A reader’s perspective on trying a new sub-genre.
Last Saturday, Ann’s Reader’s Perspective brought up an interesting idea of breaking out of the usual (check it out here). It made me think of Alma Rose by Edith Forbes where the main character, Pat Lloyd, talks about the books that she orders. In her orders she makes sure to include topics outside of her usual so that she continues to learn and grow as a person. It was a catchy thought and for awhile I thought I should do the same. Strangely though, I really struggle with books outside of the genre I love and adore- LesFic. For instance, I returned to school to pursue a more marketable profession. It was a two year program and throughout the four semesters, there were approximately 10-15 text books to assist us in our studies and were actually “required reading.” Of course I bought them all and dutifully toted them to class and occasionally cracked them open during the lectures to look at the pictures being referenced. But I never read them. As in there are no highlights, the spines are barely cracked, the new book smell is still present, and if held up in comparison to a new book there would be no difference. I just couldn’t learn that way. I couldn’t focus long enough to read the material nor did I have any true desire to sit down and read the material. Whenever I tried I would find myself reading the same paragraph over and over again and woefully not comprehending much of anything on the page.
Give me a lesfic book, and I have to set limits on how long I can read so that I can make sure I go to sleep, go to work, and eat a meal- otherwise I would read all day and night. I can tell you all about the lesfic books I’ve read and would LOVE to have a discussion about the story, the characters, the setting, the writing style, or whatever else you want to talk about! (I’m really serious about this! Please talk lesfic to me!!) Especially in the early days of lesfic when most all the stories seemed to be fanfic of some sort, I devoured any genre as long as it had lesbian stories in the pages. Today that is a much harder challenge as there are more publishing companies, more self-published authors and a zillion titles to choose from. As Ann mentioned in her blog, there are even new genres! It’s awesome but also incredibly intimidating.
I’ve found that there are certain authors I lean toward and when the price of a book (yes a book and not an e-book) makes it a thought out decision on which one to buy I want what I want and know I will enjoy. So reading outside of a preferred genre depends on the author and what genre she writes in. As long as there is a lesbian story within the pages that book is fair game! I mean check out Jae, who is hands down one of my favorite authors. I think she has written in pretty much every subgenre ranging from the amazing historical story of Luke and Nora in Backwards to Oregon to shapeshifters in Second Nature. That is a pretty diverse range of genres and add in that she has classical romances, medical dramas, police procedurals and a whole series based in Hollywood what more could you look for? And if I had to rate sub-genres, historical would be lower on that list but then check out Shaken to the Core. I always balk a little when it comes to picking up a historical story having really sucked at history in school. But when it is written with such connectable characters, incredible attention to the details of the time, as well as having a story that captures the reader’s attention like Jae does with this story, then I’m again reminded that history can be fun and interesting to read!
Many readers where introduced to Lesfic with Katherine V. Forrest’s A Curious Wine but I’ve enjoyed how diversified Katherine’s collection of stories have been in regards to the genres they have explored. My favorite story overall was Daughters of a Coral Dawn and I was so excited when that was followed up with two more following Megan and her sisters. I mean seriously these women are bad ass AND they colonize a whole new planet! And I would have to admit that it was through Katherine V. Forester’s work that I broke into mysteries starting with Amateur City featuring Kate Delafield. Yes! That Kate Delafield! And mysteries would also be lower on my list of rating sub-genres but I am hooked on Kate! The only problem I found is that it is SUPER hard to pick up just one mystery. It’s like an addiction where you read one story about Kate Delafield and suddenly you must have ALL the stories with Kate Delafield! Is that just me or is that what other mystery readers experience?
Another author who has sent me in all directions in regards to sub-genres is Karin Kallmaker. I don’t think it would even be possible to choose a favorite among her romances but she has done wonders for creating a diverse collections of characters, stories and even sub-genres. If you haven’t read any of her works as Laura Adams they are just as awesome, well written and captivating as her romances with great twist. And if you haven’t explored erotica yet, I believe that Karin Kallmaker is a wonderful author for that introduction! Especially with Halloween approaching, check out 18th and Castro and discover another fun and entertaining sub-genre of LesFic. And seriously, with Karin Kallmaker you know there is going to be some excellent characters and an engaging story that is well written.
These are some of my favorite authors, but the list continues. I think it is so wonderful that our LesFic genre has diversified even further to allow for sub-genres. Take a risk the same way some of these authors are and read something different. OR, if you want more recommendations or a way to connect to the story let me know as I would love to help! (That whole talk LesFic to me!) In the meantime, what is a LesFic story that changed your impression and opened you up to different sub-genres? I would love to keep my wish list going!!