Friday, October 31, 2008

Question of the day: what's your subgenre path?

 I've been thinking about how different readers come to books with different reading backgrounds, and it got me thinking about the paths we take through subgenres. 

For example, I came in with Outlander and Bitten and proceeded from there, and my subgenre path would be:

Urban Fantasy - paranormal - historical - erotica - contemporary.  

I guess I'm not counting Outlander there. What is it, even? I haven't hit steam punk - is that a subgenre?  Do people consider M/M a subgenre? You can have M/M of any subgenre, but I often see it called out separately. So M/M is in there after historical for me if it is. Also, though I read several of the Kushiel series, I didn't list fantasy in there.  I don't consider myself a fantasy reader. Yet. 

Okay, that's like nine questions!  I need more coffee.

But do tell, what is your subgenre path? And if you have answers to any of my other questions, feel free. 


Kati said...

I came in with a Silhouette Language of Love book called Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts (c) 1981.

But I lean these days much more towards paranormals and straight contemp. I do read historicals occasionally but not that often.

Carolyn Jean said...

Irish Thoroughbred. That's very sweet. I didn't know you weren't a big historical reader! I guess I just assumed.

lisabea said...

My first romance was...I think...Captive Passions? Maybe? 1978 And Forever by Judy Blume. And then...probably Rosemary Rogers. OMG.

M/'s like you start the description that way:

m/m regency were horse shifter mystery. IDK. I just make it up as I go.

lisabea said...

Ok there should be a PERIOD following 1978 cuz..yeah...


Sayuri said...

Mine goes a little like this..

Fantasy & Sci-fi - Urban Fantasy - Paranormal Romance - Contemp - M/M - Historical...

With little side trips into ordinary fiction and classic etc.

I always enjoyed romance (Lived on my gran's M&B when I was a leetle girl.) But really only started reading romance properly this year in January.

Kati said...

CJ - I go in phases usually. I've got about 15 hisotircals languishing right now on my TBR shelves. I'm just not in the mood. I read the ones I have to review, but other than that, I've been off of historicals for a while. With the notable exception of Broken Wing by Judith James which I read and adored.

LB - Wow, I didn't count Forever. But I'm quite sure I read that after Irish Thoroughbred. But I remember that book making a real impression on me. I should see if I can find a copy and re-read it and see if it's actually any good. I read it when I was about 13, and was scandalized by the frankness of it. In the 80s romance novels were full of "honeypots" and "staff of loves." Can you believe Forever was written in 1975?? Judy Blume is amazing!

Jessica said...

what a great question. I also like the question about m/m. I wonder why a regency m/m and a contemp m/m are considered the same subgenre. I don;t liek that idea, personally.

I started in March 2007 by picking up JR Ward's 3rd Black Dagger Brotherhood book (Butch's story), not realizing it was romance or a series. I then glommed them, and then on to more vamp.paranormal. The historical, then contemp, then romantica. I still read all the subgenres.

Katie Reus said...

Hmmm, I read a lot of Harlequin's I'd pilfered from my mom's stash when I was a kid, but the first romance I remember the name of and that actually brought me to LOVE romance would fall under the romantic suspense genre.

It's All the Queens Men by Linda Howard. I think it was in 99 or 2000 b/c it was my first year of college, and I still re-read that book every year (don't know when it was written though)

Brie said...

Interesting question. I began reading again about a year ago after being too busy to read for about two years prior to that. The first book I picked up after my reading drought was Dark Lover. And so my reading path began like this:

Paranormal Romance - Historical Romance- Romantic Suspense - Fantasy Romance - Urban Fantasy - Fantasy- Science Fiction -Historical Fiction.

Now I read about anything from those (sub)genres at any given time.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

My first book official read for fun was Gone with the Wind, so I guess epic historical romance and then I went to VC Andrews which would be Gothic Incest Mystery. From there Beatrice Small so that would be Erotic More Incest Romance.

Wow, I read some messed up books as a teen.

