I got into a war of words with one of my friends recently.

We know my stance on how too many liberties are taken when people write historical fiction. They take facts and twist them to fit their narrative. Or, they populate their novels with 21st century characters with 21st century ideals while they set their novels in other time periods…

My friend J disagrees. J argues that fiction is fiction and an author of fiction is entitled to write anything that they want because it is…fiction…

J argues that instead of complaining about the things listed as historical fiction, just stop using the term historical fiction…

And J has a point…

When we label things, we go in with a set notion as to how something is, or is going to be…

Now this makes sense when you want to labels bins for storage, or label your guest towels like Monica…

But when it comes to other things, should we be so quick to define something, to put it in it’s little box and say this is what it is…?

Or…

Should we let some things just be?

I just googled “Categories of Fiction books”. Do you know how many subcategories came up?

22

  1. fantasy
  2. science fiction
  3. romance
  4. mystery
  5. historical
  6. horror
  7. fiction (why bother with this one- I mean- what’s left?)
  8. thriller
  9. western
  10. science fantasy
  11. literary
  12. adventure
  13. magical realism
  14. fairy tale
  15. children’s
  16. crime
  17. paranormal romance
  18. fable
  19. speculative
  20. superhero
  21. psychological
  22. gothic

I’m sure if I tried something different I would probably get even more categories….

But…

Do we need this many separate genres of fiction?

Do we need to have this many labels?

Do these tags help you decide on a book? or is it just needless categorizing?

If something is tagged one of these genres and it doesn’t meet your expectations, are you going to be a harsher judge than if it was just labeled fiction?

Instead of sub genres, should things just be labeled as to content? Like, a list of possible trigger warnings?

Should the first page of a book say:

FICTION

This book may or may not be like actual life

How do we manage our expectations when confronted with label upon label upon label?

Discuss

99 thoughts on “Labeling the Labels

  1. First to your point on all the sub-genres…same with music and it’s a (b)itch. Bottom line: the excess in classification is driven by marketing. Making it all that more difficult to get ‘product’ (be it a book, cd or new type of laundry detergent) out there in the general public…instead it’s all ‘niche’ and hence if you don’t care for a certain ‘type’ of x,y,z you don’t even know it’s out there due to that same niche marketing template. A not-so-subtle way of limiting and guiding an individual’s choice.
    Anyway…as a musician I am often inspired by other’s works…be it poetic or musical or other art.
    And historical events – perceived as well as factual. I suppose it’s the same in the ***intent*** of the term ‘historical fiction.’ However, I rather like the idea of amending your suggestion to:
    Fiction: inspired by events from the historical record. Or some such thing.
    😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think if we are going to label, the label should be that it’s a story and nothing in it is true and should not be construed as representative at any point. I think there’s a generation of readers who don’t know enough about history to make the determination as to what is and isn’t real. And I know…the sub genres in everything!! The internet has made us marketers dreams…

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      1. There’s a whole generation of readers that not only don’t know some basic historical facts…but also don’t know how to do simple ‘fact-checking’ of primary sources/documents/credentialed professionals/etc…BUT that’s another topic!
        (BTW: I’m not generation-bashing at all…it’s a sign of the times that hides all those basic ‘how-tos’)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’re right. It’s not generation bashing…it’s simply how it is today. We are so focused on STEM that we are forgetting everything else. I agree we need STEM, but we need the other stuff too. We need balance

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  2. I think when you say “fiction” there shouldn’t be any expectation that the story contains any truth. The same goes for historical fiction. If a reader wants hard facts, then they should read historical non fiction. Writers try to stay close to the truth so readers could bond and relate with the story, but they need the plot to make sense, so they twist to their story. Now, a few years ago I went on a historical romance binge (I can see you gagging!) and if a particular piece caught my attention, I’d go and google it just to see if it did happen indeed. What I gained was a bunch of facts, because even if some weren’t true, I did learn something…. and that’s probably another topic altogether.

