I’m the first to admit that I used to be a genre snob. There were certain areas in the bookshop that I just didn’t frequent – and I’d never even heard the term ‘genre fiction’, let alone read any of it. Until, that is, a dear friend, to whom I have a lifelong debt, introduced me to the wonderful world of fantasy via Terry Pratchett – Moving Pictures, to be precise.
And now I am as unsnobby as it is possible to be when it comes to reading. I am, in fact, a genre whore %-) I’ll read everything, anything, something, so long as it has words on it – and yes, sadly, this extends to things like food cartons where no other reading material can be found O:)
So now it irks me when people say, “I don’t read sci fi,” or, “I don’t read fantasy.” I dislike the implication that a book’s value is predicated on which shelf it sits on in the bookstore. To me, that’s too much like predicating a human’s worth on what country they come from. There will be people of every race and nationality that you <span style=”FONT-STYLE: italic”>don’t</span> like, of course – but there will also be people you <span style=”FONT-STYLE: italic”>do</span> like. It’s not enough to write a whole genre off because you’ve read one or two bad eggs – or worst, because you’re scared of the idea of it, and haven’t read <span style=”FONT-STYLE: italic”>any</span>thing in that genre.
So, in a celebration of diversity, here are my favourite books in as many genres as I can think of (restricted to books currently in print):
Literary: The Shadow Lines, by Amitav Ghosh.
Epic Fantasy: The Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan.
Urban Fantasy: Magic Lost, Trouble Found, by Lisa Shearin.
Science Fiction: Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.
Space Opera: The Rings of the Master, by Jack Chalker.
Romance: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.
Comedy and Satire: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams and Lords and Ladies (or anything else) by Terry Pratchett.
Middle Grade: the first three Artmis Fowl books, by Eoin Colfer, or the Harry Potter books that count as MG.
Young Adult: Gallagher Girls series, by Ally Carter, Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling, and Saving Francesca, by Melina Marchetta.
Mainstream: Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransom (also classed as YA), and the Anne of Green Gables series, by L.M. Montgomery.
Fable/Mythic: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
I suspect I’ve forgotten a few genres. I shall amend the list as I think of books to add :)