Monday, July 13, 2009

What's in a Genre?

As I have mentioned before, I love books. I love to read and do so quite a bit more frequency than I used to. With that in mind, also knowing that I used to work at a small used book store, and being the daughter of an English teacher has made me a bit of a genre snob.

After yet another foray with my book club and a bottle of wine mostly between me and ShoeDiva we took a stroll around Powell’s to sober up. Giggling at the counter culture nick-nacks with ShoeDiva and FishSticks I started to think about my lack of experience with genres outside of “Literature” and “General Fiction” (This could have been a result of a conversation they had been having but the alcohol has wiped that memory from my mind). When the giggles died down I turn to FishSticks and ask if she could recommend a good bodice ripper to me. She looked at me and a smile spread across her face as she began to ask questions and lead me over to the Romance section of the store. I sighed to myself wondering slightly what I had gotten in to and sheepishly answering her questions.

Up until recently I looked down my nose at the Romance and Sci Fi genres, I could see why people might enjoy them, but it wasn’t something I could get in to. In fact, while I worked at the used book store I had women who came in regularly to trade the romance novels they’d blown through for a new set. I couldn’t help but wonder at the time what the draw was. I turned to the back cover to read the description on a Nora Robert’s book and had to keep myself from laughing too hard at the novel’s synopsis. Maybe I took myself too seriously, maybe I took my reading habits too seriously, but I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to read anything in that genre. Now though, the notion strikes me that as in all genres there are different levels of quality, and what better way to find out than to ask some who I know and trust?

Having fettered down her options down to a manageable queue of likely possibilities, FishSticks starts to hand me books from the shelf when I have two in my hands and she’s going for a third and I can’t help but say: “Wait!” I didn’t even know if I could finish one of these let alone three and the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint my friends after a tentative step into the Romance novel wading pool.

It was three days ago that I walked out of Powell’s having purchased my first Romance novel. I’m sure this book is training wheels for the likes of me – a story of a woman who wakes up a vampire and some innuendo thrown in. So far it has been a quick and overly simple read. I believe I shall now refer to the bodice rippers as the “Brain Candy Genre”.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

That's exactly what they are! Brain Candy!