The Book Genres I Don’t Like

At the risk of coming across as one with that title, I am not exactly a literature snob. I don’t care what it is, who wrote it, whether it came out as a mainstream title, indie, or had to be etched on a tome of warlock flesh. I do not care as long as it’s decently written and has visible effort put into it, even if marginal amounts. Transgressive or clean, unorthodox or classic, I like certain things about most types of books.

That being said, there are genres I won’t read and don’t like. There are a handful of exceptions in these genres that I’ve picked up, and I don’t think that they are “worthless” genres. Somebody loves them, or they wouldn’t be written and continuing to sell copies. I just have not acquired the taste for them. There are my opinions, I don’t fault anyone for finding something they love in these genres that I don’t see in them. To each his own.

Splatterpunk
This one pains me on a heartstring level. I adore horror. All of its subgenres, too… except splatterpunk. Splatterpunk is the black sheep (or bloodstained sheep?) of horror to me, I cannot force myself to like it no matter what. If anyone can point me to a quality splatterpunk book, please do! I want to like this subgenre so badly.

I’ve concluded that what I don’t enjoy about it is not the relentless violence, although that is admittedly pretty boring after so much exposure, but the ones I’ve stumbled upon have not been well-written. They read like edgy high-school essays sprinkled copiously with the thesaurus choices for “viscera” and “blood”. One exception is Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, which are decidedly more dark fantasy but have a distinct splatterpunk element and are a good read. In fact, Barker is cited as one of the fathers of the splatterpunk movement, but I suspect this is more for his Hellraiser works. (I liked the first movie, never read the novels.) I think splatterpunk can work when moderated with something else. Like, just describing gore is not going to evoke fear automatically, even in the very sensitive.

Body horror I find unsettling because it creates an “uncanny” effect – it seems human or animal, but it’s neither and your eyes and mind register that. Gore on the other hand is not fundamentally scary, not even in real life. In real life, it’s only scary because you want to get the person whose guts are hanging out to a freaking hospital. What could make that situation horror is if the hospital was an American one and turned them away, intestines in hand, because they didn’t bring their wallet.

Contemporary Romance and Harlequins
I know, I know. True lit snobs always bear an avid hatred for the romance genre. I don’t dislike romance, though. As is the case with splatterpunk, I feel like diluting the genre with some other genre or factor makes it better. As a pure chemical, it ain’t digestible. Like sodium and chloride. Individually, they are dangerous, together they are delicious table salt.

Contemporary romance is a genre I don’t dislike, I just don’t actively seek it out, either. It’s not the first thing I will go to for a book fix. Some I’ve had the pleasure of reading are amazingly fleshed-out, true literary novels. Others, like anything else, are garbage. Harlequins, on the other hand… I don’t understand the “ironic” fixation on Harlequins, nor the unironic fixation. Other books actually published by Harlequin, I’ve enjoyed. Did you know they publish fantasy and young adult books?

The romance novellas that made Harlequin their name, though. Oh Lord. I can’t stomach them. Especially the ones not actually from Harlequin themselves, which seem to suffer a steep drop in quality. There are some sub-types of romance prevalent in these types of books that are incredibly offensive for a number of different reasons. I don’t even know where to begin with that, so you’re free to research it on your own. It won’t take long to stumble on one.

Westerns
Westerns have just never appealed to me. They’re more of a niche, true, but I can see why people enjoy westerns easier than I can the genres above. The sparse handful of western books I’ve read have been eloquent and engaging, though not something that’s caught my eye enough to frequent.

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