Flights booked, sun cream bought and swimsuits on next-day-delivery order — it’s time to focus on the most important decision before heading to the airport: What books are you going to read on holiday this summer?
Whether it’s a flirty romance or the latest James Patterson installment, our holiday go-to books tend to be more of the same every year. Traditional book genres such as fantasy or crime can still leave you indecisive with too many books to choose from.
Looking for a change? We have you covered! At Novellic our readers create and join book clubs to read books from a wide range of fiction micro-genres which cater more specifically to readers’ tastes. We’ve picked nine of our favourites (plus a fun bonus) to introduce you to for your summer reading pleasure:
1- Family Sagas
Often set against the backdrop of significant historical periods, family sagas tell the tales of multiple generations of the same family across a period of time. Readers of the likes of Elizabeth Jane Howard and Susan Howatch will enjoy these books:
Born into an aristocratic family, beautiful Amy Lovell leads a whirlwind life of extravagant parties and debutante balls.
But Amy, curious about the world beyond the narrow confines of her class, is ill-suited to a life of indulgence. Eagerly embracing a nursing career, she is drawn into the radical politics of the day.
As the spectre of war looms, Amy’s bittersweet love for the proud miner Nick Penry — a love which defies the differences between them — leads them to the conflict in Spain, where love and pain become inseparable agonies.
This genre is a close cousin of Hollywood’s Film Noir and typically involves a crime or a murder set within a corrupt system of law enforcement, told from the perspective of the fabulously flawed characters:
Ree Dolly’s father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn’t show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.
3- Dark Humour
Tackling heavy subjects through comedy, the books in this genre will have you in stitches one minute and contemplating the point of life the next. There are many classics in this category including cult hits Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Catch-22 and American Psycho:
At 61, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels and listening to a bit of light jazz. Then his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting re-married, to the deeply inappropriate Ray. Her family is not pleased — as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has “strangler’s hands.” Katie can’t decide if she loves Ray, or loves the wonderful way he has with her son Jacob, and her mother Jean is a bit put out by all the planning and arguing the wedding has occasioned, which get in the way of her quite fulfilling late-life affair with one of her husband’s ex-colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials.
Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.
The way these damaged people fall apart — and come together — as a family is the true subject of Haddon’s disturbing yet amusing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.
4- Young Adult
Do not be fooled by the title of this genre — breakout hit titles including The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars and even The Perks of Being a Wallflower have raised the profile of YA books over the last decade or so and adults now account for almost 80% of this genre’s readers:
Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:
To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.
Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide — and someone’s heart is about to be broken.
5- Cosy Mystery
Everyday sleuths and mystery-solvers; where nosy neighbours and mysterious newcomers all play their parts in amateur investigations set in suburban settings. Often humorous and slapstick, these novels offer a more laid back take on the crime genre:
Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side-and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora “Roe” Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It’s a harmless pastime — until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal “copycat” killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims.
6- Post Apocalyptic
War, famine, or a zombie apocalypse, this genre has been giving us a taste of what the world would look like and function when civilisation as we know it ceases to exist in stories of survival and the resilience of the human spirit:
Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko…
Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.
What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism’s genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution?
7- Magical Realism
Made famous by classic novelists such as Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Magical Realism comprises of stories which are set in our mundane worlds but where there is an element of the absurd or magical which is taken for normal:
Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings — cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.
Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of — and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.
Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.
8- Urban Fantasy
Set in modern urban cities, this fantasy genre typically involves a lot of monstrous baddies (think fae, ghouls, vampires and werewolves), kick-ass sassy heroines and a not-too-overbearing sprinkle of romance. A supernatural world superimposed on our mundane existence:
From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate — and the fae — close in.
Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem — Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.
9- Political Thriller
If this summer’s political intrigue leaves you wanting more, this genre is for you. Power struggles, conspiracies, backstabbing politicians and a quest to uncover the truth, political thrillers are packed with intrigue and action and will keep you guessing till the last page:
It’s September 2017, and the United Kingdom is on the verge of a crucial referendum that will determine, once and for all, if the country remains a member of the European Union or goes its own way. But, unsuspected by the electorate, and unknown to all but a handful of members of the Prime Minister’s innermost circle, there is a shocking secret at the very heart of government that could change everything in an instant. A group of ruthlessly determined individuals will stop at nothing — including murder — to prevent that from happening.
Andrew Marr’s first novel is a darkly comic tale of deception and skullduggery at Downing Street and Whitehall. Making full use of his unrivalled inside knowledge of the British political scene, Marr has created a sparkling entertainment, a wholly original depiction of Westminster and its denizens, and a fascinating, irreverent glimpse behind the parliamentary curtain.
Bonus Genre: Mashups
Every once in a while a book will refuse to sit squarely in a genre box and will spill over into what would initially appear to be a random collection of genres. We call these books mashups and, while not to everyone’s taste, the results are often surprisingly delightful:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton — and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers — and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.
First published on The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/candide-kirk/9-fiction-microgenres-to-_b_11144068.html