Definition of Genres | Discussion Sunday

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Discussion Sunday is our meme used to have an open discussion about anything books. It’s not necessarily every week, just whenever we have a topic we’d like to talk about. If you’d like to join us on your own blog, please credit us and send us the link so we can discuss your topic with you! 

This week I’d like to discussion something that bothers me a lot of the time and that’s the definition of genres in literature and why they shouldn’t matter.

Now, I’m not necessarily talking about genres like horror or  contemporary but Young Adult, Middle Grade, and New Adult.

A few years ago, I was at an author event with Rae Carson and a few other authors and she talked for a little bit about how she had to make some of the characters in her Fire and Thrones series a little younger so that they would fit into the Young Adult genre. I didn’t really know until then that genres like Middle Grade, Young Adult, and New Adult are just age categories of the characters who’s perspective the book is written from. I had been lead to believe (by no one in particular) that books were placed in those genres based on the reading level. Which is how many people that I’ve encountered believe. The Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. And in that case, many “classics” are Young Adult.

When talking to older readers (about 30-60 years of age), I found that many of them call Young Adult literature “kids books”. And if you read Young Adult, you know that is not the case. I’ve also found that a lot of people tend to steer clear of Young Adult because they think it’s not as high quality because it’s “meant for kids”. I’ve even found a few Young Adult readers who won’t read Middle Grade because “it’s for kids”. And I find that disappointing. It’s disappointing that some readers will limit their reading. That they won’t give new genres a chance because of preconceived notions. I like to think that genres shouldn’t matter. If you see a book that you want to read, that looks interesting, you should read it even if it’s not in your “normal” genre. Personally, I read mostly Young Adult because YA books tend to interest me most. But I do love a good Middle Grade fantasy or an adult horror or a New Adult romance. And if the right book comes along, I’ll read it regardless of genre. I think all readers should be able to read whatever they want without limiting themselves to a genre.  Everyone has preferences but those preferences shouldn’t prevent one from new reading experiences. Genres like Middle Grade and Young Adult are just guide lines to the character’s age. Not rules to who should read them.

What’s your opinion on literary genres? How often do you read outside of your preferred genre(s)? I would love to know your opinion on this subject!

-Taylor

10 thoughts on “Definition of Genres | Discussion Sunday

  1. MyTinyObsessions says:

    I actually always known that it’s related to the age of the characters… it’s why ACOTAR is between YA and NA, slightly older protagonist…

    I’m 31, and I mainly read YA. And honestly, if I’m comparing it to other romances and so on, YA is a lot more complicated most of the times, and also, better written!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah H. says:

    I strongly agree with this post! I also read mostly Young Adult, but I’ve found that I want to kind of venture from it; this is mostly because I’m finding a lot of YA books repetitive and unoriginal. However, I’m finding it hard for me to find adult books that interest me. I think that the genre of books goes beyond the age of the characters. There are wide ranges of YA topics, but it feels like the topics in adult are even more vast. That’s because there isn’t really any taboo topics in adult like there is in YA. I hope I’m making sense, haha. But yes, I feel like people shouldn’t judge a genre. It’s weird to think that most classics are in the YA genre, yet people still won’t read YA. I wonder what their response would be if we told them that!

    Like

  3. Myrthe says:

    I also thought the books were qualified that way because of reading level, not the ages of the characters in the books…

    Anyway, all of the so-called YA used to be in the same section of the library as the children’s books; since they’re meant for those between 12-18, they really are children’s books. However, I do love children’s books! I don’t limit myself to certain age ranges, because I’d miss out on a lot of good stories. I find the labeling of books in this way a bit ridiculous; reading level would be much more understandable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Josephine says:

    I totally agree with this topic! I don’t think the genre labels should really matter. Of course it’s good for categorizing books but gosh, people shouldn’t judge whether they should read it or not because of its genre label! I read any book that I find interesting no matter what genre, whether it be middle grade, YA or NA!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. susannahhtaylor says:

    I recently started understanding my need to expand to other genres & give every book a chance. It’s been very liberating. I barely look at genre anymore & pick up a book if it has a great summary or a cover I like

    Liked by 1 person

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