#WDYTWed: how much does a book’s genre matter to you?

October 16, 2019

#WDYTWed: how much does a book’s genre matter to you?

In the more than ten years that I’ve been writing this blog (the first post was August 28, 2009), one of my favorite things has been interacting with the readers.

That used to happen a lot more. When I started out, I averaged 1,000 new words a day, but in more recent times, I just haven’t been able to do that. I’ve been trying to write more narratives again, but without that, the blog doesn’t tend to provoke many comments…and I miss that. I think my long time readers do, too.

One of those long time readers and amongst my most frequent commenters is Lady Galaxy, who suggested that I write something once a week with the intent of increasing interaction.

It’s a good idea. 🙂

I think the best way to do that is to do one or more polls (which I’ve done throughout the past decade).

I’ve decided to name this series #WDYTWed. WDYT is an internet abbreviation for “What Do You Think?”, and I’m going to do them on Wednesdays. Hopefully, just about every Wednesday…

Today, let’s talk about genres.

I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore. One of the first things you might notice in a traditional bookstore is that the store is divided into sections.

That might be done by signs hanging from the ceiling, or labels in the aisles.

I’m talking about a new bookstore, by the way. Used bookstores are sometimes just a jumble of everything, with no organization. Not always, of course.

Some people find the latter a thrill…it’s that sense that you’ve discovered something someone else might have missed.

Others, I would guess most, find that uncomfortable. They want to get into the store and know where they are going and what sorts of books they’ll find.

Why?

Why go to a romance section, or a science fiction section, or a mystery section? Why not just look at a shelf of random books, with everything all next to each other?

That answer probably seems obvious: there are different types of books and within those categories, there are similarities. If you already know that a particular type of book appeals to you (and perhaps that other types don’t), you have a better chance of finding a book you like.

People commonly call those groupings of books “genres”.

That’s a slippery term, though.

It comes from the same root as the word “genus” (as in genus and species), which would suggest a common origin.

Most people don’t use it that way, although some may still search for books by French authors, or written by authors of one gender, or religion…that suggests a common origin.

I’d say readers generally consider a genre to mean that there are books with similar content…although dictionary definitions will also cite style.

I’d go with content.

I wouldn’t define “sad” as a genre, for example.

Readers outside of a genre sometimes denigrate the very similarities which make them attractive to fans: golden age science fiction, with its rockets and BEMs (Bug-Eyed Monsters). “Bodice ripper” romances, with its dukes and stable boys…part of the appeal is those familiar elements.

I recently read a non-fiction book I found very insightful:

The Hitmakers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Probably the most important idea was that the brain’s favorite thing is to discover familiar patterns in unfamiliar settings (that’s my restatement of it). That makes sense: recognizing patterns is one of the ways that the brain earns its share of blood.

It explains a lot of things. Why do sequels do well? We can recognize something familiar (say, a character), but in something new (a different story). Too similar, and it seems boringly repetitious. Too different, and it’s jarring, “out of character”.

Genres, then, would be the norm because it helps us predict that experience: familiar patterns in unfamiliar settings.

Of course, the definitions of genres are imprecise and can lead to passionate argument. I’ve seen that many times with science fiction, especially when it gets lumped with fantasy (lumping is not an insult, by the way: there’s a division amongst people who define categories of animals and plants..lumpers and splitters. Lumpers like fewer species definitions, splitters like more). There were fans who were adamant that Star Wars was not science fiction: it was perhaps, science fantasy, or even just straight fantasy. Mainstream media tends to refer to it as science fiction, since it has…hey, rockets and BEMs! 😉

As a Fortean (a follower of Charles Fort), I don’t have hard and fast definitions: everything blends into everything else (that is, perhaps, the core tenet, if we can call it that, of Forteanism…except that all of the tenets and non-tenets blur). 😉

Now, let’s get to some polls!

I am already running a poll on Twitter, but as Lady Galaxy pointed out, not everyone can vote on Twitter. If you can, this one lets you pick between some genres:

https://twitter.com/bufocalvin/status/1184077464366043136

Here, let’s address some different questions:

Looking forward to seeing your responses!


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

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Happy bookish birthdays (16 October) to…

October 16, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (16 October) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (15 October) to…

October 15, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (15 October) to…


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (October 14) to…

October 14, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (October 14) to…


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (13 October) to…

October 13, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (13 October) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (12 October) to…

October 12, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (12 October) to…


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (11 October) to…

October 11, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (11 October) to…


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (10 October) to…

October 10, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (10 October) to…


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (9 October) to…

October 9, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (9 October) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Happy bookish birthdays (8 October) to…

October 9, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (8 October) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)


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