Monday, October 13, 2014

Musing Mondays: October 13


Each week, MizB over at Should Be Reading asks six reading-related topics for bloggers to choose from.

This week's topic: Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

I feel like this is timely because this is something that we're currently discussing in my Forms of Fiction class: putting genre labels on fiction. I hate labels period (especially when it comes to music), but I'm beginning to feel the same loathing about labeling fiction. Maybe it's because I grew up going to a library who just organized fiction by author's last name or spending so much of my time (and so much of my money) at a Half Price that was too small to organize fiction by genre, but this whole labeling process annoys me. Especially since said labels are keeping some really good books from getting the appreciation they deserve because there are no great (insert genre here) books. 

Don't ask me what they should do instead. That's above my pay grade by a few digits, but I'm glad I came into my own reading-wise where this wasn't an issue. I read a lot of books that I may not have read if they were separated by genres because I too have a negative connotation when it comes to something belonging to this genre or that one. 

A good example is actually a book that we read for Forms class. Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist. I won't lie and say that I liked the book as a whole (though I'll at least try to read it again on my own time where I can read on my own pace without having to read three other books or stories at the same time...oh grad school....) but there were parts of it that were really intriguing. It's labeled as Speculative Fiction (something I'd never even heard of before the class), but it's along the lines of Fantasy I do believe; a genre I've never been interested in reading. That aside, there were elements of historical fiction, a trickle of romance, and a dash of political intrigue; three kinds of fiction that I really like reading. That alone kept me reading though I've never read a Fantasy book before. Were it not for class, I probably wouldn't have picked it up.  

And I don't want to be that kind of reader, but I feel like I'm being forced to be. Let me decide for myself what I'm interested and not interested in. That's not going to happen with these labels. I know some have found fame and fortune writing "genre" fiction, but I'm sure others have been harmed with labels that others choose for their creation. Just let it be fiction and let us as readers decide for ourselves what we want and don't want to read.

Okay, so maybe this wasn't a bookish rant, but a rant for me that is trying to make me more open-minded to the types of books that I read.

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1 comment:

  1. As you alluded to the shelving of books by genre falls down when books cross genres - I even struggle when I'm organising my own reviews as some books don't fit neatly into a genre. If I'm honest there are probably lots of books I've missed out on because of the genre they've been assigned to.