Fellow blogger supposedgenius162 of Thought Orchard tagged me in a book post about specific genres, and of course I couldn’t resist joining in the fun! I tried at first to limit myself to one recommendation per genre, but I soon realized that simply wasn’t possible. I am an English teacher, after all. Books are my “thing”. I’m mostly drawn to the classics, but I did try to sift in some more current recommendations into the mix, too. Enjoy!
I have an odd fascination with this genre. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching both The Giver by Lois Lowry (to middle school grades) and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (to high school classes). Bradbury in particular gives me the chills with both his ideas and his prose. Both books generated some awesome class discussions among my students, too. They were drawing parallels to The Hunger Games, while in my mind I was drawing parallels to Brave New World.
OK, confession time. I don’t like modern romance novels. I just don’t. They’re too sappy and have too much making out. That’s infatuation and physical attraction, not love. I prefer the classic romance stories, where the protagonists may barely touch each other, but still show their love in deeper, more heart-melting ways. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility, also by Jane Austen. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emma Orczy. The Anne of Green Gables series, by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Gilbert Blythe makes me swoon). Girls, go read those books, and then tell me how romantic Edward Cullen is. Seriously.
I also have a fascination with fantasy literature, though I’m kind of picky about what I like and don’t like in this genre. The first books I remember loving were The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I used to sneak away to reread them all the time as a kid. I also got sucked into Tolkien’s Middle Earth world in high school and read The Silmarillian in college, though I can’t really recommend it to anyone other than fellow Tolkien fans, since it reads like a history book. And it goes without saying that I love Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, which have both proven effective at turning non-readers into book-lovers! I’m a little less enamored with other modern fantasy authors, though. I like their ideas for stories, but often their writing styles bug me. (Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind fall into this category. I tried some of their books, but gave up on both). I do like Brandon Sanderson, particularly the Mistborn series. He is refreshingly original in the worlds he creates, and he is a skilled writer.
As popular as it is among young adults these days, I gotta go with the classics in this genre. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, for instance (though that may be more horror than paranormal, now that I think about it. Still, it’s a good book). Dracula by Bram Stoker is also satisfyingly creepy. Vampires are supposed to terrifying villains, not sexy, angst-ridden heart-throbs.
5. HISTORICAL FICTION
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy. I know I already mentioned this in the Romance section, but it is also excellent historical fiction, set during the French Reign of Terror. I loved teaching it. My students thought they would hate it, but I watched them get more and more engaged in the story until they couldn’t wait to discuss each new revelation and turn of events. It’s great! The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas is also very good, as is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Apparently I like European historical fiction.
Thanks again to supposedgenius162 for the prompt. Now that you all have an idea of my tastes, let me know if you have any recommendations for me!