Monday, January 28, 2013

In a Genre Rut - Recommend Books to Me!!

You see, lately, I haven't read a single modern book. I've only picked up classics from Barnes and Noble. Why? Because they are proven to be good - they are classics after all.

I don't feeling that a book has wasted my time, because I could have been reading something that might have been much, much better. There are thousands, millions of books out there, and hundreds of classics; there is only one me, and one life I have to live. I don't want to waste my time reading useless books. So I go to those proven to be amazing: classics.

I've only read classics for almost two years or so, with only a few exceptions (one being A Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling). I can't get myself to buy a modern book unless I've heard from so many people that it is good.

There are so many classics out there. Proven life-changers. I want every book I read to change my life or my writing style. I want to improve my writing and my life with each book I read, and classics are proven to do that.

But the trouble is, classics are old-fashioned. They are written in a style that is no longer in use, and if you do use the same style as Dickens, well, you'll have a tough time getting traditionally published. It's just out of vogue.

If you want to be published, reading classics is not bad (it is actually fantastic); being addicted to them is. And I am definitely addicted.

Plus, I could be missing out on so many amazing books (that thought scares me).

I recently went to Barnes and Noble with the intention to buy something new.. I ended up with Anna Karenina (by Tolstoy), This Side of Paradise (by Fitzgerald), and a four-book-set of Ernest Hemingway.


Help me! Recommend some books to me! I need to freshen up my writerly palette; I need to know how books are being written today, and somehow, I've come to think that modern books = useless, and classics = the only books worth reading. THAT IS NOT TRUE! I know it in my brain, but not in my heart.

So, please, if anyone knows any books with great characters and EMOTION (this is big; I love heart-wrenching books, even though I've never legitimately cried in a book.... Whoops) please, suggest them to me.

I love a good tragedy, as long as it is not a "Good gosh, I hate this ending" type of tragedy. Think A Tale of Two Cities, The Casual Vacancy, and Les Misérables. YES, LES MISÉRABLES! Basically: bittersweet endings. Those are awesome. Either adult or YA, doesn't matter, and fantasy or contemporary or realistic... doesn't matter :D

In the end, I just want a book that is powerful, so even if it is chick lit, please, tell me. Basically, what is your favorite book?

Thank you so much guys!

One thing you can take away from my lesson: being in a reading rut is not good.

You write how you read; if you read the same things over and over again, your writing will be formulaic and boring. Why not incorporate some literary elements in your thriller? Branch out! Explore! Read different things so you can bring something new to your own genre.

Has anyone else experienced being in a genre-rut, or am I the only one?

Now I'm off to read Anna Karenina. Sigh. Thanks for your help!


  1. Replies
    1. Last few decades? 10-20ish years? I'm not really TOO picky though :D

  2. I haven't read any classics (aka books older than 100 + years) for a few years now.

    Sorry, I can't help with the suggestions. I pretty much just read YA and NA novels. :)

  3. Don't read my books then.
    Wow, I wouldn't even know what to suggest.

  4. What about Life of Pi by Yann Martel and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? Both are YA, I think, but they're great :)

  5. If you're interested in non-fiction, may I recommend "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner. It just offers a unique way of looking at things.

  6. SUCH a great topic!

    I'd HIGHLY recommend THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson. It's a YA contemp that's basically just a love triangle/grief story, but the writing is SUPERB and there's something in its core that's just classic. It's one of those books that kids could read in 30 years and still relate to, and the writing... oh, my. This one is bittersweet, funny, touching, poignant, romantic, and has a literary bent somehow. It's just...sigh. It's maybe the perfect book, IMO. Best modern, contemporary book I've read EVER.

    Close second would be LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green (fits into your bittersweet endings/melancholy criteria). It's also a male protagonist, which is a nice change for YA contemp, I think.

    Let me know if you read either, and if you like either. Seriously, though, I so strongly recommend THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, I want to, like, send it to you! READ IT!