24 August 2014

CONFESSION: Your Favourite "Kind" of Book? (I Don't Mean the Genre)

"What's your favourite kind of book?"

Would you answer with a vague mention of your all-time-fave, most-loved, totes-amazing* book? You probably would. Most likely, you would probably use the name of its genre, such as "action" or "romance" or "science fiction"; or perhaps you would use an adjective that describes it, like "thrilling" or "meaningful."

And that's fine. It just doesn't answer the question.

The correct answer to the question:

Be specific. Be honest. Elaborate in your response. Why do you love that kind of book? What about that book makes you love it? Here are some prompts that will have you thinking:
  • Get personal: Is it written about a subject that reminds you of a past experience, struggle, or memory (like a relationship or your childhood)?
  • Take it in twos: Choose two aspects of the story and decide which is your favourite; then, try to figure out why you selected it. For instance, do you prefer the characters' dialogue and vernaculars, or the lengthy paragraphs of descriptive narrations? Do you like the course the story takes, or are you completely thrilled by plot twists?
  • The end result: What do you receive from books like this? How are you changed now from the way you were prior to reading that book? Consider a multitude of things: your perspective of the world surrounding you, your perception of the people you love. . . . Even your sense of humour, is that different now?
In my opinion, this question doesn't restrict itself to genre. You can answer with the name of the genre that your favourite book is categorized within. But, more surely, I doubt that this question refers strictly or directly to the genre of a book; and it's for this reason that, if your first instinct is to respond with a one-word genre, a more important question to ask yourself is why you like the genre (as opposed to asking yourself why you like a certain book within that genre).

"What about me?"

Yeah, so you tried to ponder the prompts I offered you above; they might have made you think a little bit, but you're still not sure about the way you feel.

Personally, I love brief, relatable, powerful books that capture my heart and refuse to return it to me, even for ransom. This way, my thoughts are provoked and my emotions are toyed with, but because the book is short in length, my patience remains intact. A prime example of a book like this is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, my feelings toward which you can read more about in this post.

So, take the time to think carefully about your favourite kind of story. Once you figure it out, you can more easily and efficiently select books to read that will prove to be enjoyable and fulfilling.

Maybe your favourite kind of book frequently uses the "strong female character" archetype.

Maybe it doesn't.

Maybe your favourite kind of book is nowhere near popular, not at all in the "mainstream" category, and is totally unheard of (except by you and its author).

Maybe it isn't.

Simply put, your favourite kind of book should be one that makes you wish more authors would write about. Even better, it motivates you to write one yourself.

It's perfectly fine and 100% a positive thing to have two or more favourite kinds of books. If you haven't discovered "your" book yet, keep exploring.

*I do not condone the use of the word "totes." In fact, I resent it on the basis that it is simply awful (although amusing when used ironically).

So, what's your favourite kind of book? Do you use the word "totes" on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments!

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