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View Full Version : Ever Read A Book That Wasn't Your Usual Genre And Been Blown Away?



gothicangel
01-25-2015, 09:50 PM
I've just finished reading Mark Shultz's book Foxcatcher, and it is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Sports books aren't something I normally read - never mind wrestling - and I bought it because of story of his brother's murder. But I actually enjoyed the wrestling stuff as well. I wouldn't normally buy this type of book, and only did so after seeing the film (which is amazing too, but for different reasons).

I cried for the last 40 pages (I don't cry at books either ;)).

Anyone else read a book out of their normal reading material that has taken their breath away?

Neegh
01-25-2015, 10:04 PM
It has always been how the story unfolds rather than what kind of story it is that makes a great story. It's the artistry, not the subject that compels the reader onward.

Maryn
01-25-2015, 10:11 PM
Yup, quite recently. I was given a belated birthday gift of "The Girl with All the Gifts," which is post apocalyptic horror, and it was really, really good. I'd never have given it a try had it not been placed in my hands.

Maryn, who takes some convincing

Mr Flibble
01-25-2015, 10:18 PM
Yup, quite recently. I was given a belated birthday gift of "The Girl with All the Gifts," which is post apocalyptic horror, and it was really, really good. I'd never have given it a try had it not been placed in my hands.

Maryn, who takes some convincing


And Mike Carey has the rep (deservedly) of being "the nicest guy in fantasy". He writes cracking stuff. City of Silk And Steel (with his wife) is one of my fave all time books.

As to the OP. Yes. Fairly often -- I try to read as many different genres as possible. Gone Girl was a rollercoaster.

And you've made a sale (I love the wrestling and if it's a tear jerker too....)

Chasing the Horizon
01-25-2015, 10:32 PM
Well, I was talked into reading the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries a few years ago. I generally find mystery completely boring, but I loved those and read the whole collection in a couple of days. It didn't leave me with any desire to read more mystery, though. I figure I already read the best, lol.

Kylabelle
01-25-2015, 11:46 PM
Yes! (And thanks for the tip about Foxcatcher, gothicangel, I've put it on my tbr list.)

Most recently I read The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, a debut novel that came my way because the title I was looking for at the library was out and this was an alternative suggestion. It's a dystopia which I don't tend to seek out, but is the best novel I've read in a long time. Wonderful writing and I hope Heller writes more fiction.

Previous to that, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain (sports -- football, Superbowl in fact -- and military) is not one I'd have chosen on a bookstore shelf but I did pick it up for pennies at a library sale because why not. Another wonderful, beautiful book even though, well, football!

And years ago I rescued a copy of A Fire In The Mind (Stephen Larsen, Robin Larsen) from a trashcan after a failed book sale. Dried the coffee off of it because, throwing books in the trash is not done in my universe.

I'm not someone who seeks out biographies, but this was so good I bought copies of it to give as gifts. It's the authorized bio of Joseph Campbell and peers into that fabulous mind most satisfyingly, and offers up some entertaining gossip of the day as well.

Great thread!

Captcha
01-26-2015, 12:44 AM
Most recently I read The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, a debut novel that came my way because the title I was looking for at the library was out and this was an alternative suggestion. It's a dystopia which I don't tend to seek out, but is the best novel I've read in a long time. Wonderful writing and I hope Heller writes more fiction.



I just read the blurb, and I'm intrigued, but... does the dog die? (You can PM me if it would be spoiler-y to tell me here).

Jamesaritchie
01-26-2015, 12:49 AM
I don't have a usual genre. I read books in every genre, though I read very little YA. So, yes, I've been blown away by all sorts of novels.

One of my favorite things to do is browse out public library, picking a dozen or so books at random. I've found some of my favorite novels and writers this way, in fiction and nonfiction.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 12:54 AM
Gosh, yes. I thought I wouldn't like YA until I read Kelley York's Hushed. I became a YA fan.

