Hi, my name is Danielle and I don’t know what my favorite book genre is.
I thought I’d change up the normal Sunday book tag and finally do another book chat (a follow up to my talk about book synopsis last year) and talk about my struggles with trying to pick my favorite genre to read.
I don’t know if it’s my inner Libra or what, but I have the hardest time trying to pick a favorite anything, let alone something as varied and diverse as books. But the first step to narrow that down is picking a favorite genre. And I’m going to be honest with you here, I have trouble doing that too.
I know we tend to think about our ‘go-to’ books first and extrapolate from there, but I tend to have 3 categories (not counting rereads which is a whole other post) I gravitate toward when I’m fighting a slump or trying to find something I know I’ll enjoy: paranormal, romance, and high fantasy.
I love romance stories because, for the most part, I know what I’m getting – good banter, some laughs, and a happily ever after. It’s so easy to turn to romances when I’m at a loss for what to read because I don’t have to focus on the story structure and can just enjoy what’s happening. They create relaxing and enjoyable reading experiences that I know I’ll never stop wanting. I consistently give romances 3 stars and up because for the most part because I know what I like in the genre and what to avoid. But they also really rely my connection with the characters (and ability to believe the romance) or they can fall flat. But when a romance fails for me, it’s never too far because my expectations usually aren’t for it to be all I think about for days on end.
I love paranormal stories for their predictability. That may seem stupid, but I can’t help it. I read an obscene amount in high school and college, so there’s a slight nostalgia factor too. But like romances, I find a lot of urban fantasy.paranormal stories to have clear structures and aims, but they’re just a step up complexity wise (sometimes). I love all the different types of paranormal creatures that authors explore and how they integrate them into our world. And again, like romances, urban fantasy consistently gets 3 stars and up. But misogynistic and problematic tropes can bog the genre down making for some hit-and-miss book selections from unknown authors.
There’s something about high fantasy that just transports me. Meeting new characters and a new world can be overwhelming, but when the story works it can be magic. Of my 3 go-tos, it’s easiest for a high fantasy story to truly hook me. I mean reading for hours non stop, skipping meals, and staying up until 5am reading, hook me. I love the intricate worldbuilding, political structures, magic systems, and action. There’s so much that can captivate you that even if I don’t connect with the characters as much as I’d like, the plot can still carry me through and I’ll end up enjoying the story. But because there’s so much I’m expecting from not only a new set of characters, but a new world, the fantasy books I give 3 stars are usually a disappointment in some way, unlike the enjoyable 3 star reads in romances and urban fantasy.
Now if we take a look at some of my all-time favorite books, I think a majority of them would be high fantasy, because when it works – it really works, and it sticks with me. I reread them year after year because I can find something new with each reread. But if I had to guess, only 1 out of 10 or so high fantasy stories reach that level, so it seems I’m disappointed by the genre more than I love it.
Because I judge each genre differently, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to pick a favorite. They each give me something I’m looking for and depending on my mood I’ll gravitate toward one more than the others. Romance gives me consistency and happiness, urban fantasy grit and grounded fantasy, and high fantasy gives me magic and action. But one of the joys of reading is that there are so many options that I don’t have to choose, and I’m okay with that too.
Do you have a favorite genre to read? Leave you recommendations for books or authors below!