Exploring New Genres

In 2020 I decided one of my reading “challenges” would be to try and read the winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019.

You all know by now that Haddi and I both have our favorite genres…
Mine? Fantasy/SciFi and in particular a deeeeeeep love for YA fantasy written by women of color (a freaking renaissance of work being published right now, got questions? Just ask.).
Haddi? Historical Fiction and British Mystery novels.

We are quite predictable and there is no shame in our genre game, but I also like to step outside my comfort zone from time and time so if I’m going to, why not choose from what readers have loved. Right?

So as of January 2021, out of the 20 categories Goodreads offers, I read 12 of the winners and the second runner up in the Nonfiction category because I refused to read the winner and wasn’t interested in the first runner up. I enjoyed every single book I read. Would I recommend them all? No, but I was able to appreciate them for what they are and the stories they told.

I made this leap of faith to read out of my standard fiction categories because I got in a rut. Ruts are part of life, be it in food, exercise, work, or reading and I for one like to remember that what appeals to me and brings me comfort is only one way of being in the world and books in particular provide a variety of lenses and insights into people and possibilities of change. These genres and authors which I shy away from or outright reject, have great stories to tell and sometimes I need to get out of my own way to appreciate the art and craft of something new and different.

So here are a few highlights from the 2019 Winners I read in 2020:

My Favorite ReadThe Five: The Untold Stories of the Women Killed by Jack the RipperA non-fiction read reframing history from it’s patriarchal, obsessed with the psychotic telling
Most SurprisingNinth HouseI do not do occult books, but about half way through I was hooked and I loved the characters. I will probably read more as this series expands
Most Likely to RecommendThe Silent PatientA mystery novel which is not my thing, so for a mystery reader perhaps not as good as I found it, but had me hooked and would recommend
Slightly DisappointingFive Feet ApartI love YA and certainly appreciate and applaud the message and purpose of this book, it just didn’t emotionally connect which is what I love about YA (see The Weight of Stars)

I plan to dive into some of the 2020 winners as well, particularly in genres I wouldn’t normally choose. It might not be such a consorted effort this year, but I highly recommend taking a look at the Goodreads Choice Awards of 2020 as a great place to start in finding some new genres to explore.

Happy Reading!