And I thought I hated urban fantasy until I read Stacia Kane's Downside series. I'm still a bit picky about what UF I read, but I do enjoy a fair bit of it now.

Dennis E. Taylor
01-26-2015, 01:31 AM
http://www.amazon.ca/Bone-Garden-Novel-Tess-Gerritsen-ebook/dp/B000UZQH4I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422221298&sr=8-1&keywords=the+bone+garden

I'm a dedicated SF-fan, with only occasional forays into horror and such, but I'll read just about anything by Tess Gerritsen. This one's a mystery with some romance, and was gripping beginning to end.

jjdebenedictis
01-26-2015, 01:48 AM
Yes!

I once got someone else's book order by mistake from Amazon (and they let me keep it), and whoever that someone was, they had amazing taste in books. Not my taste, by a long stretch, but I enjoyed most of what they had ordered. (Hated one book furiously, was 'meh' on one, but the four other books were a hit with me.)

Life of Pi was the one that blew me away -- I loved it when the book's central puzzle finally unlocked. Memoirs of a Geisha was also really great, and The God of Small Things was quite wrenching and wonderful. The other books were weird and good and well-written.

dawinsor
01-26-2015, 02:19 AM
I don't usually like short story collections, but was recently blown away by Phil Klay's REDEPLOYMENT.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 02:44 AM
Oh, have I ever! Happens more with Biographies than anything though, and I've still yet to find a Splatterpunk novel I enjoyed. Truth is I'm hoping to find a Splatterpunk novel I like eventually, because then maybe I can find more.

I will say, that even though Thrillers and Mystery aren't my thing. My mum does seem to love them and that makes me want to look through her collection. *goes to look*

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 02:47 AM
Conversely, I want to like steampunk -- I love me the cover art, for sure!! -- but for some reason I just can't get into it, even when it's written by authors whose other books I've enjoyed. I have no idea why.

And I tried reading romance recently. I bought some Nora Roberts novels, since, yanno, Nora! Top romance writer! Never heard anything negative about her, and have heard heaps of positive! And I just could not slog my way through any of them. I've no idea what was wrong with me, but I just got bored, annoyed, and/or frustrated.

Weird, innit?

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 02:49 AM
I don't have a usual genre. I read books in every genre, though I read very little YA. So, yes, I've been blown away by all sorts of novels.

One of my favorite things to do is browse out public library, picking a dozen or so books at random. I've found some of my favorite novels and writers this way, in fiction and nonfiction.

Poppycock. I don't believe for a second you don't have a genre you read slightly more than others, and that is exactly what usual genre means. By your own summation you read it, but YA still isn't your usual reading fare. That is exactly what gothicangel meant, books that blew you away despite not being something you read or read much of.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 02:59 AM
Conversely, I want to like steampunk -- I love me the cover art, for sure!! -- but for some reason I just can't get into it, even when it's written by authors whose other books I've enjoyed. I have no idea why.

And I tried reading romance recently. I bought some Nora Roberts novels, since, yanno, Nora! Top romance writer! Never heard anything negative about her, and have heard heaps of positive! And I just could not slog my way through any of them. I've no idea what was wrong with me, but I just got bored, annoyed, and/or frustrated.

Weird, innit?

Not so much Unim, at least I don't think so. Sometimes we don't like a writers writing and sometimes a genre just doesn't appeal to us. Maybe another writer would appeal to you for Romance?

Captcha
01-26-2015, 03:50 AM
And I tried reading romance recently. I bought some Nora Roberts novels, since, yanno, Nora! Top romance writer! Never heard anything negative about her, and have heard heaps of positive! And I just could not slog my way through any of them. I've no idea what was wrong with me, but I just got bored, annoyed, and/or frustrated.

Weird, innit?

I don't much care for Nora Roberts, either. Well, I've only read a couple of her books, so maybe I just had bad luck, but I wouldn't write off the whole genre based on her.