Carolyn Jean said...

LB: Oh, Captive Passions. I can only imagine.

Sayuri: oooh, you came in from Scifi/fantasy. I wish there had been M & B around where I grew up.

Kati: Maybe you could send it on a tour! (JK),

Jessica: Ah, a similar path to mine. I think the vampire intro is increasingly common. And yes, the M/M. How do you call it out, but not make it something separate?

Katie: I must read Howard!

Brie: You came in on vamps, too! Did yo read romance before it?

KB: Leave it to you for a path like that. No wonder you ended on sheep!!!

Nicola O. said...

m/m regency were horse shifter mystery. IDK. I just make it up as I go.

OMG you ladies crack me up.

I don't think I have a path so much as, like, a giant turbo vacuum cleaner in my brain -- I read almost anything and almost everything romance.

I'm shocked by those of you who can pin down your very first book. I started reading romance so long ago those titles (which weren't all that memorable anyway) are lost to the mists of time. Harlequins, I'm sure. Before that, Sue Barton, ___ Nurse series. Before that, Nancy Drew. I mean, she and Ned kinda had it goin' on, don't you think?

I was very happy when Harlequin Presents came out because: sex. Mmmm. Pretty sure I was still in jr. high at that point. I know I read Scruples by Judith Krantz as a freshman in HS -- hard to forget a book that starts out with the heroine reveling in the smell of cock in her hair.

So, uh, yeah, pretty much everything, any time. Totally loved Flannery O'Day-Connor's time travel books when they first came out. I've been there for the rise of the paranormals. I read Outlander early on. I read Captive Passions (one of the first reviews on Alpha Heroes, lisabea!) I read historicals, contemps, paranormals, time travels, suspense, you name it.

My least favorite are the romantic suspense ones though, especially if there are gorey murders and/or creepy serial killers involved. I actively avoid those, and I haven't really managed to get into futuristic ones, either. Even though I like Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz, I haven't even tried her futuristic ones. The premise just doesn't grab me, I guess.

(uh, sorry that was so long...)

Holly said...

I read my first romance waaaayyy back in the day (like, before some of you were even born..ok, not really, but I wanted to be one of the cool kids, dammit!) and can't remember the title. But in 2003 I rediscovered the genre by listening to an audiobook of Killjoy by Julie Garwood. From there I picked up her historicals and glommed everything I could find by her. Then Judith McNaugh, Hannah Howell and THEN I was introduced to Sherrilyn Kenyon. From there it was Rachel Gibson (See Jane Score..ZOMG! I SOOO want(ed) to lick Luc's tattoo), then JRWard, then...the list goes on and on. Basically, my subgenre path would go something like this:

Contemporary -> Historical -> Paranormal -> Contemporary -> Erotica -> Urban Fantasy

and then I just cycled around from there. ;) Now I read a good mix of all subgenres, but primarily erotica and contemps right now.

Carolyn Jean said...

Nicola: Okay, you're looking at Nancy Drew as romance? Oh, how I pined for her and Ned to get together in some significant way. You really have a rich background. I'm sort of jealous of all you girls who discovered romance early. It would have improved my high school life immensely, I think.

Holly, I didn't know you were reading erotica right now. Is erotica coming of age? I wonder. Amazing how black daggar is so central for so many.

Renee said...

Wow. Great topic!
My first romance was Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt. My parents had collection of Reader's Digest Condensed books in our rumpus room (have I just dated myself?)

So I guess my path would be something like:

romantic suspense-historical-mystery-
big break for a few years then
urban fantasy-mystery-paranormal-historical

I guess I've sort of come full circle! ;-)

Sarah said...

I am such a book geek. I remember reading These Golden Pleasures by Valerie Sherwood. I pinched it off my mum's shelf and sneaked it into my room to read as a teen. Sex ed 101. Lol! Then grabbed Kathleen Woodiwiss. (sp?)

