I like to challenge myself in my reading. I like to discover genres that I enjoy and I want to read as broadly as possible. When I started reading more short story collections I was unsure how that experiment would go (spoiler: it went really well.) but I went ahead anyways. It took a while to feel like it’s a genre I have a handle on and know what I like and don’t like. And if I am perfectly honest, I am still unsure whether I really have figured that last part out.
I like a great variety of genres: Fantasy and its subgenres, fiction (general and literary), memoirs (especially those written by women), short stories, re-tellings…
But I am starting to figure a few things out:
- I gravitate towards stories told or framed in an unconventional way (which is why I LOVE Christa Wolf’s Kassandra, or David Mitchell’s work).
- I LOVE stories that jump in time.
- I enjoy both highly introspective books as well as those with alternating viewpoints.
- I don’t care whether a book is told from first or third person perspective, but I LOVE short stories from a first-person-plural perspective and I adore N. K. Jemisin‘s guts to start her trilogy off in a second person narrative (Also, if you haven’t read her you really really should).
- I often prefer fiction by women, especially fantasy, but a few of my all time favourite authors are men (Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, or Anthony Marra come to mind).
- In non-fiction I really really prefer books written by women.
- I struggle with historical fiction (The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock being a recent example: everybody seems to love it and I found beyond slow).
- I have not felt like reading YA in a while and have very few YA books left on my physical TBR shelves.
- There are a few genres I very rarely read: anything crime related (especially psychological thrillers), erotica, and romance. And I read nearly no poetry anymore (that is a point for another discussion though because here I have complicated feelings about my English proficiency and how that relates to poetry).
But even though I know so much about my reading tastes, I am really not all that great at a) sticking with my gut feeling – which is why I sometimes end up with ARCs that I really should have ended up with and b) anticipating which books I will love beyond measure. But I guess that is fine because everything else would be kind of boring.
I am partly writing this to remind myself what works for me and partly to see what might have changed next year at this time. Because while I am reading more sci-fi this year I will for sure add another project to my reading next year (even though I am not sure what that will be just yet).
What are the oddly specific things you like or dislike in fiction or non-fiction?