What other genres do you read? Maybe you could try one of the Romance sub-genres - like, if you usually read fantasy, you could read a fantasy-romance.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 03:55 AM
Yep, I read and enjoy fantasy-romance. I think that I need the romance to be a side plot or, at least, for the protagonist to have a problem other than should I/should I not love/bed/lust-after/marry Person X.

KTC
01-26-2015, 04:06 AM
YA is NOT a genre. It is a market.

Captcha
01-26-2015, 04:06 AM
Yep, I read and enjoy fantasy-romance. I think that I need the romance to be a side plot or, at least, for the protagonist to have a problem other than should I/should I not love/bed/lust-after/marry Person X.

I like historicals, or other sub-genres where the choice of who to love/bed/lust-after/marry was a really life-changing decision! I think straight-up contemporary romance is hard to do right, because really, the stakes aren't all that high, unless the author amplifies things beyond the reasonable.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 04:27 AM
YA is NOT a genre. It is a market.
Sorry, my bad.

Corrected version: I did not until quite recently read any books targeted at the YA market, or classified as YA, because I was not a YA and thought I would not find it interesting. Turned out I was wrong.

Jamesaritchie
01-26-2015, 04:42 AM
Poppycock. I don't believe for a second you don't have a genre you read slightly more than others, and that is exactly what usual genre means. By your own summation you read it, but YA still isn't your usual reading fare. That is exactly what gothicangel meant, books that blew you away despite not being something you read or read much of.

I can't help what you believe, but I read more books than most, and I really don't have a usual genre. My TBR stack(s) contain almost three thousand novels, and they're in every conceivable genre. I have another couple of thousand novels on my computer.

I read a LOT of every genre. I just do. I love pretty much every genre out there because it's the way something is written that matters to me, not something silly and meant only for marketing like "genre".

And if you want to go by what I said about YA, fine. My usual genre is every genre that isn't YA.

Had the questions been about writing outside of the genre you write most, I would have had a very different answer, but whether you believe it or not, I don't have a "usual" reading genre, or even two or three. I switch off routinely between mystery, suspense, western, literary, SF, fantasy, horror, MG of all types, category romance, historical, contemporary, techno-thriller, sub-genres of each. I also read all sorts of poetry.

Part of this is by design, and I arrange my current reading bookshelves just this way. I believe the wisest thing a writer can do is read as widely as possible, but there is no genre I don't enjoy, there are only writers I don't enjoy, and this is true in every genre.

blacbird
01-26-2015, 07:02 AM
Yes. That happens in no small part because, as a reader, I don't subscribe to a "usual genre". I bond with JAR on this question.

caw

WriterBN
01-26-2015, 06:54 PM
I don't have a usual genre, but there are a couple that I don't read very much: romance and women's fiction. I was recently given a "women's fiction" book to review, and I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the setting. Which leads me to distrust labels in general: I always look at a sample of the book first, and I read based more on the writing quality than the genre/category.

bearilou
01-26-2015, 06:58 PM
The Count of Monte Cristo was the one that blew me away.

My all-time favorite, hands down.

phantasy
01-26-2015, 07:14 PM
No, not yet. I'm trying, but it's apparently tough for me to get into most stories, in my preferred genre, novels or otherwise. Of course, once I love a book, I'll follow that author forever, no matter what they write.

Def going to check out every book mentioned on this thread.

Amadan
01-26-2015, 07:18 PM
YA is NOT a genre. It is a market.

Eh - if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its genre is duck.


And to the OP - yes. Until a few years ago, I was pretty much exclusively a SF&F reader, with only the occasional exception (a few mysteries, the occasional historical novel). Then I decided to start catching up on some of those classics I managed to miss in high school, and also reading random selections from various "Best books" lists, and while SF&F is still my first and best love, I've found unexpected delights from Victor Hugo, from John Le Carre, from Doris Lessing, from all sorts of authors I'd never have expected to like.

