Sunday, August 11, 2013

Discussion: Judging a Book by its Genre


We all know about judging a book by its cover (guilty!) but what about judging a book by its genre?


Are books always defined by the genre they are placed in? For example, it’s no secret that I tend not to like books in the genre of New Adult. Does this mean that I shouldn’t bother reading any books in that genre? Pretty much every time I read a New Adult book that everyone else has seemed to enjoy (with ridiculously high Goodreads ratings- I’m talking greater than 4), I’m unfortunately let down by a clich├ęd, unoriginal plot (or lack of plot).

Every time I see a New Adult book, I think to myself, “don’t worry, Nara, this next book will be really good. Look at that blurb! Look at that rating!” and 9 out of 10 times, I’m disappointed. Some of these books that had the majority raving, but left me completely disappointed- The Edge of Never, Fallen Too Far, Vain and basically a billion others.

But then again, there are some incredible books- The Sea of Tranquility, Easy, all of Colleen Hoover’s books- that fall under the category of New Adult. And if I had judged those books by their genres, then I never would have been able to have discovered them.

I suppose the best way to judge a book is by its blurb- but then again the blurb might not be an accurate reflection of the actual content of the book. And, I’m going to honest, half the time I don’t actually bother reading a book’s blurb properly and decide to read it based on cover, tagline, rating and author alone (yeah, I’m weird).


So, what do you think about judging a book by its genre? Do you do it too?


36 comments:

  1. I definitely do. I think most of us have our comfort zone when it comes to certain genres, and we like to stick to them. For me, if I know a book is romance, contemp, or NA I judge it. It's not because I don't think it's a good book or not worth reading, I just tend to think it's not the right book for me. Of course, that's problematic because how can I know if a book is for me if I don't give a chance?

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    1. Hmm, that's true. It's actually a pretty difficult issue. Most of the time, I do want to give the book a chance, because it might turn out to be amazing, but then again I don't want to waste time on a book in a genre that's not really for me.

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  2. I'm a pretty open-minded reader when it comes to genres...except I do stay FAR FAR away from erotica or adult romance (unless its Sophie Kinsella or Nicholas Sparks). But considering that I'm not even sixteen yet, I think it's justified?

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    1. UGH I hate erotica as well. Seriously would not go near those books with a ten foot broomstick. And yeah, I definitely think that's justified! Because in that case, there's actually something that is common with ALL of those books that we don't enjoy.

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  3. I can totally relate to not reading a blurb properly! I will most of the time give the blurb a look, but I do tend to forget what books are about by the time I get around to them. And I'm too lazy to read the blurb again, obviously. :P

    I generally tend to enjoy books in most categories, but I do also sometimes hesitate when a book is labeled 'new adult'. I've enjoyed only a couple of NA books in the past, and most have been a disappointment. So I guess a bit of pre-judgement is inevitable.

    Interesting post!

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    1. Yesss! I knew I wasn't the only one haha. I definitely do the same thing. I read the blurb, add the book to my to-read list, and then come back to it later and have no idea what it's about. And then I don't bother to read the blurb again because it must have been somewhat good for me to have added it to the list...hopefully...

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  4. Ahm... YES! YES! YES! You can't blame this gal, Nara. As much as I would like to step out from my comfort zone, I couldn't just bring myself reading Classics (unless it's really2x interesting), Biographies, Self-help, Inspirational, Spiritual books and other non-fiction books.

    As for fiction books, I am pretty much eclectic. I devour anything from Adult, N/A, YA to Middle Grade.

    Great post. :D

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    1. Quite true. I don't like non-fiction books in general as well. Especially biographies *shudders*. I do like classics though! Even if the language is a bit hard to decipher at times. Like Shakespeare. Good times in high school English :P

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  5. I do that too, guilty as charged. It's absolutely hard to not judge books, especially when you already have repeatedly bad experiences with that type of book. Like, vampires. Never gonna go there again.

    Sometimes, though, judging a book can be good, because this is what you know you won't like. But it's also bad because we're going to reject books that might actually be quite good.

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    1. Twilight? *winks*
      Have you never ever enjoyed a vampire book? What about The Immortal Rules. That was pretty good! And Vampire Academy!

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  6. Yeah, I judge books by their cover as well. It's just a habit and shows the dedication from the author.

    Awesome post, Nara! <33

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    1. Not quite sure I understand how a cover shows dedication from the author...but yeah, I'm sure everyone judges books by their covers!

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  7. Mostly, I go by the blurb - along with ratings, as well as number of ratings. About New Adult, well, even I steer clear of them since the last ones I read were such a great disappointment. I used to avoid zombie books but after reading Warm Bodies, I am warming up to the genre. So, yes, there is no foolproof way to judge a book but actually reading it.

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    1. That's quite true! You can never tell whether a book is going to suit your taste or not...I actually don't know of that many zombie books, but I have read Warm Bodies and it was awesome!

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  8. I was definitely guilty of this regarding paranormal, mostly thanks to Twilight. I've since read some awesome paranormal, though, so I've mostly moved on from this.

    What often grabs me first when looking for a book to read is the cover, and then I'll read the blurb - and it's usually the blurb that will get me to read something.

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    1. lol Twilight...good times.....
      The paranormal genre is so diverse that I personally wouldn't judge the entire genre from one crappy book! There are so many different themes and styles! Whereas with New Adult or something, a lot of the time it's just same old same old.

