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Old 05-08-2019, 03:39 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Dazrin View Post
If you are going to have such a broad group as "science fiction and fantasy" then yes, I would lump all those together. That doesn't mean they don't fit other groups though or that I wouldn't classify them as something else first.

I think the sub-genres are more interesting and relevant. SFF is just a catch-all for anything that has magic or advanced technology or otherworldliness. It's a very broad but shallow description. (Covers a lot of things but doesn't have much meaning.) It's the sub-genres in SFF or the other genres that could cover the book that begin to have depth/meaning.
Yes, this is my point! I donít see categorizing books as being exclusive and without shades of gray. Books like The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Dracula are clearly recognized classics. I would look for them in a bookstore or library under classics. That doesnít mean they arenít mysteries or fantasies too.

All Iím saying is we read a lot of books that are either mysteries or otherworldly in some SF/fantasy way. It doesnít matter whether you think those terms are the main genre or the subgenre.

Many people out there like me mostly want to read books about humans on Earth without these other elements. Not that I donít read books in science fiction or fantasy. They are just a smaller subset of my total reading and so I can group them broadly like that. By the same token, many people only want to read science fiction or fantasies and might just group the rest of stuff as general fiction whereas I break out many detailed categories.
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:26 PM   #92
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Yes, this is my point! I donít see categorizing books as being exclusive and without shades of gray. Books like The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Dracula are clearly recognized classics. I would look for them in a bookstore or library under classics. That doesnít mean they arenít mysteries or fantasies too.

All Iím saying is we read a lot of books that are either mysteries or otherworldly in some SF/fantasy way. It doesnít matter whether you think those terms are the main genre or the subgenre.

Many people out there like me mostly want to read books about humans on Earth without these other elements. Not that I donít read books in science fiction or fantasy. They are just a smaller subset of my total reading and so I can group them broadly like that. By the same token, many people only want to read science fiction or fantasies and might just group the rest of stuff as general fiction whereas I break out many detailed categories.
OK, color me confused. Your initial post on the subject seemed to bemoan the lack of variety in the choices--they were all SF/F or mysteries, you said. Now you are saying "I donít see categorizing books as being exclusive and without shades of gray"--but you're the one who DID categorize the selections without those very shades of gray.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:58 PM   #93
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My definition of a genre mystery is a story in which a protagonist solves a dilemma, usually a crime of some sort, and reestablishes the social order. That doesn't happen in Drood. It doesn't happen in Daughter of Time, either, but it's closer. Sure, you can broaden the definition of mystery, but in a sense every story is a mystery--just as every story is a fantasy.
.
Yes, I very much agree with this.

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Originally Posted by Dazrin View Post
.It's the sub-genres in SFF or the other genres that could cover the book that begin to have depth/meaning.
Yes. Specific categories can ensure that everyoneís preferred genre is guaranteed to have a turn. But you'd need prior agreement on well defined categories to avoid disappointments.

For example, I find Amazonís ďMystery/Thriller/SuspenseĒ category far too broad to be useful. Usually a mystery is about solving a puzzle, and as Catlady said, restoring social order.

Suspense is an entirely different reading experience. And though I really enjoy mysteries, I donít like the feeling of suspense, and avoid reading books that make me keep looking over my shoulder.

Iíve only participated a short while, but my guess is that there must be fewer disappointments with a themed approach, if only because itís harder to have expectations about what the next month will bring.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:57 PM   #94
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. Many people out there like me mostly want to read books about humans on Earth without these other elements. Not that I don’t read books in science fiction or fantasy. They are just a smaller subset of my total reading and so I can group them broadly like that. By the same token, many people only want to read science fiction or fantasies and might just group the rest of stuff as general fiction whereas I break out many detailed categories.
It’s interesting that you say that, because I’ve wondered if people do fall in those natural groupings. In discussions with friends and family, the reading preferences of most do lean towards ‘general fiction’. Maybe the exception would be mysteries, which seem to have fairly broad appeal.

