This week’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic as selected by The Broke and The Bookish is a freebie, so I’ve decided to go with…
My Top Ten Book Types I Will Buy. Guaranteed.
This will take some explaining but I’m referring to books written in a specific format or includes a particular trope that will make me instantly fork over my money. Every. Single. Time. I could read these sorts a million times and I could not break their hold over me, even if I wanted to.
Still a bit confused? Let’s jump into the list then.
- Epistolary fiction. Anything written in letter format (so it could be letters between people, diary entries etc). I ate up ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Letters from the Inside’. Read my love for this fiction type right here.
- Unreliable narrators. I love reading stories and then finding out half way or at the end that what they just said was a complete and utter lie like Atonement (but for some reason I didn’t like ‘Gone Girl’, go figure).
- Books with a dream-like prose. It’s hard to explain and only some authors can do it. Of the top of my head, only Haruki Murakami, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Donna Tartt is appearing. But I’m thinking of long-winded novels where it’s difficult to explain the plot and not much appears to happen, yet you can’t put it down because you want to know what happens next and the next thing you know you’ve devoured the entire thing in one sitting and almost had a semi-religious moment experiencing it. This is a matter of personal preference so I’m always searching for the next hit.
- Locked Room Fiction. I eat that shit up and I never get tired of it. I love crime fiction and this plot type is one of the most robust and reliable crime fiction sub-genres ever since Poe burst onto the scene with ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’.
- Stories where a crime drives the plot but its not crime fiction. Consider for example the following: ‘The Secret History’, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’, ‘The Virgin Suicides, ‘Jasper Jones’. A crime happens and kickstarts the plot but the story is not defined by the crime, along the way the author discusses a number of other themes that become integral to the formation of the plot.
- Short stories with a twist. I’m not referring to novellas but stories like Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’, Roald Dahl’s ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, Poe’s ‘The Cask of Amontillado’. Any short story that doesn’t give me time to overthink the direction of the plot and the twist comes so hard and fast that I’m still reeling long after the story has ended.
- Dystopian/Speculative fiction. Not the ones where people are trying to overthrow a government but one where it’s heavy in symbolism (Atwood’s ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’). Or only a small, but crucial element has changed and I read about how the characters have normalised this change (‘Never Let Me Go’). I don’t want the ‘new world’ to distract me from the plot, rather, the new world should merely be a vessel for a very pointed comment.
- Stories that seem sweet and wholesome on the surface but has a sharpness to it that stops it from being too cloying. This is why I’m crazy for ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’. And ‘The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’. It’so earnest with it’s appreciation of people and living life to its fullest but there’s an underlying acidity that gives it depth and identity, so the writing isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
- A detective who’s as brilliant as they are strange. You know, the Sherlock Holmes, and the Poirots. I like brains over brawn and I like them a little anti-social, a little rude and a little fastidious. It is the oldest trope in crime fiction given how reliable and realistic this character type is but I never bore of it.
- The Fourth Wall Acknowledgement. As much as I like a serious read, I love it when I’m reading a book in a series that’s over-saturated and over-developed (like crime fiction) and the author acknowledges this, so their story, as well-written as it is, is a bit tongue-in-cheek (like The Phyrne Fisher series). The author doesn’t need to break the fourth wall completely but leaning on it is enough for me.
It’s a bit all over the shop isn’t it? I try to keep my reading list as eclectic as I can to stop me from getting bored.