Thursday, April 29, 2010

BTT: One Genre??

Today's Booking through Thursday question asks:

God* comes to you and tells you that, from this day forward, you may only read ONE type of book–one genre–period, but you get to choose what it is. Classics, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Cookbooks, History, Business … you can choose, but you only get ONE.
What genre do you pick, and why?

While at first glance this appears to be a nearly impossible question to answer, I have discovered that my choice is fairly cut-and-dry.  I would choose Classics.  Why? There are a variety of reasons:
  1. Classics are classics for a reason:  they have endured the test of time because the characters are interesting, the themes are relevant, and the writing style is admirable.
  2. I may have to think a bit more when reading a classic (either due to uncommon vocabulary, hidden symbolism, or complicated writing style), but if I could only read one genre, I would want to be mentally stimulated.
  3. While classics may be a genre, contained within this large variety of books are numerous other "sub genres":  mystery (Wilkie Collins is a favorite); historical fiction (I absolutely LOVE A Tale of Two Cities); romance (Elizabeth and Darcy?  It doesn't get much better than that); Gothic (the Bronte sisters provide adequate material for months of enjoyable reading); and....well, you get the idea.
  4. Classics also provide the reader an opportunity to re-read in order to glean more from the text.  At this point I have read A Tale of Two Cities and Pride and Prejudice a minimum of six times (I have taught Brit Lit for 5 years and re-read the novels each year).  It never fails that I notice some new aspect of the novel with each subsequent read:  whether it is another example of subtle foreshadowing, a small character detail, or an eloquent bit of prose, I find that I discover one more reason to appreciate the book and the author's talent.
Now having said that.....I am not sure that I would ever want to read just one genre.  I enjoy variety and have truly appreciated some contemporary fiction which draws me into the story with believable characters and relevant themes.  There is absolutely nothing like escaping the worries of the real world with a good, cozy mystery.  I am learning that fantasy fiction is another great escape genre - especially YA books which I have ignored since I was a YA myself.  Historical fiction is the next "new" genre on my list that I want to start adding to my personal reading repertoire.  

So while I could select just one genre if held at gunpoint, I would prefer to have many options available to me in order to help me open my mind to the vast array of reading material available to us today.

What about you?  Could you select just one genre to read for all time?  What would YOU choose?


19 comments:

Lynda said...

I was torn between clasic and modern thrillers!!
http://lyndasbookblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/booking-through-thursday-restrictions.html

Nise' said...

You are right! It is too hard to choose, but if I was forced, I'd choose classics for the reasons you stated.

Alison's Book Marks said...

Molly, great minds think alike. I immediately thought "Classics" but at the same time I had to wonder...could I sustain on nothing new?

Oh my, I could write practically an entire post in this comments section. I think I may have to do a spin-off post on your topic! :)

Great question!

Kay said...

Well, my first thought was mysteries. I can see the appeal of a broader genre like classics (is that a genre?). Would YA books be a genre? I could probably go with that if it were. But, I really love mysteries best. I'll stick with that.

Wanda said...

Love your reasoning and Classics do have many to choose from!

My BTT is here.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Okay, now that's difficult! Variety is the spice of life and all...but, like someone said, if held at gunpoint, I can do it. I'd choose women's fiction, specifically those stories about issues. Mysteries (the kind I love, of course) would run a close second.

But...isn't it wonderful we don't have to choose?

Suey said...

I think I'd have to go with classics too. And.... there are fantasies that can be considered classics now, right? The Lord of the Rings for one... so see... I can get both in. :)

Lynne said...

That's easy, for me it would be memoirs. I think people are so interesting, and like Oprah says, 'Everyone has a story.' (Okay, some more interesting than others, but hey...)

Carina said...

I love your reasons for choosing classics! At least you're backing it up, whereas a lot of people blindly defend classics like it's just common sense to want them most. My pick is here.

Rose City Reader said...

Great answer! I came close to choosing "classics" but worried I'd have to spend eternity reading Henry James. :)

Here is my BTT answer on Rose City Reader.

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

Molly, you are too, too clever. By picking classics you allow yourself to read a wide range of genres. Good for you.

Alison's Book Marks said...

You inspired me to answer this BTT! thank you!

http://www.alisonsbookmarks.com/2010/04/btt-one-genre.html

bermudaonion said...

I don't think I could choose, but I love your answer!

Belle said...

I hate questions like this - I don't like the idea of having to choose! Loved your answer. I think I'd fudge and say "children's and YA books" and insist that's a genre, because then I can get my mysteries and my fantasies and my sci-fi, depending on the book :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Sort of a nightmarish scenario, isn't it? I guess I would choose contemporary classics, as they have a little of everything in them. I would be bereft without my crime thrillers though!

Dave and Tami said...

I would have to pick mysteries - but I would probably make that a pretty broad category and let it include cozies, thrillers, classics like Christie, there are even some Christian mysteries out there - but I always love a story with a puzzle to figure out.

JoAnn said...

Classics would definitely be my choice, too!

Lisa said...

My gut instinct was classics as well for the same reasons. And what we call "classics" really encompasses such a broad variety of books, I think you would be less likely to be bored after a few years. But I would miss the chance to pick up something light periodically to give my brain a sherbet break.

Jenners said...

This is a nightmare of a question ... I would not one to be limited like that. I would probably choose classics and strech the definition as far as I could to include modern classics and "instant" classics. : )

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