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    1. My problem is the people who think these things are true, and that what’s written is fact. I read a historical fiction a few months ago, and then I read the reviews (I always read reviews after I’ve read something) and the first review I read said “in this non fiction book” so I don’t think we are clearly stating when something is in fact just a story. Or when something is historical fiction “based” on a true story. I think these lines are rising way too often now, and after reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz I felt that the next generation of readers will think of concentration camps as the same as summer camp.

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      1. I do get why you see this mislabeling as insulting, but what you’re highlighting is ignorance. This sounds harsh, but if the reader misunderstood the point entirely, it’s not the writer’s fault. Yes, each reader sees something different. You can go along if a reader sees the moon when the writer is talking about stars, or the sun, but if the reader sees trees …

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      2. You are correct…I am pandering to the uneducated and misinformed. But I don’t want to see future generations blinded by misinformation. We will slide backwards to the stone ages if we continue as we are. While I’m not a conspiracy theorist, we should always question. We don’t question things enough…we like and share without question

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    2. Jina this is not the case. I taught school for 36 years. I had to teach students that non fiction was fact based and that fiction meant the story was not true. However, students are taught beginning in elementary school, that historical fiction is based on historically accurate facts. The only part that is not real is that the main characters did not exist in real life. There are even questions on state tests about this topic in 4th and 5th grade. ALL children in our nation are taught the basics that in historical fiction manners, social conditions etc. realistically display details of the specific time period in the story. And fictional characters must depict authenticity. It is historical fiction because the history is accurate. If it’s not accurate then it becomes fantasy which is another genre entirely. And yes, that is taught in elementary school too and on state tests.

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  3. Oh, I so agree with you! I select specific types of fiction to read because I don’t enjoy ALL fiction. I have my favorite genres. And if it’s historical fiction you bet your bottom dollar that the protagonists better be true to the period. One of the reasons people enjoy ( let’s pick one) regency novels is to take a trip to the past. They want to escape to that period in time. If I’m reading a civil war novel it better be accurate. I adore historic details. In fact I’ll google things in the midst of reading if it doesn’t jive. I hate when writers get things wrong. It’s a lazy excuse to say it’s fiction so they can make up anything. No way!

    Unless I’m reading a time travel novel, which by the way, happens to be one of my favorite genre of all time, then I want total historical accuracy. The fun of a time travel piece is that one character will be out of place so that character will of course bring modern subtext into the story. But, only in that type of fiction is it okay to jump centuries with your characters’ thoughts.

    You left out one category of fiction that really gets me crazy and it needs to be labeled. It’s faith based fiction. There’s nothing worse than reading a story and suddenly you realize that every single character is giving you a biblical lecture. This happened not too long ago and bugged me so much I was furious because I paid money to download a book that was not listed as faith based fiction. I was so angry that I wrote about the distractions in my review. I read a summary of the plot and thought I was going to read a fun paranormal story. Instead, I found I was reading a novel pushing a strong Christian agenda. Now, that’s fine If the book had been labeled faith based. But it wasn’t. And I certainly wouldn’t have purchased it. I find those movies or novels not to my taste. And in any novel, if one or two characters’ back story requires them to be religious that’s ok and can work. But in this case, every single character in the story (and I mean everyone) was super religious. If I was reading a story focusing about an Amish community I’d expect that, but this wasn’t the case. I got so distracted and annoyed that I could barely even finish the book. It took away from the story line and the action. I mean it was bizarre! So I wrote on Amazon that the story should have been labeled faith based fiction. READERS SHOULD BE TOLD! AUTHOR INTRUSION Was used in fiction hundreds of years ago, but not today!