      The cover is definitely a major selling point! The idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" definitely doesn't apply to actual books haha :)

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  9. Yeah, I've done it... and I was recently reminded of why I shouldn't. I read a book in a genre that I thought I disliked, and it ended up being the best book I'd read all year.

    That said, I don't think I'll be totally disregarding my preferences. There are other books that I thought I wouldn't like because I wasn't crazy about the genre, and I didn't like them. Sometimes taking a chance and going against preferences pays off... and sometimes it doesn't.

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    1. Oh wow, what book was it?
      That's true. While taking a chance might open your eyes to an amazing book, sometimes (read: most of the time) I find that it doesn't. Risky business! haha

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    2. It was Warm Bodies... a zombie novel. And I didn't think I liked zombie novels.

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    3. I thought Warm Bodies was quite good too! Kind of reminded me of Romeo and Juliet. The movie wasn't as great though...

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  10. I do judge books by genre, since there are just some things I don't like. The whole New Adult books are just nothing for me. From the genre to the blurbs, that's just not something I read. I'm also not a huge fan of Contemporary, but some books are given a chance based on blurb and recommendations - so I guess I'm not completely genre based :)

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. Yeah I suppose if there are just certain themes and whatnot that you don't like, then the genre in general probably isn't going to appeal. I actually read quite widely, so I suppose I do mostly judge based on blurb. And recommendations definitely play a large role! Especially from someone with similar tastes to me.

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  11. I don't think there's anything wrong with judging a book by its genre. I tend to mainly go by reviews and not just star ratings, but the particular things people liked and disliked about a book. It seems to work well, as I rarely read a book I don't like. At the same time, if a genre was consistently letting me down, I'd give it up in a heartbeat. Too many good books out there to have 9 in 10 books not be your thing!

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    1. I'm a bit weird, and don't really like reading reviews of books that I haven't read (yeah, I realise that's very weird haha). I think I'm just paranoid that there might be some tiny spoiler mentioned in the review or something. So that's why I usually go by star ratings rather than the actual reviews.
      And so true! Don't want to waste my time reading crappy books.

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    2. Actually, I also do a certain amount of skipping reviews of books I haven't read, but only if I'm going to read a book in the near future. In that case, I don't want my review to be biased by someone else's opinion! But usually it's a while until I pick up a book, so I'll have forgotten most of a review. I would definitely unfollow a blogger who included spoilers though. Those are the worst!

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    3. Quite true! I'm also scared I might subconsciously write something the exact way someone else has. So it's just safer to stay away. We actually include spoilers in some of our reviews (these reviews are called "discussions" so that people know) but they're hidden under a spoiler tag, so it's pretty safe. I just hate it when people don't include a spoiler tag, especially on Goodreads. Definitely the worst!

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  12. I definitely judge a book by its genre! I tend to be wary of High-Fantasy, Contemporary, Science-Fiction and Classics because I've found that I don't enjoy these genres as much as other genres. However, that doesn't mean I never read those genres. If I wanted to read outside of my comfort zone the really blurb helps me to decide whether or not I will like a book.

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    1. Fair enough! Reading the blurb does seem the way to go. And sometimes I get sucked in by a book that has a reaaaaally high goodreads rating. If I see one that's over 4.5 I'm just like *adds to to-read shelf*

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  13. Hm... I guess I judge them unconsciously because while I do put books like NA, Contemporary on my TBR list. It takes me foooooooooooooorever to actually buy/borrow/steal them to read. I think I am pretty much TOO comfortable and in love with my comfort zone of sci-fi and fantasy, lol. T_T Although I guess it would help if someone put a physical copy of the book into my hands because I would read it, regardless of what genre it is. ;)

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    1. haha is there such a thing as being too comfortable in the comfort zone? I love sci-fi and fantasy as well! Especially high fantasy :D You can never get enough SFF ;) And so true! Whenever I get a physical copy, I feel this compulsion to read it regardless of whether or not it's in a genre I like.

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  14. The Sea of Tranquility and Slammed were SO good. But NA disappoints more often than it delivers, imo. (btw, I HATED Vain) And I'm definitely more likely to pick up a book labeled post apocalyptic or dystopian than a New Adult.

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    1. A fellow Vain hater! *hi-fives* So many people like that book! Don't even know why. It's seriously one of the most unrealistic books ever...

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  15. I totally do this! I tend to go for certain genres and stick up my nose at others. It's a habit I'm trying to break because I know I got to be missing out on great books. Great post, thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. I definitely do it for New Adult books haha. But then I'm worried I might miss out on some awesome books and tend to end up giving most books a try.

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  16. Definitely. I'm not the biggest fan of contemporary (I read to escape) however I love the really emotional, tragic contemporary. So if someone tells me, "Here's a light contemporary you should read" most of the time I'm already thinking it's not for me.

    Also, NA confuses me. It seems to be all about sex or romance, and I don't read primarily romance. I have no idea where to even begin reading it. I know my co-blogger Mari doesn't like it either, so I don't think you're alone.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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    1. Fair enough! I like to read all sorts of fiction genres (except NA and erotica). Sometimes I'm just really in the mood for a nice fluffy romance haha

      NA just seems overly dramatic sometimes- like the authors just throw in tragic events to somehow win over the reader or something. It just gets annoying if you read too many because they're all the same...

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