Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Genre Reading: Just My Type

According to a recent article in WIRED magazine:
“There are multiple theories for the genre dominance in digital publishing, including the appeal of anonymity offered by e-reader devices, which don’t display the cover of a potentially embarrassing book for all the world to see.  But the digital delivery system also offers immediacy and ease of access for material that often is serialized and written to make you want to know what happens next, as soon as possible. Liate Stehlik, senior vice president and publisher at HarperCollins, subscribes to that idea, at least partially. Genre fans, she says, became “early adopters” of the digital format because e-books are the optimal format “for people who want to read a lot of books, quickly and frequently. Digital has replaced the paperback, certainly the paperback originals. I think the audience that gravitated to eBooks first really was that voracious reader, reading for entertainment, reading multiple books in a month across multiple genres. “ http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/06/digital-publishing-genre-fiction/

While I find the idea of a “plain wrapper” e-book pretty silly, and I disagree that paperback novels have quite yet gone the way of the dodo (nor do I want them to),  I thought the concepts about genre books and their user base of fast, frequent and, high quantity readers, espoused in the WIRED article, were quite interesting.

We may be Mystery Buffs, History Mavens, or Sci-Fi Fans, but many readers often repeatedly choose to enjoy the same type of book over and over.  Reading not just for entertainment, but also for comfort, we like knowing what to expect from a book, perhaps not the individual plot, but in terms of  the broad feel, style, setup or resolution of a story. As readers, we know what we like, and we know what we want, and that is often a story in a particular genre.
Genre refers to an assigned category which identifies the type of book (also musical compositions and films) through a short one- or two-word subject description.  Similar stories are grouped into categories recognized by both readers and the book industry.  
The majority of our library’s collection is broadly divided between “Fiction” and “Nonfiction”, but DPL does make use of genres to organize a substantial part of the collection. For instance, within Fiction, we have separate shelving for Romance Paperback, Inspirational Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Western and Graphic Novel.  The CamelliaNet catalog also allows readers to browse and filter results for digital material by genre.
Following is a list of some literary genres and sub-genres. Whether available in electronic or print format, we have books from all of these categories available at Decatur Public Library! What are you favorites?  (Personally, in nonfiction, I love reading MEMOIRS, and in fiction I lean heavily toward Speculative Fiction and its various sub-genres.)  If you are ready to branch out beyond old standbys, what piques your interest to try as something new? This is by no means a complete list of genres; can you think of others?


Space Opera                                                           Fiction in Verse
Hard Science Fiction                                           Political Satire
Urban Fantasy                                                       Experimental Fiction
Urban Fiction                                                         Historical Romance
 Amish Inspirational                                           Pulp Fiction
Cyberpunk                                                             Family Saga
Steampunk                                                             Magical Realism
 Travel Adventure                                               Sword & Sorcery
Action                                                                       Fanfic
Brit Lit                                                                      Alternative History
Children’s Lit                                                         LGBT Lit
Dark Fantasy                                                         Humor
Literary Fiction                                                     Short Story Anthologies
Offbeat/Quirky                                                     Movie/Television Tie-In

Cozy Mystery
Crime Noir
Southern Gothic
Contemporary Fiction
Contemporary Romance
Paranormal Romance
Chick Lit
Dystopian Fiction
Conspiracy Thrillers
Military Suspense
Medical Suspense
Historical Fiction
Illustrated Picture Books
Police Procedural Mystery
YA Fiction

 A few nonfiction genre categories:
Photo Essay                                                            Biography
Memoir                                                                    True Crime
Self Help                                                                  Pop Culture
Politics                                                                      How-To
Travel Guides                                                        Playscripts
Poetry                                                                       Crafts &/Hobbies
Sports / Leisure                                                    Narrative History

--Heather W. Ward, Reference Assistant