Thursday, February 26, 2015

What's In A Genre?

Had a very interesting discussion (yep, let's call it a discussion) with my Hubbin the other night.  We ended up discussing the definition of various genre's.  He was saying that the meaning of what a person thought of a genre was more important then a solid if vague defined term.  I smugly told that he was absolutely wrong, that genre definitions were hard and fast and that is how we bibliophiles got on the same page about various books.   As often happens I kept thinking of our conversation and discovered that I may not have been as absolutely right as I thought I was.  I still think some sort of definition is needed when talking about genre's, but when you get down to it, maybe using genre is not the most specific of ways to classify a book.  Take Twilight for instance, I think the best genre description is paranormal romance...but one could easily make the case for it being fantasy, urban
fantasy, YA, or any number of things based on various genre definitions.  I have also discovered that genre's constantly change.  We are adding more and more styles of writing, and then combining them to create even more.  We are also much more accepting and have almost unlimited access to more then the mainstream versions of genre's.  To this end with the myriads of books out there being shoved into pre-conceived genre's, and more genre's being invented all the time, is it any wonder when I say cyberpunk, and he says cyberpunk, they don't necessarily mean the same thing.  Neither of is all right, but neither of us is even remotely wrong in our understanding of a particular genre, it's just a broad way to capture a complex idea.  All that being said, genre's are still at least a starting point in which to categorize your books, and we still need something along those lines or else MASS CHAOS! (Ok I may not have been to bed in three days and am a wee bit loopy).  Just try and keep in mind when using genre's to describe a book, or look for a book, or get suggestions for a book, to try and keep an open mind, because keep in mind Pride and Prejudice can be classified as a Classic, Fiction, Romance, or Historical Fiction and Fantasy can be anything from Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter and beyond and they are all valid.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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