Monday, February 16, 2009


“Never apologize for your reading tastes.” – Betty Rosenberg

A simple question, “What genres do you like to read?” sent me scurrying to find out more about genres. Much to my surprise, I discovered categories I was not aware existed. Here are a few of them.

Steampunk is speculative fiction which came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. It concerns works set in the past, or a world resembling the past, in which modern technological paradigms occurred earlier in history, but were accomplished via the science already present in that time period. Books by H. G. Wells and Jules Verne fall into this genre.

Hardboiled is crime fiction distinguished by an unsentimental portrayal of crime, violence, and sex, such as books by Mickey Spillane, Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton.

Frame Narrative is a genre whereby readers are lead from the first story to smaller ones within it, such as Canterbury Tales and One Thousand and One Nights.

Urban Fantasy are novels set in contemporary, real-world, urban settings, where magic or paranormal events are commonly accepted to exist. Nation by Terry Pratchett, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and the Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling fell under this category.

Cyberpunk is a science fiction genre noted for its focus on high tech and low life. Examples are Frank Herbert’s, Dune and Isaac Asimov’s, Foundation.

Matron Lit is a genre where the heroine is between the ages of 45-65. Books by Joan Medlicott fall into this category. I was surprised to find Larry McMurtry listed under this genre as well. I also ran across reference to Matron Lit as Hen Lit. I’m not sure which sounds worse.

Baby Boomer, also referred to as Chick lit for the AARP crowd, is written by boomers for boomers. The Botox Diaries, by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger and The Hot Flash Club by Nancy Thayer were listed in this category.

Airport novels (yes, this seems to be an actual genre) are fast-paced novels of intrigue or adventure, like those by Dan Brown or John Grisham that are typically offered by airport kiosks for travelling readers.

Helpful sites I visited for genre lists were Wordsmith Extraordinaire and along with Wikipedia.

Next time I am asked the question of which genres I enjoy reading, I will not hem and haw. I’ll answer truthfully, “Quite a few of them.”

What genres to you like to read or write?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Wells, Rosenbergt, Verne, Grafton, Rowling, Medlicott, McMurtry, genre, Dan Brown,


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've heard of most of those genres, but not sure BISAC lists any as real genres!

And I love reading science-fiction, self-help/inspriational, and marketing books.
Okay, maybe I don't love that last one, but that's been my reading for the past year or two...

L. Diane Wolfe

Nancy J. Parra said...

Wow- I had no idea the genres could be so specific. Thanks for the post.

I read pretty much everything and anything that catches my attention. But I do tend to move in spurts-reading only thrillers for a while, then only self help, then only romance, etc.

Anonymous said...

I really hadn't given much attention to these "new" genres - pretty cool list and informative (to ME at least) post.

I need to get out more.

Patricia Harrington said...

The genres are fun to read about. I suspect more are being created all the time . . . known as parsing the reading public and their respective group profiles. The Matron or Hen Lit, was new to me. I belong to the GA Detection list, and the GA stands for Golden Age mystery or detection fiction. The period of GA is roughly from about 1913 to 1941, or the beginning of Second World War. GA Detection novelists include Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, G. K. Chesterton and others.

I like to write traditional mysteries that have red herrings and clues that have interesting or intriguing settings.

Workin on "A Rum Mystery" set on the Caribbean island of Antigua in 1934.


Pat Harrington

Anonymous said...

My reading habits are rather like my eating habits - I'll consume just about anything. I'm always looking out for new things to sample.

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world