Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Favorite Genres -- BOOK THOUGHTS



Here's a question for you: What are your favorite literary genres?

I will read most genres (except horror and erotica), but I mostly read literary fiction and mysteries. Within those broad categories, here are my favorite sub-genres.

CAMPUS NOVELS: My favorite type of novel! I keep a list of Campus Novels here on Rose City Reader. I like them snarky and glib. My favorites are the three originals – The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy, Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, and Eating People is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury. I also love David Lodge, Julie Schumacher, and Robertson Davies. My unpopular take? I didn’t care for Stoner by John Williams, although recently reprinted and quite popular. Too much of a downer for me.

CLOSED ROOM MYSTERIES: Country house weekends, creepy institutions, ships, remote locations, whatever. I love a mystery with a confined location and limited set of characters. Some of my favorite authors are Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Ruth Ware, and Lucy Foley.

AGA SAGAS: Nothing appeals to me more than a story about messy village life getting sorted by a friendly and competent, usually female, protagonist. Maeve Binchy was the queen of these books. I also enjoy Joanna Trollope, Rosamunde Pilcher, and Anne Tyler.

ADVENTURES OF WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE: I love stories about women about my age coming into their own. As with my campus fiction, I prefer funny over maudlin. Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan is a perfect example. I also like books by Erica Jong, Penelope Lively, Barbara Pym, Faye Weldon (when she isn’t too mean), and even nonfiction like Frances Mayes and anything by or about Julia Child.

MIDDLE-AGED MEN BEHAVING BADLY: I made this oe up, just like Adventures of Women of a Certain Age. But I enjoy this kind of book as much as campus novels. There’s often overlap between the two. So many of my favorite authors write these stories. Jim Harrison, Philip Roth, Kinsgley Amis, John Updike, Malcolm Bradbury, Howard Jacobson, Richard Ford, David Lodge, and Michael Frayn are all high on my list.

How about you? What are your favorite literary genres?

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