    Anyhow, fiction is not just fiction. There’s a huge difference. I love paranormal fiction. But if I’m reading Gone With the Wind, I don’t want Scarlet to run into a vampire or zombie! And yes, I read Pride and Prejudice and zombies but I knew what I was getting into ahead of time! Let’s face it. To Kill a Mockingbird was brilliant because of its characters. They were fictional, but realistic and true to the times. Fiction is not just fiction. Writers have a responsibility to write believable characters. In my favorite books, the women were strong characters. Ahead of their time in a way. But totally realistic. Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March we’re brilliantly created. They spoke their minds in character for the times. Those books were classics for a reason. Great fiction is defined by great characters. And it’s BS to say anything goes. That to me is dumbing down good writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I ad a book recently that took place in the early 1900s, but the characters read like the early 2000s. I completely agree that when I read a book of that time period I want the characters to be representative of the actual,time period, because why bother if they aren’t going to be”real. I know people get annoyed when they read something written in a certain time period, for example “The Awakening” and they say “but how is this feminist? Look at the characters, how they act” because they don’t realize that they hat is what it was like then. We keep trying to rewrite history and it’s a disservice to all who came before us

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  4. Better watch out LA, those marketing gurus are going to secretly put a label on you if there continues to be questions about their strategies to categorize readers and preferences… 🙂
    Ironically I was sort of binge-watching an early Starz original drama from 2014 or something. Camelot, which could have been really interesting until you realized that much of the dialog sounded suspiciously like phrasing from a very, very modern Arthur and Guinevere. I’ve read “historical fiction/fantasy” on the same topic from Marion Zimmer Bradley; much more true to medieval phrasing than made for television series.

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  5. It’s doubled-edge: the ‘labels’ helps readers find books they are likely to enjoy, based on previous experience, and it helps authors that readers find their way to those books. But there is a risk we just read the same things and don’t branch out. Or that, as you say, a work simply doesn’t fall into a single. I have read a number of fictional accounts of real events and of people’s lives, and these are some of my favourites – Jill Dawson’s books are a good example.

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    1. I get it to a point. I know I love a beach read (look at that…something I forgot) but my goal this year was to branch out, which I did. But is it good to read exactly the same thing every time? But that’s a whole other discussion. Should things be just labeled fiction, with clear warnings that it’s fiction, but then maybe add tags instead of a synopsis? I think there’s a better way

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      1. I always want to know a head of time what I’m reading. My mood affects how I want to spend my time. Reading a book is escaping into another time, or traveling across the globe. It is a whole other world I’m venturing into. And… Sometimes I enjoy romance, sometimes mystery, sometimes paranormal with ghosts, or vampires, sometimes crime stories, historical fiction … so I want to know where my adventure will take me. I do think books on line must be tagged properly. Like that horrible book that was supposed to be a time travel mystery and turned out to be a sneaky way to preach right wing Biblical views. That isn’t fair to the reader.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. There’s got to be a better way to do it though. I agree. I’m a mood based reader as well, but I think we are trying to hard to “define” books. I mean, how do we define “the great Gatsby”? Do we call it literary fiction and end it there? I think there’s got to be a better way

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  6. My cousin writes historical Christian fiction — a sub-subcategory! Her name is Siri Mitchell. She does spend a lot of time keeping her books accurate. I do not like books that take liberties with history, either. I’ll quit reading. What really ticks me off is when historical fiction beats the drum of a current social or political issue that is totally out of place in the era the book takes place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg yes!! That’s just it! To me it takes away from the pioneers who fought for justice and things that weren’t around then! It aids in people taking things for granted

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved the Anne of Green Gables books growing up. I read them over and over. I was so excited to see Netflix’s new version of Anne, only to be disheartened. They turned it into a feminist, LGBTQ-agenda driven show. I’m not against those issues, but please! That’s not what Anne was all about. There was a 1985 Emmy-award winning version with Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Farnsworth that was true to the books and history.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Bleuwater, I didn’t see that updated version of Anne of Green Gables. I too would have been disappointed. Not about the concept but that they changed the story. I felt that way about the newest version of Little Women. I like a book to be portrayed just like the book in the film. However, I do understand that modern directors want to bring timeless classics into the 21st century. If they do so they need to put some clarification in the opening credits. I remember seeing that years ago in a movie called Young Sherlock Holmes. Before the movie there was note that the characters were based on the story created by Conan Doyle but had been reinvented as children bla bla bla and said something like they hoped the author would approve of their updated version. I appreciated this being a huge Holmes fan. Plus it let me know not to expect The usual Holmes. So, I get it. I’m a feminist. But I didn’t like the latest TV show elementary because of how they portrayed Holmes and Watson. On the other hand I loved Sherlock because Benedict Cumberbatch made him exactly in character. Writers have to careful.

