Books That Opened Up A Genre (Claire Edition)

So I loved Nikki’s post so much that I decided to do my own version of it! I’ve done something similar in the past where I chronicled my favourite series when I was a youngster and teenager.


Mystery & Thriller

 In the Miso Soup 20629795

I blame my Dad for getting me into this genre. Actually, I think you might find that my Dad & Mum are to blame for much of my bookish addictions these days. I received my first Nancy Drew novel at 9 and I’ve been hooked since, even now at 26 I frequently reread the books based on that sassy mystery detective.

I soon graduated to historical mysteries, or thrillers with some sort of academic intrigue, my mother got me Carrie as well as my first Dan Brown and they are such easy reads for me! I will always cherish this genre and always looking for the next read here. I tend to prefer historical mysteries and thrillers rather than contemporary works though.


Out by Natsuo Kirino In the Miso Soup 20629795

My father is a big history buff but he nurtured my love of fiction rather than nonfiction. This obsession was tarted with my Art Teacher when I did the IB in Canada and he lent me Color and it’s been seriously, downhill ever since. I never conceived that microhistory was a thing but it’s amazing to suss out the history and culture that surrounds something as simple or mundane as color, or sugar. The tough part about this genre is finding books that I want to read in it, there have been new works recently, such as a history of maps or salt, but has anyone else read something in this genre that you’d recommend? It’d love to find something new to read!


Lemony Snicket23302416Witches Don't Do Backflips

I’ve spoken about this in a few past posts as well but my obsession with Fantasy was started by my father. I was living in Barbados and lonely and he picked me up a copy of Harry Potter and I’ve never, ever, put it down since. I quickly graduated to other fantasy works, and I remember Eragon standing out to me the most here because when my Father gave it to me as a gift, I was all snooty thinking, I don’t read Dragon books. Pah. Lies.

There are so many other books in this genre that got me hooked, such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian (which I am rereading now), but Harry Potter, Interview with a Vampire and Eragon got me into the different subgrenres in Fantasy fiction. I am now a full-fledged lover of magic, sexy historical vampires and roaring dragons. In fact, if I have to rank genres from most favourite to least favourite, Fantasy is #1 I believe, with historical thrillers maybe falling in at #2.

Young Adult

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I didn’t get into YA till I was 22. I remember that distinctly because I had just moved back to The Bahamas, I had my first job and I had received my first kindle and pow, my world was opened up. I actually credit GoodReads for getting me into this genre, I didn’t know it existed till I saw the number of novels listed on the website.

I credit Holly Black and John Green’s Looking for Alaska for getting me into this genre. Granted, a number of the YA novels I like are Fantasy oriented rather than contemporary focused but they’re still amazing. It’s been 4 years later and I am still interested in YA but I will admit that I have fallen out of love with the genre a little bit since- it’s a very saturated field and I find it a tad hard to find books that I really like here. I’ve read Fangirl and besides a few Fantasy YA (such as Ash and Hunter by Malinda Lo, who is hands down, one of my favourite authors) books, I haven’t picked up a YA in a while.

Manga & Graphic Novels

15995747The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater, urban fantasy, YABlue Lily, Lily Blue

I only have myself to blame here. I picked up my first manga at 13 when I was visiting Florida with my family and didn’t look inside, I just thought it was a Sailor Moon book but when I opened it I was surprised, it had pictures! It was like a comic! I quickly graduated to other books, especially by CLAMP (I love them), such as Magic Knight Rayearth and Chobits.

Now, I didn’t get into graphic novels until… 2 years ago. Actually, I was at YALC and walking around with Rinn and she stopped at a stall and I saw Saga, heard it was good and picked it up. Now I am a huge fan of graphic novels and always trying to find others to pick up.

LGBTQ Fiction

15995747The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater, urban fantasy, YABlue Lily, Lily Blue

So, picture this, you’re a gat teenager living in a homophobic country. I didn’t have a computer so you don’t have an outlet there and good luck finding anything queer in a library. So a lot of the books that I read as a teenager in this genre were given to be via stealth, through the small gay community that I knew of in high school or friends. I wasn’t out so I didn’t want my family to know what I was reading, so the more normal a book looked the better.

That being said, the above 3 novels got me hooked into this genre. Even as a teenager I found that I wasn’t into reading books with the tortured protagonist who fell in love with a girl or was thrown out of their homes, that was and is still, too much a of a reality for me and the people that I know so I prefer to read historical LGBTQ books or fantasy oriented tomes (For that I really can’t recommend Ash and Hunter by Malinda Lo enough, seriously). I am always, however, pleasantly surprised when I read “normal” books with LGBTQ characters included, so authors, come on, get some diversity going!

“World” Fiction

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I’ve read quite a bit of Caribbean fiction due to my studies in high school so I’ve been familiar with Naipaul for some time. However, reading The God of Small Things cemented my interest in cultural fiction, or basically, novels set somewhere that isn’t Western Europe or the US (I think it’s ridiculous that this gets called “World Fiction” but that’s going to be a nother discussion post…). This genre has always been popular and stable but I’ve found it has becoming increasingly in the public eye- have you read a book in this genre that you particularly enjoy?

The Black Experience

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I didn’t know what to call this genre so I name it with some trepidation. I was fortunate to read a number of books in high school centered on evaluating the black experience in contemporary society. In high school, with a Caribbean focus being instilled, this centered around reading a number of books by Jamaica Kincaid who I am a huge fan of. Seriously, I’d cry if I met her.

Being biracial and of ambiguous ethnic appearance, and having a very strong black mother, I’ve always had an interest in this genre and my sort of… liminal space in it. Another book I’d recommend here is Caucasia by Danzy Senna. I find it difficult to find books in this genre as well but I am glad to see that it has increased in its awareness in the past few years. Books like The Help have even entered mainstream literature with Toni Morrison ana classical writer in herself.

So! This is an extensive list but are there any books that championed your interest in a particular genre?

What books have been gateways into whole genres for you?



About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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11 Responses to Books That Opened Up A Genre (Claire Edition)

  1. Pingback: 4 Favourite Books Written by Caribbean Authors | Bitches With Books

  2. Pingback: Claire x Nikki Review September 2015 | Bitches With Books

  3. This post is wonderful! I never thought much about this topic and thanks to you guys, I now know what to blog next. Eragon was a very influential book for me in Fantasy. Probably why I love dragons.

  4. My love for fantasy also started with Harry Potter. I’ve read a couple of books before that and I quite liked it, but after HP I became obsessed and it’s still my number 1 genre nowadays.

  5. I’ve never read Nancy Drew but it seems to be a common transition book into the genre, I definitely want to read some eventually! Carrie was also probably one of mine, although I wasn’t a huge fan. Eragon and Harry Potter-YUP! They were some of my first fantasy books too! Plus Sailor Moon and Chobits, the nostalgia! That original cover ❤

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I had to go with that original cover, it just makes me feel all warm and beautiful again. Nancy Drew is a good intro to girl detective stories, and it’s a fun simple read (they are never longer than 120 pages)

  6. Nicole says:

    !!!! HOW could I forget SHOJO MANGA!!???!!???
    YOOOOOOOOU got me hooked on that! I remember really loving pawing through all your Magic Knight Rayearth books and after that I bought Angelic Layer and LOOOOVED it so much! It all started there… siiigh.
    Thanks, girl :’)

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