Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A to Z - G (2014)

I'm doing the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year. The basic idea is to blog nearly daily with each day representing a different letter of the alphabet. My entries will be short and book-related.  

G is for...


I wanted to take today to address genre directly and generally. Anyone who reads is familiar with major genres - bookstores and libraries use them to sort books into categories to make them easier to find (and sell, I imagine). Roughly, if you love mysteries, you might like other mysteries (rather than other random authors with a similar last name, for example), so it's useful to have all the mysteries together.  

So there's a couple of problems with genre today. One is that so many books cross-genre, and the other is the popularity of sub-genres.

The latter problem first:  one of my favourite genres is urban fantasy. This is a specific category within fantasy books that features a modern, usually pseudo-contemporary setting with elements of the supernatural/magic alongside the mundane of our world. There's a sense of the familiar mingling with the mysteriously, magically unfamiliar.  

There is a *lot* of urban fantasy on the market right now, and at brick-and-mortar stores, it's all piled in with fantasy, so I have to sift through to find anything new. (And don't get me started on the issue of series and whether those are stocked in their entirety or not!)

Romance is another genre with a lot of sub-genres - contemporary, historical, medical, mystery, etc., etc..  Now, it would be a lot of work to try to split out all of these, but I feel that for the browsing public, wouldn't it be nice if some of the larger sub-genres were given shelf-space together?

Now, books that cross-genre. These are also quite common and I hate trying to find them in the bookstore. The biggest one that I run into are urban fantasy novels with a romantic plot. Inevitably I find them in romance in one store and in fantasy in another, and it drives me batty! I have to imagine that publishers market these books as a specific genre, can we not all agree to abide by that, at the very least?  

Do you find current genre labels satisfying? Do you love bookstores and hate trying to find specific books/genres in them?   I have the most luck now just wandering into a general section and grabbing anything that looks pretty, regardless of genre. 

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