Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Armchair BEA: Genre Fiction


One of the topics over at Armchair BEA today is genre fiction.  The other is blogger development, which I would struggle to write about, but I could write about genre fiction all day!  I try to be an eclectic reader and although I enjoy classics and literary fiction, I'm not one of those readers that turns her nose up at genre fiction.  I love a good chick-lit book when I'm having a busy / stressful time and there's nothing like a great horror book in the winter.  But these are by far my two favourite genres:

1) Historical Fiction

  

I have always adored historical fiction, as far back as I can remember.  I love to travel and I love history, so travelling through time and place in a book is one of my most favourite things to do.  When I started this blog, I tended to like Ancient Egyptian / Tudor historical fiction but now my tastes have definitely broadened; I have 73 historical fiction reviews posted (here) from places and times as far-flung as 1700s Venice, 1800s Finland and Ancient Rome.  These are the books I'd recommend to someone just starting out in historical fiction:
  • Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - Chevalier's books are always well written, and this story of the fossil hunter Mary Anning is my favourite, as it discusses some big themes such as the role of women and science vs. God.
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - I read this on honeymoon, and boy was it grittier than I was expecting!  Two sisters, May and Pearl are forced to flee Shanghai ahead of invading Japanese troops.
  • The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman - I'm not Jewish but I'm fascinated with Jewish history.  This is the story of four women sheltering from the Roman army in the fortress of Masada, Israel.

2) Fantasy

  

I'm much newer to fantasy, but I'm so into it at the moment!  I'm by no means an expert on the genre, so I'm simply going to write about the books I have enjoyed.  If you know more about fantasy than me, I'd love recommendations, as I'm finding it hard to know what to read....
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - This is the series that got me back into fantasy after a long hiatus from it.  This is the one I recommend to reluctant fantasy readers.
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan - I plan on rereading this series, as I only got up to book seven as a teenager.  I love big, epic, successful world building.
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley - The other type of fantasy I love is fairytale retellings, and this is one of the best I've read.
Do you read genre fiction?  If so, what genres do you enjoy?
As always, link me to your BEA posts so I can visit lots of new blogs :)

29 comments:

  1. I'm not a great fantasy reader but I do recommend Juliet Marillier - Daughter of the Forest - beautiful retelling of a legend.

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  2. I LOVE genre fiction! Especially fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance and I like a good chicklit every now and then, especially Jill Mansell and Sophie Kinsella's books :)
    The Eye of the World didn't really work for me, but I love A Song of Ice and Fire and I really want to read Beauty!

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    1. Sophie Kinsella's books are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, especially the Shopaholic series!
      And I think you would LOVE Song of Ice & Fire, just be prepared for it to take over your life.

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  3. I've recently enjoyed The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. I'm listening to A Game on Thrones on audio now. Sounds like we like the same books!

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    1. I liked The Last Runaway too, I didn't know much about Quakers before reading it, so it was fascinating.
      It's always great to meet bloggers with similar tastes, I'm sure I'll get lots of recommendations from you in the future :)

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  4. Duuuude, you have literally just named my two least favourite genres right there! But that's ok, I still like youuu ;). I feel like I should say that Horror is my favourite genre because I have this whole Stephen King love affair going on, and I do read A LOT of it in the autumn... But I don't know. I'll just read pretty much anything, but I do tend to avoid fantasy and ESPECIALLY historical fiction as much as I can haha!

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    1. Ah no, the end of a beautiful friendship!!!
      I like horror too, but I find it hard to find the good horror books as they tend to be shelved with the paranormal romance in my library and I've been burned before!

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  5. I don't know if you have read Ray Bradbury, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend his works. I've read three of his books myself and The Martian Chronicles is one of my all time favourite books ever (also an autumny re-read book for me). Bradbury is (was) not just a good fantasy writer, he is a good writer, period :)

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    1. I've not tried Ray Bradbury, but I will definitely give him a go now. Thanks, Riv :)

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  6. I love all three of those fantasy novels!

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  7. Historical fiction is my favorite too. I hated history in school, and so I love finding out about it in a fun way! I like my fantasy a bit lighter. And, I agree, nothing wrong with a good chick lit once in a while. The key for me is reading a wide variety. That keeps things fresh. Thanks for visiting.

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    1. Variety is the spice of life, and all that :)

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  8. I have read, or want to read, all of these!!! OMGosh! I really need to get back to Remarkable Creatures. I enjoyed it, but life got in the way of finishing it up.

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    1. Remarkable Creatures is well worth going back to, I just loved it.

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  9. My mother-in-law, who reads only a handful of books a year, bought Dovekeepers for me after she read it (and adored it). It was a pretty fun experience to have someone shove a book in my hand rather than the other away around!

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    1. That's true, people hardly ever shove books into my hands, I'm normally the shover! Have you read Dovekeepers yet?

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  10. I was thinking about historical fiction too, but I couldn't decide if it really counts as "genre." I mean, it's a way to group books, yes, but doesn't seem inherently distinct from literary fiction to me. I do love it though and am excited to check out your recommendations!

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    1. I think there's a lot of crossover - something like Song of Achilles would be more literary but maybe The Other Boleyn Girl is more genre? Who knows? I count everything that has a historical setting as historical fiction, it's easier to organise that way!

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  11. Hi Same! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, self-hosting is sooo worth it. I love my blog and I have had no problems. On my blogger site, as it got bigger, the site took forever to load. Now its quick!

    I love The Dovekeepers. Beautiful book!

    Kendal
    Kinx's Book Nook

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  12. I love dystopia! I could make a habit of reading more of it.

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  13. Hello fellow historical fiction and fantasy fan :-) Thanks for stopping by my post.

    I've not read the three historical fiction books you've listed, but have the first two on my shelves. I know a number of readers who just loved Remarkable Creatures.

    Like you I LOVE George R.R. Martin's books, and am at book six of the Wheel of Time series. I'll have to check out Beauty since we seem to share similar reading tastes.

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  14. "Remarkable Creatures" looks like a wonderful book. I read "Girl With a Pearl Earring" a few years ago and really liked Chevalier's writing style.

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  15. I love historical fiction and definitely need to read more! I'm really into fantasy right now and love asoiaf! I also love Robin McKinley and read Beauty not too long ago. I really like any genre and will read anything that sounds interesting to me!

    my Armchair BEA day 2 post

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  16. Historical fiction makes me happy, happy, happy! It's a great way to learn new things. And that is my favorite thing about reading :)

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