Reading update: non-genre/non-fiction edition

I don’t read just genre. I suspect a lot of genre readers are the same (though I’m curious about reading habits, so comment away). I also work in a book store where the customer base is mostly the new general fiction/non-fiction crowd. This means I kinda need to know what I’m selling. I read the NYT Book Review and occasional frontlist* titles for this reason (well, aside from the fact that there is some good stuff in the mainstream too).

In any case, even my ‘new and popular’ reading is skewed. My latest new find was Strange Bodies, and let’s be honest, it’s genre.  That aside, here’s some stuff I’ve been reading that is either non-fiction or non-genre.

0315141051This books is heartbreaking and amazing. It examines the early years of the AIDS epidemic through the lives of two gay men. From the introduction: ‘The experience of the AIDS epidemic was in critical ways dissimilar for the white gay community and the black gay one, and that distinction is one of the major themes of this book.’ Hold Tight Gently, through its historical look at the epidemic, also aims to show why AIDS and AIDS activism should remain top priorities for the gay community.


Ah, The Luminaries. Will I ever get through it? Stay tuned, we’ll find out.

Siege 13 is an interesting short story collection by a Hungarian writer Tamas Dobozy. Budapest at the end of WWII.


I’m reading this book with a specific question in mind, the question being ‘should I send this to my mother?’


Science! Brain! Psychopaths!

Other random things I’ve adopted over the past few days:


Geoff Dyer is published in the neat ‘two-sided’ format. Mental Biology is once again about brain (there is a method to my reading madness), and The Word Exchange is, oddly enough, a novel about memes (read: probably genre).

On the more familiar genre front, I am making my speedy way through Kameron Hurley’s God’s War (so far so awesome) and eyeing a re-read of Sanderson’s Way of Kings, followed by Words of Radiance.

* from the freedictionary, Frontlist: a publisher’s sales list of newly or recently published books, esp. those of popular appeal.


  1. It’s a mix for me but as I’ve got older I read more and more for pleasure and fewer of the books I pick up are ones I think I “should” read, all of which means more genre stuff. I haven’t started The Luminaries yet, can’t quite find the energy!

    1. It’s intimidating, isn’t it? And I normally like thick books.

      Sometimes I catch myself thinking ‘oh, I’m reading this for work’, but even my ‘work’ reading is often quite enjoyable.

  2. I’ve concentrated on genre lit for about two years now. The only two non-genre I’ve read in this period are Allison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother, and Alison Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half. I have Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller and George Carlin’s last book waiting for me. Before I immersed myself in genre lit, I read a mix of Polish history, Celtic history, Carl Sagan’s non-fiction, Bechdel’s Fun Home, Donoghue’s Room, Elaine Paigle’s Gospel of Judas, and a mix of other fiction, usually books my partner had read and passed to me. Right now, I’m reading Delaney’s Dhalgren which so far after 130 pages, seems like classic modern American lit from the 70’s thinly veiled in SF.

    1. Oh yeah, and I just picked up Helen Oyeyemi’s two most recent after seeing her at Powell’s last Thursday, Boy, Snow, Bird, and Mr Fox . I asked her if she considered herself genre, and she said she doesn’t really, because she feels her work doesn’t satisfy the the intense genre fan base, but she doesn’t mind the label. She just doesn’t like the label magical realism because she believes only Marquez can really write M.R.

  3. I am reading the new Oyeyemi right now! I don’t know if I agree with her about only Marquez being able to write MR :)) She is really good.

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