What is one of the first things you do when you pick up a book?
Me? I personally try to figure out the genre, even before I read the blurb so that I can tell what kind of a book it is going to be.
But not everyone is like that. Many people don’t mind knowing the genre or even the blurb before reading the book or other misinterpret the genre on a whole.
I mean by reading the title and the fact that I’ve used the word ‘genre’ about five times you already know what this post is going to be about. Today we’ll be discussing whether or not it is important to know the genre of a book before you go off reading it.
Honestly I was feeling a little lonely here, talking all by myself so I invited my lovely friend and fellow book blogger Fanna @Fannatality to give me some nice company and also provide further perspective and dimensions to the discussion 🙂
Fanna is a multi-talented superhuman who writes, blogs and also paints in addition to taking aesthetic pictures that are to die for. She’s also a really sweet blogger who can always help you out and give a different opinion on any kind of topic. You should wait a second before proceeding to read this post and just go check out her blog and other social handles!
PS: It’s actually her birthday today? Like what a coincidence! Go give her some love ❤️❤️❤️
IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE BOOK GENRE?
Everything that Fanna says is in red and everything that I say in in black
C: So why don’t we dive straight into the discussion, tell me whether you agree or not that one should know the genre of a book before reading it or not?
F: I feel that knowing the genre or not doesn’t really play a huge role except if you absolutely despise the genre you’re reading without knowing it. Like, I can’t enjoy horror so I definitely prefer to know whether a book is horror or not. But being an eclectic reader in terms of other genres, I don’t mind.
C: Hmm I have quite a different opinion here. I feel that knowing a genre is really important before you start reading a book because you build up your expectations accordingly.
Like if you’re going into a book say expecting it to be a murder-mystery but it turns out to be a fantasy one, not only will you be confused and disoriented but you might end up giving it a lower rating or just disliking it because you went into it with something else in your mind.
F: Well my biggest point is that the absence of expectations would never lead to any disappointment. Not knowing the genre and diving straight into a story and characters will give a clean slate for the reader to form their opinions on. Otherwise they might have a manifestation from the genre that the book belongs to. Like a reader may be frustrated when there isn’t enough ‘magic’ in a ‘magical fantasy’ or not enough twist and turns even though the genre is a crime thriller.
C: Ah, I see. That’s actually a great point! But what are your thoughts on readers DNFing such books? Will a reader be more likely to DNF the book because, as you said, they get frustrated that the book is not upto their expectations of the genre or if they find the book to be of a totally different genre?
Because if it were me, I would push through the book if I knew it’s genre because even if it were not upto my standards I would have to take a little authority seeing that I chose the book, fully knowing what I was going into. On the other hand I may more easily DNF a book which I picked up having no idea about it’s genre because then I might just blame it on the fact that it’s not a genre I usually read.
F: I like where you’re going. Yeah, so I think DNFing is in itself a very subjective choice that readers make. There are many who wouldn’t DNF at all and some think about it once and do it. But I do feel you’re making a much stronger point because DNFing a book that a reader picked up knowing all too well what it’s going to be about is less likely than someone who doesn’t even know what the genre of the book is.
C: True, I guess some of it does depend on other personal factors too apart from knowing the genre.
But moving on to another dimension of the topic, would you recommend people who are new to reading or new readers to go and read a book of any genre or maybe research into the genre first? I feel booknerds like us can end up reading and liking a wide range of genres but new readers may be thrown off by the book and the genre and maybe reading as a whole if they don’t end up liking that particular book.
F: Which is exactly why I think new readers should just blindly pick up books because the don’t know about the genres, at least not in as much depth, so it would be a good way for them to figure out themselves what kind of books they like to read. I remember getting into science fiction dystopia which is one of my favourite genre and sub-genre, because I never knew that there was a genre or even sub-genre like that for the matter.
C: Nicely put! This has been a lovely and intense discussion and I believe this about wraps it up unless you have anything else to add.
F: Oh, this was great! I’m just always so happy to find people who are so positive when it comes to differing opinions and you being that person makes it all the more great!
C: I feel the same way! Thank you so much for being on my blog today, it was a great pleasure 🙂
But before leaving you can also check out a few books that Fanna and I liked and disliked while not knowing the genre.
BOOKS WE LIKED WITHOUT KNOWING THE GENRE
FANNA: Picking up the Hunger Games, I had no idea it was set in this weird and worse future but then I loved that story and because of that, I loved the genre.
CHARVI: When I first picked up Gypsy Boy I thought it was contemporary fiction but it turned out to be a non-fiction autobiography of sorts and I still loved it.
BOOKS WE DISLIKED WITHOUT KNOWING THE GENRE
FANNA: I didn’t like this one because people use the word ‘classic’ as a genre when it’s actually a category, or so I feel. I got bored by the english back then and didn’t understand the story.
CHARVI: I dived into this with a bare idea of the genre and it turned out to be a weird mix of historical fiction and YA Contemporary that I absolutely hated. I ended up DNFing this book.
So, what do you think? Which points do you agree and disagree with? Whose opinion do you find yourself leaning more towards- mine or Fanna? Tell me about books you liked or disliked without knowing the genre. In what way are you personally affected by a book’s genre? Would you like me to do more such discussion posts with other book bloggers?