The only genres I still can't approach are romance and erotica.

Myrealana
01-26-2015, 07:36 PM
I usually read SF/Fantasy, with the occasional mystery or romance, and I try to fit in a non-fiction every 3-4 books. I am not much into biography, but I like good memoir, and books exploring economics and human nature like Freakanomics, Tipping Point, Moneyball, etc.

I picked up The Fault In Our Stars just because I like Vlog Brothers. I had no idea what to expect.

That one blew me away. And positively destroyed me. I couldn't stop crying.

KTC
01-26-2015, 08:07 PM
Eh - if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its genre is duck.


But it doesn't. Most of the genres can be found inside the market of YOUNG ADULT. I'm sorry, but it's a huge pet peeve of mine. It's definitely a market. There's no duck here.

Within YA market I write horror, romance, contemporary, paranormal. To call them all YA is to strip them of their genre.

Amadan
01-26-2015, 08:29 PM
But it doesn't. Most of the genres can be found inside the market of YOUNG ADULT. I'm sorry, but it's a huge pet peeve of mine. It's definitely a market. There's no duck here.

Within YA market I write horror, romance, contemporary, paranormal. To call them all YA is to strip them of their genre.


I've read YA horror, contemp, paranormal, and SF&F.

To me, they all have more in common with each other than with non-YA books in their respective genres.

You disagree. That's fine. To me, YA is a genre.

Jamesaritchie
01-26-2015, 08:40 PM
But it doesn't. Most of the genres can be found inside the market of YOUNG ADULT. I'm sorry, but it's a huge pet peeve of mine. It's definitely a market. There's no duck here.

Within YA market I write horror, romance, contemporary, paranormal. To call them all YA is to strip them of their genre.

YA is more than a market. All categories are. Whatever genre you write in YA, it's still written in a particular way, still uses a particular type of protagonist, and still tells a particular type of story aimed at a particular market.

MG is isn't a genre, either, but we all know what is meant when we say MG. We all know we're getting stories aimed at young kids. Whether that story is horror, fantasy, etc., it's still MG, and YA is the same.

I read very little YA because whatever the genre within YA, to me, it all walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.

There's nothing wrong with this. It is as it should be. But some ducks I like, some ducks I dislike. I usually dislike the YA duck, whatever genre it uses. I like the MG duck, so I read a lot of it, and don't worry about the genre.

For me, "adult" is the only category that doesn't walk and talk like a duck. It's the only truly wide, divergent, never know what you'll get category.

Shadow_Ferret
01-26-2015, 08:50 PM
I'd say, "The Geisha." I read it a few years ago and was pretty impressed. I don't know what genre it would be, but its the only one like it I've ever read.

Barbara R.
01-26-2015, 08:56 PM
I mostly read fiction; my non-fiction reads are usually research for my own novels. But last year I read GOING CLEAR by Lawrence Wright, an expose of Scientology, and it blew me away.

Amadan
01-26-2015, 09:03 PM
I'm agreeing with JAR. Does not compute.

bearilou
01-27-2015, 01:29 AM
I'm agreeing with JAR. Does not compute.

Yep. He pretty much sums it up for me as well.

Vito
01-27-2015, 05:52 AM
I like romance movies but I'm not into romance novels. So I was surprised to find that I really liked Erich Segal's Love Story. Someone told me that I would also seriously dig The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, so I thinking about giving it a try.

MagicWriter
01-27-2015, 09:51 AM
My TBR stack(s) contain almost three thousand novels, and they're in every conceivable genre. I have another couple of thousand novels on my computer.

Thank God someone else does this, its not just me. I thought I was becoming a hermit. :)

bearilou
01-27-2015, 06:14 PM
Thank God someone else does this, its not just me. I thought I was becoming a hermit. :)

I had to switch to ebooks because I was running out of physical space.