At one time, most people wouldn’t be familiar with F/SF, but it’s become semi-mainstream on tv & in movies. I wonder if shows like ‘Game of Thrones’ generate more interest in reading F/SF books. Or any reading at all.

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Old 05-08-2019, 07:58 PM   #95
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Iíve only participated a short while, but my guess is that there must be fewer disappointments with a themed approach, if only because itís harder to have expectations about what the next month will bring.
Good point Victoria. Each theme can be interpreted so widely that the range of books from which to choose is equally wide. Then it's just a case of whatever takes the fancy of the majority of the members.

Sometimes we have disappointments of course, when a book's topic sounds more interesting than the book itself turns out to be, but even where people don't enjoy a book, we can have quite a lively discussion, as you have already experienced!
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:06 PM   #96
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Good point Victoria. Each theme can be interpreted so widely that the range of books from which to choose is equally wide. Then it's just a case of whatever takes the fancy of the majority of the members.

Sometimes we have disappointments of course, when a book's topic sounds more interesting than the book itself turns out to be, but even where people don't enjoy a book, we can have quite a lively discussion, as you have already experienced!
Thatís so true . In fact, everyone seems to enjoy discussing the books they didnít like every bit as much as the ones they loved!
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:31 PM   #97
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Many people out there like me mostly want to read books about humans on Earth without these other elements. Not that I donít read books in science fiction or fantasy. They are just a smaller subset of my total reading and so I can group them broadly like that. By the same token, many people only want to read science fiction or fantasies and might just group the rest of stuff as general fiction whereas I break out many detailed categories.
My "genre" list is very much this way. I try to have some non-SF/F groups beyond just "general" but it is very much skewed towards SFF. I have setup my tracking sheet so that I can have as many as I want for any particular book. If I had to choose only one it would be awful!

Spoiler:

I choose from 54 different "genres" and have 166 different combinations of those genres across ~800 books. And almost 500 of those books are from various series, and I expect anything from the same series to be essentially the same combined genre. Rarely do series change genres after the first one. Hmmm. I should look at that.

Adventure
Classic
Comedy
Contemporary
Fan Fiction
Graphic Novel
Historical
Illustrated
Inspirational
Literary
Military
Noir
Pulp
Romance
Western
Fantasy
Epic Fant
Horror
Paranormal
Urban Fant
Science Fiction
Alt History
Apocalyptic
Cyberpunk
Dystopian
Hard SciFi
Space Opera
Steampunk
Time Travel
Mystery
Suspense
Puzzle
Thriller
Crime/Police
Legal
Medical
Political
Technological
N-F/Other
N-F/Biography
N-F/Essay
N-F/History
N-F/Humor
N-F/Philosophy
N-F/Poetry
N-F/Politics
N-F/Reference
N-F/Religion
N-F/Science
N-F/Self-Help
N-F/True Crime
Childrens
Middle Grade
Young Adult
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:34 PM   #98
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My "genre" list is very much this way. I try to have some non-SF/F groups beyond just "general" but it is very much skewed towards SFF. I have setup my tracking sheet so that I can have as many as I want for any particular book. If I had to choose only one it would be awful! [...]
Yes, exactly. We each skew our genre categories according to our own interests (like Eskimo words for snow). It is exactly this phenomena that makes using genre potentially difficult in a book club situation, because everyone has different expectations of the same category. Themes come with no expectations ... or if they do, the club soon knocks them out.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:18 PM   #99
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Yes, exactly. We each skew our genre categories according to our own interests (like Eskimo words for snow). It is exactly this phenomena that makes using genre potentially difficult in a book club situation, because everyone has different expectations of the same category. Themes come with no expectations ... or if they do, the club soon knocks them out.
That is so funny--I was also thinking about the plethora of Inuit words for snow, from a semantics class I took in grad school.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:54 AM   #100
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My "genre" list is very much this way. I try to have some non-SF/F groups beyond just "general" but it is very much skewed towards SFF. I have setup my tracking sheet so that I can have as many as I want for any particular book. If I had to choose only one it would be awful!
I get you. I really do! (Only I wish I didn't!) You set a new bar to achieve for!

