‘What is your favourite book genre?’. Here is a question I haven’t got an answer for. Lately, I have been mainly reading books that can be categorised as literary fiction, a term I use despite having various reservations about it (an interesting topic for discussion which I’m not focusing on today). However, I also really like fantasy, dystopian novels and horror, for example. My reading taste is fairly varied in this regard.
When it comes to some genres, I clearly remember which book made me want to read more of the same sort. The books mentioned below are my first loves from a specific genre, although some of them denote influences from various other ones. They may not be my favourite books from that genre anymore, but I liked them enough when I first read them to continue picking up books with some of the same characteristics.
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
To have the third book of the Harry Potter series as my first love in the fantasy category may seem a bit strange. But this was the first book that I read in the series. I was around 13 years old, and it was recommended and lent to me by a friend, who apparently didn’t consider necessary to start the series from the beginning. And to be honest I don’t remember struggling to understand the plot at all. After falling in love with the characters and the world portrayed, I then bought Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and from there read all the others books in order.
Amor de Perdição (Love of Perdition) by Camilo Castelo Branco
Amor de Perdição is a Portuguese classic that I studied at secondary school on Year 11. It was the first classic that I truly got immersed in, although it’s not currently amongst my favourites. It focuses on the forbidden love between Simão Botelho and Teresa Albuquerque, and it’s sometimes referred to as a Portuguese ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
City of The Beasts by Isabel Allende
City of the Beasts was the first Young Adult book written by Isabel Allende. But I remember it as one of the first books I read comprising magical realism elements. It follows Alex as he goes on an expedition to the Amazon rainforest with his eccentric grandmother. I still enjoy novels featuring magical realism elements, chiefly when they are not domineering, but I don’t tend to read Young Adult books anymore. Also, not long ago, I realised that my favourite short stories tend to be in the realm of magical realism.
1984 by George Orwell
If I remember correctly, 1984 was the first dystopian novel I’ve ever read, and it still is amongst my favourites. It takes place during a time of perpetual war, government surveillance and public manipulation. Power is in the hands of a single party, which is personified by the Big Brother. The protagonist is Winston Smith, a rewriter of historical events, who has an affair with Julia.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer combines various book genres, and horror is definitely one of them. It tells the story of the immoral Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an orphan with a superior sense of smell. His desire to make a perfume with the scent of a young girl leads him through a dark path.
I really can’t remember which books got me into historical and literary fiction, but I particularly appreciate novels that combine elements from both genres. Oher books that I also tend to read and enjoy take place during the Second World War, as you may know if you have been following my blog for a while. The book that got me into this topic was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
Which are your first loves from the various book genres being published? Tell me in the comments!