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Let's Procrastinate With Books! Post Four

For a_phoenixdragon, from this list, etc..

5. Which genre(s) don’t you read? Why not?

Never say never! One of the answers to this question used to be “murder mysteries,” and now, well. I don't have rules against reading any kind of book, but there are probably more genres I don't read than ones I do. Spies, for instance. Someday I might be able to get interested, but it hasn't happened yet. Westerns. Horror. True crime. Managerial inspiration. Regular inspiration. Pictures of cats. Mysteries starring cats. Creative nonfiction. It's probably easier to list the genres I do read regularly.

"Why not?" is easier, too. Either the genre and I are temperamentally incompatible (this seems to be the case with "inspiration" and probably also with serial-killer thrillers), or I haven't read anything good enough yet in the genre to make me seek out more of its kind. "Good" is the wrong word: Agatha Christie is a genius, but my adolescent attempts to read Christie all failed. I just wasn't ready to appreciate what she was doing.

In theory, I'd like to read more widely, but in practice I'm pretty lazy about it.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2016 01:54 am (UTC)
LOL!! Better than I am! I got sucked into fanfiction and books went by the wayside for a while!

Sep. 21st, 2016 05:33 pm (UTC)
I'm sure it happens to the best of us!
Sep. 20th, 2016 08:26 am (UTC)
"Inspirational" books (unless they just actually mean sort of devotional quotes) are maddening. I avoid them like the plague, because otherwise that way leads to guilt and exhaustion and feeling crushed by my own inadequacy and a strong desire to make the writer trip on a banana skin in front of at least 1000 people, probably while trying to do one of their totally infallable inspirational ideas.

Or is that a bit mean?

Never say never is pretty wise, though; I applaud you. *nods* Some people seem to manage it, but it's fatal for me. Well, with writing. I'm really really safe from reading stuff I don't want to read right now as I can rarely even read the stuff I'd love to read. And, actually, am now left reading Regency Romances of a kind I'd have died of shame than read a few years back. (Clearly illness was needed to make me get over myself! Probably an inspirational writer would tell me so. And that if I just applied my mind to it, I could indeed get well and read everything I wanted!)

Edited at 2016-09-20 08:27 am (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2016 06:25 pm (UTC)
I very nearly bought a Regency romance audiobook today! It was only two dollars, but I hadn't made up my mind to spend that two dollars. Actually, I'm only guessing that it was a Regency; the cover photo and back-cover description were pretty vague as to setting.

I complained a little about "positive thinking" books below. I don't think it's too mean; you're just trying to teach them, through adversity, that not all problems can be solved by pretending they're glorious opportunities to let your heart light shine, and not all illness is the result of thinking about illness too much and confusing the otherwise benevolent universe. That banana skin is just the universe's way of teaching common sense to the recalcitrant.

I can't really get on with collections of heartwarming stories, either. They're always structured to make me think about the implicit unlucky party (the dog who wasn't rescued, the people whose houses weren't miraculously saved). That's not to say that stories can't be heartwarming for real, but the ones in dedicated collections tend to be bad.
Sep. 22nd, 2016 08:35 am (UTC)
Actually, I'm only guessing that it was a Regency; the cover photo and back-cover description were pretty vague as to setting.

I was going to be mean and say, probably so was the book, but you never know. It might have heard of historical accuracy once! (I'm just a little bitter than a modern Heyer is apparently too much to ask for. And if I say, who writes like Heyer, all you get is these Regency Romance authors who happen to write romance novels in the same period that she wrote her shenanigan/comedy of manners/whatever-they-were and who DON'T WRITE LIKE HEYER.)

And lol. Thank you. ♥

I don't think I've ever even seen a collection of heart-warming stories. I do feel slightly alarmed even at the thought, though...
Sep. 20th, 2016 03:01 pm (UTC)
It's quite easy to be side tracked by a genre and never return!
Sep. 21st, 2016 05:39 pm (UTC)
How well I know. I don't think I could quite read nothing but murder mysteries for the rest of my life -- it'd wear pretty thin if there were nothing else -- but I'm still ridiculously far from being sick of murder mysteries.
Sep. 20th, 2016 09:14 pm (UTC)
I think I've read more books about why inspirational books are damaging than actual inspirational books themselves. Perhaps I'm missing out on lots of inspiration? Or perhaps I would just find them very annoying.
Sep. 21st, 2016 06:08 pm (UTC)
It's hard to say! It's a broad category that includes a lot of potentially pretty different things. I was curious, so I went looking for examples of what people categorize as "inspirational." The first list of "classic inspiration" I found online included A Child Called It, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The Fountainhead and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. These books are very different from one another!

"Inspirational" can also mean different things that are superficially the same. "make this collage to help put yourself in a more productive frame of mind," and "make this collage so that the universe will be compelled to give you things" are two very different claims, even when the collage is the same.

I find most "positive thinking" stuff pretty unreadable. There's usually a strong undercurrent of "all your problems are your own damn fault for being such a mopey emo whiner." Now, it happens to be true of me that all my problems are my own damn fault, but I'm not such a solipsist that I'm going to go around assuming that's true for everyone, let alone put it in a book for the whole world to see how presumptuous I'm being.

But the positive stuff does work for a lot of people, and "inspiration" is a lot of things, so maybe? I'll be curious to see how you like that winter devotional.
Sep. 21st, 2016 08:27 pm (UTC)
I think there's a difference between inspiration as a genre and books that people find inspiring. I found The Gulag Archipelago inspiring, but I can't imagine anyone shelving that as inspiration. Or perhaps I'm being too hard on inspiration as a genre? Is inspiration even a genre? Maybe I'm conflating "inspiration" with the kind of rah-rah positive thinking success story type stuff that often gets touted as inspirational.

I wonder sometimes if the more intense positive thinking advocates have ever read any history. Do they really think that, say, Holocaust victims brought on their own suffering? I feel like a lot of this kind of thinking is a result of the fact that many of these writers live in a privileged bubble - not just in terms of race and class etc but also because of living at a relatively peaceful time in history. I don't think any American during World War II, say, even if they personally were safe at the home front, could have confidently believed that all of everyone's problems spring from their own mopey emo whininess.
Sep. 21st, 2016 08:50 pm (UTC)
"Inspiration" might just not be a meaningful genre, I don't know. Our own "Inspirational" shelf has self-help books, memoirs, meditation guides -- anything that has "inspiration" stamped on the back by the publisher, if it doesn't obviously belong somewhere else.

I don't know what's in the hearts of positive thinkers, but it's probably not so much that they've never heard of history (or weather or disease) as they don't make leap from "huh, some people really do have it bad!" to "some of my readers might really have it bad!" But I'm not at all well-read enough in this kind of thing to analyze it, so I should probably not try.
Sep. 21st, 2016 12:16 pm (UTC)
I do not read historical or romantic fiction but most other genres i would be open to.
Sep. 21st, 2016 06:26 pm (UTC)
Does "historical fiction" mean any fiction set in the past, or is there a narrower definition that you're using?
Sep. 21st, 2016 08:23 pm (UTC)
Well mostly beyond a certain historical period. Spy b=novels from the past are okay.. Fictional books based on real historical characters are what i would tend not to read,i would tather read history or biography.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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