Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Welcome to the Genre

Fifteen years ago I was in graduate school reading lots of Victorian novels. Ten years ago I was a married lady reading lots of literary fiction. Five years ago I was pregnant reading lots of murder mysteries. I sort of thought that last phase was a temporary thing that went along with being knocked up--you're hungry, you're tired, you're brain dead, you're eating two breakfasts and taking naps and reading genre fiction, right? And that sometime things would go back to "normal" and I'd eschew thrillers for more literary fare once more. And, yes, that might someday happen. But I am here to tell you: it hasn't happened yet. My birthday was the other day and I gave myself permission to buy whatever books I would like. The results are above: a comic memoir, a mystery, a graphic novel, and a YA novel. This is what I actually read. The reason I am now back to reading the number of books a year that I read before having a baby (or, more accurately, before returning to work after having a baby--maternity leave having been a great time to get reading done actually) is virtually 100 of the books I read now are both shorter, "easier," and more page-turn-y than the ones I read back then. And while I am not at all convinced that there is an actual difference in quality between 72 carefully chosen genre books and 72 literary books, there is certainly a difference in the number of reading hours it takes to complete them. All of which is to say...what exactly? I'm not sure. Except maybe that this is what I like to read right now and it is what I'm going to buy and read and I'm going to (try to) not feel bad about it. Welcome to the genre, people.

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