” than anyone complaining in a review that a book didn’t conform enough. I actually think that people marketing books generally have this disconnect with readers, where they’ll put out a lot of books with, say, love triangles, despite a majority of readers screaming “NO MORE!” (not that that’s a very genre specific example, but you get the idea). I also think that, historically speaking, genre has always been pretty fluid- and it has always been this fluidity that has led to new genres 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh definitely! I always see people complaining about what’s become trope in a certain genre and that really does have to do with the marketing industry because they’re the tap to our flow of books. They control what gets put on the market and what gets the most exposure and awareness before publication. Unfortunately, that means they are often creating and driving the tropes.

      The worst part is that they don’t listen to the community. They just tell them what is good, what they should read, and I don’t agree! I can’t even recall the number of books I’ve absolutely DETESTED after the publishers RAVED about the book. I’m just like… are you serious? This spew of trash heap is what we consider ‘good literature’ nowadays? o.O

      Oh yeah! There are definitely some niche genres that were created by blending and fluidity between genres. Steampunk is one, I believe. Though, I haven’t seen very many good examples of this. (Again, marketing industry isn’t pushing them. so they’re harder to find. sigh)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes- one hundred percent agree!! Yes- that’s exactly what I think and is so often the case!! I often see a massive disconnect in what the community is saying and what the publishers are saying. And I cannot understand it- because I would think they should at least try to listen to feedback. Especially when people are rating their books down by the thousand! Surely they want to get higher ratings to sell more books? And yes especially on what they consider to be good. I always see the most ridiculous divide between traditional media (who usually align with publishers) and ratings on GR and other platforms. (But maybe that’s just me)
        Yes- one hundred percent!! So true!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. To be honest, I’m not sure the marketing industry cares what we think. I mean, if they give lots of hype and publicity to a book before it sells, people won’t know whether it’s good or not until after reviews start pouring in. They’re still going to get amazing sells simply because the book is so widely broadcast to the public. After that, who cares? They already made their quota, right? Ugh.

          Not to mention, I know there are TONS of readers out there who are not nearly as critical as myself and fellow book bloggers. Thus, the books we find to be abhorrent and cheap are still widely accepted and marveled at within the bookish community. (Hence how Twilight was such a big thing. eye roll)

          See, I don’t really pay much attention to what a book gets rated anywhere because… well, it just makes me realize how different my opinions vary from other readers. 😂 I never seem to agree with the majority. Hmm… maybe I should rename my blog to ‘Queen of Unpopular Opinions’. What do ya think? Hahaha!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. haha yes you’re probably right!! That is so true. And it doesn’t matter if people stop trusting them for that author or series, they can always fob people off in the future with another overhyped book. Ughh. That is so true as well! I mean- even if there’s a book that I know has been panned, enough people will like it and read the whole series for it not to matter. haha yes!!
            haha that’s true. Though I do take note if a book has over 4 on goodreads- cos that usually means something interesting is going on (either it’s at the beginning of the hype train or it’s just really sensational- cos it’s pretty rare to have such a high rating) I do find that I end up disagreeing with loads of people anyway. hahaha sounds like an excellent idea!! 😂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Tough discussion! I like to branch out every once in a while. I think everyone should. But it should be a choice when you are ready. We read because we enjoy it and enjoy certain genres and story types. If there is a certain genre we don’t enjoy, we shouldn’t feel forced to read it, and possibly not enjoy it, but we will also never know if we could enjoy it unless we try. By the way, I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award in my latest post. :-*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I think readers have a tendency to write off genres without ever really giving them a shot, but I also agree that if you don’t like it after giving it a try, then don’t worry about it. Like people say: “you can’t appease everyone.” Thus, not every genre will appeal to all people. I just think people may have stereotypes of certain genres and therefore don’t think they’ll like it without trying it. 🙂

      Awww! And thank you so much! I’m honored! wanders off to check it out :p

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You read what you like because you like it! And I don’t think that you’re necessarily closing yourself off to anything – there are so many different types of books, characters, plots, etc within a specified “genre”. It is nice to step outside of it every once in a while. You may find yourself liking something new. But you know you, and there’s nothing wrong with sticking with something you know you enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

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