January Genre Challenge: Fiction A-Z
The month of January eases you into this year's genre challenge, 12 genres in 12 months. You can pick anything you like as long as it's fiction.
I thought it might be fun to read a subgenre that I don't know much about. Here are a few that were suggested on the library's blog:
- Coming-of-Age stories
- Urban Fiction
- Magical Realism
- Fairy Tale
- Beach Reads
- Dystopian lit
The subgenre that jumped out at me from this list was magical realism. It's something that I've always had a little trouble defining other than the helpful "I know it when I see it" definition. I liked the article "Magical Realism: What is it?" because it clearly explains how this genre is not the same as fantasy: magical realism takes place in the real world, while fantasy takes place in an imaginary one.
I also really enjoyed the article "Where Our Magic Lives" because it pointed out some of the history and significance of the genre. For example, I learned that magical realism has roots in oppression and is centered on community.
Some of the popular authors in this genre include Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Alice Hoffman, and Toni Morrison.
Since I've previously read so little in this genre, I only have one recommendation this month:
I recommend: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This book tells the tale of two illusionists who are pitted against each other in a deadly game set up by their masters. If you're an artist, there's tons of fascinating imagery in this book that could easily inspire dozens of projects. (When I looked to see if I had taken any notes about this book, I found that I had just done sketches instead of words.) If you're a writer, you may find it fascinating (and encouraging!) that an early draft of this book was written during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
Recommended by Inspired by Reading in 2015.
Here are the few magical realism books that made my short list:
Possibility #1: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Why this interests me: This is a young adult book where suffragettes and hypnotism play a role. Even though it takes place in Victorian times, I'm hoping I'll find some modern-day relevance.
Recommended by: Magical Realism YA Books That Will Creep Into Your Dreams
Possibility #2: The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig
Why it interests me: The author is a known cookbook author; this is her first novel. I just love the idea of different flavors of cake having different meanings. (I'm hoping that this book won't cause me to snack too much. Sometimes food-related books have that effect on me!)
Possibility #3: The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg
Why it interests me: The only book I've read by Fannie Flagg was Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and that was years ago. I enjoyed it and am curious about reading her newest book.
Recommended by: 11 New Magical Realism Books to Escape With
I'll be reading one (or possibly more) of these books this month.
For other ideas, check out my Book Recommendations board on Pinterest. I'll be adding book lists throughout the year as I come across intriguing ones.
Next Month (February): Romance! This is a genre I don't normally read, so if you have suggestions for me, please get in touch.