I think the m/m stuff I read is a part of the romance genre. Because it is about 2 people falling in love and having a romance. My sub genre path? Goodness only knows!

Carolyn Jean said...

Renee: Wow, it really in interesting how many early romance readers came back on paranormals!

Sarah: Funny. I would've given anything to have books like that around! I agree about M/M.

RfP said...

Early on, I followed the library's paperback racks:

Rack by the window
• Fantasy
• Harlequin/Silhouette/Loveswept category
• Traditional Regency, Harlequin Historical, Western romances
• "Women's interest" (Danielle Steel, Clan of the Cave Bear)--bleh.
Rack by the wall
• Thriller
• Mystery
• Noir
• Sci fi fantasy romance
Rack by the window

These days I'm all over the place.

Lisabea, you have horse-shifter fantasies? Um, *I will not comment*I will not comment* have you read Keri Arthur? Aussie werewolf kick-ass heroine mates with everything in sight, including King "Giant Weenie" Horse-Shifter.

Jessica: "I wonder why a regency m/m and a contemp m/m are considered the same subgenre."

All these labels are entirely for shoppers' convenience. As we've seen with AA romance, that can create a de facto ghetto, but the argument over whether it helps/hurts sales can go either way.

Anonymous said...

I was always drawn to books with romantic elements, but what started my reading of romance novels was Outlander (not sure if I should count that) and I then looked for similar novels.

The first romance novel (written in English) I read was Garwood's The Bride in September 2000 (only know this because I wrote about "my path" some time ago). So: historicals/medievals - contemporaries - paranormal/fantasy/sci fi romance. And one year ago, I started reading categories.

I don't have a preference for a subgenre, it's more like short periods of time where I read more in one subgenre than in another.

Carolyn Jean said...

Oh, RFP, what a readerly young person you must have been to read full racks. And how right you are on CLAN. UH. I love how full your reading history is. And thanks for the AA comparison. That's very interesting. And what to do when talking about M/M. Like, in my post, I wanted to say I read it, but not ghettoize it.

What's interesting is that AA tends to be written for an AA audience, whereas M/M is written mostly for a F audience. I wonder how that will play into its categorization long term.

Taja: I think Outlander totally counts as romance of some sort. And now you're in categories! I haven't tried those yet.

Tumperkin said...

Late 70s /early 80s Mills and Boons from my mum's bookcase;

then Sagas - also from mum's bookcase. I've always hated them since;

those awful American teen romances (WHAT were they CALLED?);

Georgette Heyer;

Which led me onto the million and one wannabe Regency writers. Marion Chesney et al;


One Mills and Boon at a cottage in the Lake District....... And I'm off again: Mills and Boon, Georgette Heyer, Erotica, etc. etc.

Sarai said...

I came in with Christina Dodd's historical romance then Christine Feehan's paranormal... So I would be

historical romance - paranormal romance - urban fantasy - M/M

RfP said...

Oh, not *whole* racks. I whipped through Westerns and Women's Interest PDQ. They're easy to decode:

Dialogue like Zane Grey? NO.
Give me nightmares like Cave Bear? NO.
Three-generation saga of lust and greed in the boardroom? NO... er, except a peek at the dirty bits.

"I wanted to say I read it, but not ghettoize it."

It's funny--in a way I hate to even label my reviews. It's a romance; who cares whether it's a/a, m/m, m/f, or f/appliance? And I'm not keen on "warning" people about content. OTOH there are people actively looking *for* more diverse reads, so labeling is good, right? So confusing.

Christine said...

I know this convo is so two weeks ago, but I enjoyed reading everyone's subgenre paths and reflecting on my own, so I'll add mine.

Young Adult Fantasy -> Young Adult Paranormal Romance (Twilight & New Moon in 2006) -> Paranormal Romance (Dark Lover in 2006) ->Urban Fantasy -> Contemporary Romance -> Sci Fi Romance -> Historical Romance.

Now I read across all Romance subgenres. Of course. ;)