    On the other hand, if we want to get young people interested in classic literature we do need to update certain things. I just think it’s a slippery slope. I loved the new film Enola Holmes. My grand daughter can watch it and solve mysteries now. Sherlock is her brother and she’s very modern but still must retain Victorian demeanor in society. The writer of the books and the film did a perfect blend of the past but updated the series for young girls of today. It works and is well done. Good writing is good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t crazy about the new version of Little women. I’m fine with adaptations, but I think they should be called something different, as you stated. Artistic license and liberty is fine, but it has to mesh

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  8. I think some labels do help, but it can go too far. I don’t like reading horror books so I am glad they are in a different section of the bookstore. Cookbooks are a good group for labels. You can’t help it if there are some people are too dumb to realize that a book from the historical fiction thinks it is fact, that is a whole different problem.

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  9. I like the subcategories because they help me pick what I want to read. Sometimes I want a mindless read that I know isn’t going to stress me, but other times I want a thinking book. There is one author I enjoy reading because I get to pick apart his ‘truth from the real truth.

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  10. Labels..yeah too many…Kinda like throwing the TI on the end of LGB…Sorry not the same at all and should have their own label. But I’d be fine with the all encompassing fiction/non fiction without all the subcategories. Although I will say I once bought Edward Gorey’s The Gashley Crumb Tinies that was in the arts section and some woman threw a fit because she somehow confused art with children’s books. This book should honestly be in the humor section as opposed to art or just hang out in Fiction 😁

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  11. I definitely like having subgenres labeled. I mostly read fantasy, and if there is an upcoming release I am interested in, I want to know if it is, say, high fantasy or urban fantasy, Steampunk or silkpunk, dark fantasy or Gothic, or whatever other subgenre it might be, because that tells me a lot about what the story is about. Saying that Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s book, Mexican Gothic, is a fiction title tells me basically nothing about it, but saying that is a Gothic fantasy tells me what sort of story to expect. I have found that a lot of readers complain when a book is mislabeled, as they go into it thinking they are going to get one kind of story, and end up with something else entirely.

    If a fantasy I am looking at is really a romance, for example, I want to know since I generally don’t enjoy those sorts of books. Especially when they are labeled as adventures.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ok. Very fair comments. But do you think there could be a better way of sub categorizing them? Or maybe in addition to trigger warnings, maybe a big thing that something is fiction? And things may or may not be true?

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      1. If you wander into the fiction section, you should probably already be aware that some things are going to be made up. If you take something for Truth, even when it’s labeled fiction, making a bigger label isn’t going to help.

        As far as sun-genres go, I don’t think some Grand Authority could possibly sit down and label all the books, as writers these days– particularly in speculative genres– are coming up with some mind-bending stories. I think it’s more up to the community that reads the stories to come up with the labels, rather than having Susan from Marketing try to come up with a label that suits the latest weird thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We all know we don’t need any more marketing algorithms….but I think it should be more like, literary fiction, science fiction, alternative, mystery and romance. The the sub genres can be more like tags…or sort of a filter that could list triggers, like spousal abuse, things like tear jerker or funny, if the protagonist is male or female….I’m thinking this out as I talk to you. I know Amazon has filters when you’re searching for books, yet they don’t quite get it. There are times I want to read about a 50something female protagonist, but I want it to be lighter and possibly funny and I want it to be realistic. There’s no good way to search for something like that. I’m thinking this out. Expect a post in March….

