A couple of months ago, I did a post on my Favourite Character Types, which proved to be quite popular. I did think about doing a second part to that post, but in the end I decided to go with a spin-off. My favourite genres. Enjoy. 😀
My all time favourite genre! These are books that are set or were written in historical time periods, and take place in the real world, but still incorporate fantastical elements. It’s basically the historical counterpart of urban fantasy. Some of my favourites in this genre include: The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, King of Shadows by Susan Cooper, The Story of the Amulet; The Phoenix and the Carpet; and Five Children and It by E. Nesbit. My own novels Jihi and Shokan are both historical fantasies. I’ve read quite a lot in this genre, but I don’t necessarily remember the names of them all.
This is the genre we think of when someone says “fantasy”. They tend to involve epic quests, swords, knight, European fantasy lands, elves, dwarves, dragons and lots of clichés. Despite its many failings, I love, and will always love this genre, mostly for its epic proportion and battles featuring good vs. evil. Some of my favourites in this genre include: The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (this list wouldn’t be complete without him!), A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr, The Magician’s Daughter by Justyn Walker, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and The Book of Three and its sequels, by Alexander Lloyd.
I am a complete and total history nerd. I love anything to do with history, and that, of course, includes books (and movies, and musicals and music…). It’s interesting to note what makes a historical novel, well, historical. A writing book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey (it’s an awesome book, by the way) classified historical fiction as being a novel set before 1950. If it’s set after that, it’s considered contemporary fiction. It’s also interesting to realise that some books which we might consider “historical” fiction–such as Pride and Prejudice–are actually contemporary novels, since they were not set in the past at the time they were written. Some of my favourites in this genre are: The Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, Justin Morgan had a Horse and Misty of Chincoteage by Marguerite Henry, Twice Freed by Patricia St John, The Camels are Coming by W.E. Johns, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman and basically any book by Michael Morpurgo, particularly The Elephant in the Garden.
Steampunk and I have a love/hate relationship. On one hand, I’m delighted by the pseudo-historical aspects of it, and on the other hand, I’m horrified by the way Steampunk authors blithely twist history, to come up with these ridiculous and downright impractical inventions and whatnot. By old sci-fi (that was the best term I could come up with), I mean authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. I don’t really like modern sci-fi, but again I love the historical aspect of the works of those authors. Some of my favourites in this genre are: Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, Here be Monsters by Alan Snow, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Journey To the Centre of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.
I just love retellings. Retellings of everything, whether that be fairy tales, bible stories, classic novels, it doesn’t matter. I enjoy it. Unless it’s ridiculous. Then I don’t. My favourites always include clever twists on the original tale, and also the taking of a tale or novel that isn’t very well known. How many more Peter Pan, Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast retellings do we need? Give me a Les Miserables, a Scarlet Pimpernel, a Wild Swans retelling! Some of my favourites in this genre include: Anything and everything by Marissa Meyer (she’s practically the queen of retellings), Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin and Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott (Maskerade by Terry Pratchett, was also a hilarious, satirical retelling of The Phantom of the Opera). Come to think of it, I haven’t read very many things in this genre, even though I love it.
I love learning about the lives of other people, getting inside their heads and walking in their shoes (as Atticus Finch would say). It’s a fascinating process and I have a whole shelf of biographies/memoirs. I enjoy both autobiographies and biographies, because I like the different perspectives on one person that they can give. Autobiographies can be biased, or the author may not know every detail of a situation, that happens, and so biographies by an unbiased author who has the privilege of looking back on an event and gaining the perspectives of multiple people, can often provide a larger look at the picture. However, I value autobiographies, because no one but the person themselves can ever truly know what it’s like in their mind. Some of my favourites in this genre include: God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, Joni by Joni Eareckson Tada, Through Gates of Splendour by Elisabeth Elliot, Jungle Pilot by Russell T. Hitt and Steve Saint, At the End of The Spear by Steve Saint and Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis.
I don’t know if classics really classify as their own genre but hey. I love them too, and a lot of them don’t fit into any other category I’ve listed thus far. These are the books that have stood the test of time, the books that we admired a hundred, two hundred, or even three hundred years ago and that still speak to us today. They are the books that have stood the test of time, and I’m so grateful that they did. Some of my favourite classics are: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (you didn’t see that coming, did you?), Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (I haven’t read this in ages, I should do a reread), The Princess and the Goblins and The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald, Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and The Little House in the Big Woods as well as its sequels, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
There you have it! Do you enjoy any of these genres? What are your favourites?