My Genre Kryptonite

Can we talk about how great Rachel Kozlowski's art is on these West Elm plates?
Can we talk about how great Rachel Kozlowski’s art is on these West Elm plates?


Have you seen Book Riot’s Genre Kryptonite series? It’s one of my favorites they have, and it got me thinking about my own genre kryptonite — what’s guaranteed to make me pick up a book and either take it to the cash register or put it on my to-be-read list.


Here are a few of the things that will pretty much guarantee that I’ll buy your book:


1. Talking animals (bonus points if they’re wearing sweaters): I’ve always loved stories with talking animals — from The Wind in the Willows to The Chronicles of Narnia to the Redwall series. And even though I wasn’t impressed by The Golden Compass, I loved Iorek Byrnison, the armor-wearing polar bear. Because how awesome is a polar bear wearing armor?! I’m totally with Hannah Oliver Depp on thinking that we need more stories with animals for adults.


2. Rival queens: This probably stems from The Royal Diaries series I read in middle school. There always seemed to be an older female courtier/ noble undermining the princess, causing all sorts of drama. I ate it up when I was 12, and honestly, I still do. I’m not into books about girls being catty just for the sake of being catty (I saw plenty of that in high school, thankyouverymuch) but when they’re competing for political power? Yes, please! The Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone and Hissing Cousins by Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer are both on my TBR list.


3. Unlikely detectives: I grew up reading every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on, and I still love the mystery genre. I tend to skip the really gritty, gory mysteries in favor of the stories with unlikely detectives. I love the Flavia de Luce series by Arthur Bradley — who wouldn’t love a mystery with an 11-year-old detective with a flair for chemistry and a vengeful streak? I also love M.L. Longworth’s Verlaque and Bonnet series, about a magistrate and law professor from Aix. In both these series, the relationships are as important as the mysteries, and I really like that. I’m excited to pick up The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling Robert Galbraith.


4. Secret identities: Who doesn’t love a good secret identity? Superheroes? Awesome. A dashing British gentleman outwitting the nasty Chauvelin in The Scarlet Pimpernel? Yes please. A teenage thief in Venice from The Thief Lord? Sign me up. Any book that promises a secret identity is most likely going straight to my reading list.


What are your go-to genres? Do you have any that make you pull out your wallet after reading the blurbs on the back cover? After coming up with this list I’m definitely craving a trip to the bookstore!

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