Friday, February 6, 2015

Thoughts on Genres

I've been reading since I was a kid, but it's only been in the last 10 years or so that I have noticed the trends in the book industry and it really just came to me when I thought about my reading habits in the shower the other day.  Is it just me or can you solve the world's problems when you are in the shower and not singing at the top of your lungs (Take Me To Church and Uptown Funk are my current favorite shower songs, but I have been known to belt out some Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert)?  I frequently find answers to problems I've run into at work, how to handle something with the kids and yes even a blog post :)

So here's what I have noticed:

Mystery and suspense are always around and contemporary romance as well for me.  I'm not a big non-fiction reader but I know that is always around, but I'm talking about my reading habits.

Somewhere around 2002-2003, the vampire/paranormal craze hit romance.  I read as much as I could get my hands on.  The Dark Hunters series by Sherilyn Kenyon, Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton, the Carpathians by Christine Feehan and so many others, but it's been 10 years and it's hard to remember.  But somewhere along the way this fizzled out and I've looked through my Kindle library and there are so many series I haven't read yet, but I'm not feeling it at the moment.

Romantic Suspense also really came into play shortly after I went on the paranormal reading spree.  It was really big and while it very much is still around, there was a true heyday somewhere around 2005 or so.  Dee Davis, Mary Burton, Jayne Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell and Nora Roberts were some of must reads (and still are).

Also the general fiction genre took off with the likes of Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, Elizabeth Berg, Emily Griffin, Elin Hilderbrand, Lisa Scottoline and many others.  I have enjoyed and still enjoy books by these authors.  I can count on a heartfelt story that feels real.  And while I love a happy ending, I don't mind an occasional unresolved or not as happy ending.  That said the ending of several Nicholas Sparks (who is a local author for me) tick me off.  But that's another blog post.

As the paranormal started to fizzle for me (too much of it for me, maybe) Young Adult seemed to be hitting it's prime. The Twilight series bridged the gap for many of us not-so-much-young adults.  We were reading paranormal so it wasn't a stretch to go read Twilight, I mean it had vampires.  Sparkly ones at that ;)  Then it was Harry Potter.  And the Hunger Games.  All YA became popular but I would say the Hunger Games trilogy ushered in the post-apocalyptic genre which is still going to some extent but I am seeing more people getting tired of it.  I admit that it hasn't piqued my interest as much after I finished the Divergent series.  There are still some great books out there, but I think I'm burnt out on it.  Somewhere in there was the paranormal ability and angel books, like The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting and the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.  There were also serious books and alternate reality seems to be popular and just plain contemporary. I honestly wish there had been this much YA when I was a young adult, but I'll enjoy it at 40.

While I feel YA is still going strong, it ushered in edgier books centered around kids finishing high school and in college.  An age group that wasn't really in many books before.  Romance seemed to pick up around 25-40 and suspense was usually older characters.  So these edgier books centered around this new age group (17-24) became New Adult.  This genre was mainly launched by independent authors like S.C. Stephens, Jamie Mcguire and Abbi Glines to name a few and now all of them are published by major publishers. Yay for them!  I have been working my way through Abbi Glines' Rosemary Beach and Seabreeze series.  They have been great.  I also love anything by Jamie McGuire.  The Beautiful Disaster series of books have been excellent and I have read the first Maddox brothers book and have purchased the second one.  Love these!  Some other of my favorites are Jennifer Armentrout, Colleen Hoover, Rachel van Dyken and too many other authors to mention.  But I'm seriously  loving this genre right now which is what led to me thinking of this post because I wonder what will come after this.

And we can't forget erotica.  Yes it's always been there, but the Fifty Shades of Grey books really ushered in women being less ashamed to be seen reading it.  I remember the year it was really popular being in Myrtle Beach for a girls' weekend and you could look around the pool, everyone was either reading a Fifty Shades book or a Hunger Games book.  LOL!  But this brought Cheyenne , Jaci Burton and many others to the forefront and while there were some books that seemed to copy the Fifty Shades of Grey model, there were many refreshing new ideas and great books. I don't see this genre going away but it's faded a little.  I'm thinking with the movie coming out next weekend that it may be revived.

And along the way I have stayed true to reading contemporary romance from Nora Roberts, Kristin Higgins, Lisa Renee Jones, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Lori Foster.  These authors are timeless and seem to move with the times keeping their books fresh and interesting and of course full of love, conflict and of course a happy ending.  Yes it's a formula, but it's a formula that works and these authors and many others bring a freshness to it that make it fun, serious, mysterious and hot.  Romance is the biggest selling genre with a good reason.

Finally is the Mystery/Suspense/Horror genres for me.  I started reading heavy as a teenager with V.C. Andrews (I was in the height of the Dollanger family books), Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  Stephen King and Dean Koontz are still must reads for me.  I've added J.D. Robb, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Scottoline (she's both mystery and general fiction), James Patterson (yes he's my guilty pleasure, but that's another blog post as well).  There are many others in this genre as well. 

After writing this post, I think I will make a series of posts with authors I have discovered and loved over the years. 

And just to clarify, I in no way think these swings through genres are bad.  Variety is wonderful.  I love each and every genre and love to see authors do great.  I love to see new authors on the scene and enjoy my favorites.

What are your thoughts about the progression of reading fads/binges that you have participated in. 

What is your favorite genre of the moment?

What would you like me to talk about from my perspective?  I am going to get back to reviews, but I like sharing my feeling as well. I know I enjoy reading posts on what the bloggers think about reading.  I'll also share my bookshelves and my reading habits in more depth.  But I would love to hear from you as well.  If you have a blog post about any of these topics or your reads from 2014, let me know, I love to read these and may have missed them.