Genre Discrimination

“What’s your favourite book?”

Does anyone else get asked that on a regular basis? It is a bit like asking a mother to choose her favourite child, but I guess the question is reasonable. I’m a literature student, so I can understand that ‘books’ is the obvious direction for people to take the conversation, and trust me – I’m not complaining.

What gets me is the part when I answer “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and they respond with: “Oh, so you read fantasy then. I didn’t have you pegged as that kind of reader.”

Excuse me? Firstly, I have actually read very little fantasy. And secondly – what’s wrong with fantasy?

Don’t tell me it’s too trashy or too crazy or too long, because I have read some of your contemporaries and romances and historical novels and I can tell you that those traits are not limited to fantasy. There’s good and bad in every genre, so if we could keep the discriminatory comments to the minimum, that would be great. Just because I read J.R.R. Tolkein doesn’t mean I parade around town dressed as an elf, shooting arrows into the horizon and swinging from lampposts (although if you do that’s ok. You do you, just don’t hurt yourself.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t put me in a box. Don’t put books in boxes – they belong in straight-edged, open-sided quadrilateral…



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