Friday, 2 October 2015

Favourite Books by Genre (part 1)

My list of favourite books is always growing. I love every book for different reasons, so instead of sharing all of the books I adore (which would take a very long time and be pretty boring), I thought I would pick my favourite from each genre and give a mini review.

For this post I will focus on fiction aimed at an older audience (although personally I think most of these books can be read by all ages) and in part 2 I will focus on books that are aimed at children and young adults.

Adventure: 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding
I love adventure stories because they are always moving. They don't need to be packed with action, but there is nothing worse than a slow or poorly paced story as it can completely ruin a perfectly good book.
This was a difficult genre to pick for, but I went with 'Lord of the Flies' because of it's beautiful symbolism and how Golding shows even a morally sound protagonist can be corrupted. The author said that his intention with this book was to contradict the 'perfect British boy' trope seen in many other adventure stories and show how everyone has the potential for evil. This book reflects society and how even children can become power obsessed - manipulating and deceiving others in order to create a sense of fear and gain control.

Historical Fiction: 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak
I wrote a review of 'The Book Thief' which you can find here.
I do not read historical fiction particularly often and when I do it is often limited to books set during the second World War. Although there are millions of books set during this time, Zusak proves that there are still stories to be told.
The focus of this book is on friendship and family, which much of today's fiction is severely lacking.What I love about 'The Book Thief' is that it offers a haunting new perspective on the time of the Holocaust in the centre of Hitler's Germany. The narrator is able to demonstrate the different aspects of humanity, showing why different people act the way they do and how kindness can be displayed in different ways.

Classic: 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I wrote a review of 'The Great Gatsby' which you can find here.
I was stuck with choosing between 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Great Gatsby', but I chose the latter as it was freshest in my mind.
'The Great Gatsby' is labelled as The Great American Novel, and while I don't know if it deserves all the hype, I do believe it is worthy of praise.
As you can likely guess by this point, I love fiction that accurately reflects human nature. Many modern novels are written because there is a story to be told, but for a story to truly make an impact on me, it needs to have the power to make me pause and think. The reason that this book is such a success is that it has an impact on people, showing us the consequences of fixating on something or someone to the point where the lines of illusion and reality blur, causing us to see only what we want to see.

Mystery: 'Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection' by Arthur Conan Doyle
If you want to enter the mystery genre, there is no better place to start than with Mr Holmes - accurately labelled as 'The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die'.
This particular kindle copy has all of the stories as well as a list of special features including a list of films and series' featuring Sherlock Holmes and a Reading Guide to additional books written by other authors. I am writing my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on Conan Doyle's iconic character and how modern adaptations in fiction, cinema and television alter Sherlock Holmes' traits in order to appeal to society today. Although I have not read all of the stories in this collection, they have been excellent so far and have encouraged me to read more into the mystery genre.

Science Fiction: 'Cloud Atlas' by David Mitchell
I struggle to put into words how much I adore this book. Cloud Atlas tells the story of six lives interlocking through different time periods, each character with their own distinct voice yet still maintaining something in common with the others.
Mitchell uses a completely different writing style for each section reflecting different genres of fiction, making it seem almost as though each part was written by a different person. A lot of people say Mitchell was trying to show off by doing this, but there is no arguing that it was beautifully written throughout. I personally found the first section a bit slow and difficult to read, but I am so glad I stuck to it because Cloud Atlas is now one of my all time favourite books.

Can you think of your favourite book in each genre? I found some were more difficult than others and it made me realise that there are many genres I have yet to explore further. If you've been reading lots of a particular genre, try reading one of these books or something a little out of your comfort zone - you might surprise yourself.


  1. I so, so, so would love to read LORD OF THE FLIES! It sounds like such a complex story that would send chills down my spine, knowing even the best of us can be tempted by power and by the urge to do bad. It's really difficult to single out a favorite book for each genre, but for magical realism, I would totally go for THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI! Have you read that one yet?

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. Lord of the Flies is a must read! I studied it in school and it actually made me love the story more. I have never heard of The Golem and the Jinni until today, but it sounds like such an interesting read - I've added it to my TBR!