Living With a Book Addict: Being a Genre Snob

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From Reddit

Hello there Reflections fans.  It’s been a little while since I’ve graced the pages of this blog with a Living With a Book Addict series post, so I figured I’d remedy that today.  The subject of my post is genre, and although this is a wide-ranging topic that could encompass genre analysis, genre stereotypes, or any other form of analysis, I shall limit myself to the act of being a genre snob, and what it has done to my reading habits.  I will define said snobbery shortly.

First, the inspiration for this post must go to Reddit.  I spend a good amount of time on Reddit, much to Kimberly’s chagrin, but when the top post today encompassed books (here it is), neither of us could argue the fact that our two favorite pastimes had collided.  I think that this particular bookstore’s idea in covering their books with brown paper and only giving clues to the genre and plot of the book is clever.  It prevents cover stereotyping, and to a lesser extent genre stereotyping.  For example, if you happened to have a particular bias against historical fiction, but noticed the words “manhunt”, “assassination attempt”, and “President”, you could very well be picking up a current Tom Clancy thriller as a historical fiction book about Lincoln’s assassination.  The point is, both contain similar elements of suspense, action, and stately Presidents, but the latter just happens to be set in the past, hence historical fiction.  What someone would originally dismiss purely based on genre alone could actually be quite similar to a book that he or she actually likes.  It’s expanding the old adage of judging a book based on its cover and expanding it to cover a wider meaning.  Because genres aren’t explicitly spelled out, often it’s harder to realize that genre stereotyping is happening, although often one does so based on a perceived opinion about a particular genre.

As far as my own personal involvement with genre stereotyping (or snobbery, as it may be) goes, I have to admit that I always stuck up my nose at the romance genre.  I thought that no matter how you dressed it up, you would eventually get to the sappy and syrupy core of a boring romance between two individuals which would make me bored out of my mind and ready to throw the book out.  In fact just the other day, however, Kim was describing a new crime-based series to me authored by Marie Force (the Fatal Series).  I seemed quite interested in the books, until she reminded me that Force was primarily a romance writer.  My thoughts immediately soured, although I thought back to my original interest in the series.  I was being just as shallow as those who don’t read a book based on a cheesy cover.  I should give it a try.  I will give it a try.  And thus begins my start as a recovering genre snob.

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15 thoughts on “Living With a Book Addict: Being a Genre Snob

  1. I also suffer from romance-bias. I think it’s due to the idea that all romances are Harlequin paperbacks with the same regurgitated plots (I’ve actually seen an author information pack for the Harlequin romances–there’s a list of sexy men’s names and unsexy men’s names included).

  2. I’m a bit of a snob with the trashy romances (anything with Fabio on the cover falls into that category for me). I know it’s not nice to judge and I try so hard not to because I believe any book read is a good thing, but….. It’s so hard not to!

  3. I suffer from two biases myself, anti-romance and pro-fantasy. Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series completely changed that for me. It showed me that a romance can be an excellent story and made me curious enough to reach out into other genre’s I don’t normally read. Figured I was missing out on something.

  4. I don’t know if there’s any genre’s I actively avoid… but I do tend to avoid novellas like the plague. Something about really short fiction irritates me. I rather waste hours of my day on a long story that I can’t put down than a short one I have to. Give romance a try! <-avid romance reader.

  5. I am guilty of this too, I think most people probably are and I put it down to too much choice, because there are only so many books I have time to read so I’d rather play it safe and choose something I’m likely to enjoy rather than try something more outside my usual reading genres. When I’ve stepped outside this I often enjoy the book in question, so I should make more effort.

    Personally, I like reading romance & classics, but there is so much trashy romance out there that I mostly used to read older books until I got an e-reader. Being able to sample the books has widened my horizons a bit into YA/NA but I still have a bias to overcome which is that, if the book is modern, I nearly always read books written by women. This is partly because of liking romance, which seems to be predominantly written by women, but partly it’s prejudice and I’m really not sure why.

  6. I have found the more genre’s I read, my tastes have change some, but mostly I just keep adding more that I like. There are some that I just couldn’t stomach, but I am happily reading almost anything that has a good story and is well written.

  7. I have nominated you (given you) blogging awards. Claim your awards on my blog, please. Just check my most recent post. Thanks!

  8. I love this idea and we’re all biased towards certain genres, usually because we read something terrible and decided not to pursue anything else. Wish I could go pick a book from that store.
    There’s something special about a surprise and it could be the best book you’ve ever read.

  9. Pingback: Todd’s Review of Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius | Reflections of a Book Addict

  10. Pingback: Todd’s Review of The Thieves of Legend (Michael St. Pierre #4) by Richard Doetsch | Reflections of a Book Addict

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