I don't understand my friends who limit their Goodreads shelves to just one hand. I had to work hard to limit mine to 30-ish. But, I have several items grouped together with combined names that have a dash and when they grow larger I'll break them out separately. My calibre tags are horrendous.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:10 AM   #101
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OK, color me confused. Your initial post on the subject seemed to bemoan the lack of variety in the choices--they were all SF/F or mysteries, you said. Now you are saying "I donít see categorizing books as being exclusive and without shades of gray"--but you're the one who DID categorize the selections without those very shades of gray.
Not at all. I said I like themes because they encourage creativity and a variety of nominations. What I said was that we seem to "vote" as the "winner" the same type of books and I wish that the "winners" had the same sort of variety as the "nominations". I didn't say the way I categorize books are absolute and correct. I said it was my opinion and there were many ways "to parse the data," and I just provided my reasoning on how I see it so people can understand my reasoning behind my opinion.

However, I can't control how people vote. And it doesn't mean that I don't like what wins. I simply just don't think we have the same variety in the winners as the nominations. That's all.

I hope I've encouraged people to see things from a different perspective because this conversation has been very enlightening to me about how other people think too. I like that we're diverse, but I also want us to understand each other in our diversity. And, I want people to feel comfortable in voicing that diversity. My main purpose in joining the book club is to expose myself to new books and ideas that I wouldn't have if I read alone.

I'm happy we are probably going to have a non-fiction winner this month. Over 9 months has been too long in my opinion. I wish that we had a better split between fiction/non-fiction - like maybe 1/4 rather than 1/10. Just like I'd rather have something closer to 1/2 for contemporary (like post-1970) versus older.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:11 AM   #102
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Thatís so true . In fact, everyone seems to enjoy discussing the books they didnít like every bit as much as the ones they loved!
I often have the most fun doing a review on Goodreads of a book that I thought was really awful. I did one some years ago for which I still get a "Like" every week or two, so a number of other people must have loathed it as much as I did.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:46 AM   #103
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I often have the most fun doing a review on Goodreads of a book that I thought was really awful. I did one some years ago for which I still get a "Like" every week or two, so a number of other people must have loathed it as much as I did.
I abandoned a book recently and the "likes" for my one-star review keep ratcheting up, also, even though the overall rating for the book is over four stars.

(It's always a relief to see that others get why a book is bad, even in the face of nearly universal acclaim! )
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:47 AM   #104
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I've been reading this discussion with bemusement; I think for two reasons.

The first is that I don't think we've got enough data. Overall, I think randomness is still driving the selections. But I realize that's not a fair take on the situation and that there's no reason trends can't be discerned, even if it doesn't rise to the level of proof. The selections might well reflect a coalescing around certain themes or genres; the intersection on the Venn diagram of communal preferences!

But deeper than that, I look at my own preferences. I read a lot of nonfiction and I'd say that I don't like either mysteries or fantasy especially. But while nonfiction's been mostly a nonstarter, I've not felt that we've been heavily weighted toward either mystery or fantasy, much less both. Early on in this discussion I said that I'd characterize our choices as mainstream, and I still think that. (That also applies to our two nonfiction choices thus far.)

The labels don't matter, although our individual perceptions do. I know for me, I don't feel as if we need more variety in genre, as my own sense of being overall mainstream is where I think we naturally fall, but I wish we could get more outside the Anglo-American bias in terms of authors and settings that I think we've shown. But at this point, I'm willing to say that also reflects randomness.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:43 AM   #105
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D'Oh! Nevermind.

Maybe I will have time to pick up June's read (crosses fingers and ignores pile of cases on corner of desk)

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