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      3. LA Well isn’t that the truth!? I get so tired of so many young protagonists. I long to read stories about more mature women. I think it’s only natural for readers to want to read stories about characters they can relate to. And every now and then it would be a pleasure to see dynamic women over 50 in books and films. It’s not just young girls who need to feel valued and empowered. Women of all ages need to have available role models i too. Female characters who aren’t always stereotyped to be the mom or grandma.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I find when their are too many subcategories I often miss out on something I may have really enjoyed because it isn’t within the subcategories I choose. I guess my point is if you micro categorize too much you get less options.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Very confusing and all these genres seem to overlap these days. I can’t get a true grip on mystery,suspense and thriller, for example and even gothic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are listed as all of these. I do like historical fiction and look out for it, so I appreciate that label, but there’s a lot of variety within historical fiction and how much authors use real history. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Humm, I could see having the first ten labels maybe. I mean, I like good science fiction and I would rather limit my search by category in that case instead of stumbling through all fiction works to find something. And I’d rather not pick up a book by accident that is geared towards a teen audience. But labeling to minutia does seem to be unnecessary.

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  15. I have to agree with J. Writing fiction that travails time is like tucking a time machine in your pen. There’s a ton of artistic license involved as a result. That said . . there are WAY too many categories going on.

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  16. Soooo, yeah. I liken this to when I’m watching a film that’s supposed to be a period piece, and the actors have like blue contacts or something or pearly white teeth. Ruins the whole thing for me.

    As far as the fiction categories, yes. We need all of those labels/categories. I hate historical fiction and would want to know that’s what I’m getting into ahead of time. Or magical realism, even. I read Octavia Butler’s, Kindred, which I loved (btw), but wished I would’ve known it was some type of magical realism.

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  17. Historical fiction: the Bible. Okay, that’s my take.

    There are way too many genre labels. It didn’t used to be like that. There was fiction and non-fiction. Maybe there weren’t so many writers back then. Now everyone is a writer with their own slant. I’ve been reading books from a a very early age and I could tell from either a book jacket or reading a first chapter if I liked it or not.

    Back to historical fiction. It is fiction. Some people do write it with the intention of relating a true story for which they cannot produce enough primary material to label it history. Others are simply creating their own story as a period piece. Two very different things. The former is now usually labeled as “creative” or “narrative” non-fiction.

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  18. LA do you think the problem is because these days so many people self publish? In the old days publishing houses has strict guidelines. And they only published authors who were well versed in each category. Historical fiction writers knew their subject matter. Fantasy writers were detailed and unique. Romantic fiction was not as diverse.
    But, I think the problem is if we download ebooks so many are self published and really good novels are harder to find. Often the writer makes grammatical errors, takes too many artistic liberties and clearly doesn’t know the definition of the word historical. Since they often don’t have professionals editing their work there are way more mistakes and a blending of genres. It’s the dumbing down of fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to admit, I have problems with some self published books. My book club chose a self published book and it’s just horrible. While the storyline is ok, the book really needs an editor…there are complications all over the place…

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  19. I think categories and sub-genres are very necessary. And the truth is serious readers like the labels because it helps them to find the books they want to read. Most published authors must stick assiduously to their genres. It’s not easy, as I’ve discovered with my novels. Even widely read authors have to stay within genre boundaries, but they do have more freedom to experiment because they are uncommonly talented.

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  20. I kinda like having categories to narrow down the millions of books and music . But make them logical and meaningful! We were discussing the music some call “jam bands” most of which I detest . But not only that but the fact that to me the term is totally wrong because for me “jamming” is reggae or electric guitar solos or ballads, not that ugh Dave Matthews crap . But potato, potahto.

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  21. The entire purpose of a label is to help people understand something (in VERY broad terms, not just books). Normally the problem with labels is that they rarely reflect the entirety of something, thus making things seem too simplistic and not really representative. When it comes to books, the labels help readers to find the kinds of books they enjoy. When people start to argue what specifics a label encompasses is where it gets problematic. You still have to have definite parameters for those labels to make them effective. When some people decide that a label should expand to include more, it dilutes the effectiveness of the label. I’ve seen a lot of arguments about the romance genre and if tagging a book with that label is wrong if the book doesn’t have a “happily ever after” type of ending. The majority of people believe that is one of the critical elements of the genre and others believe that if you have any kind of romantic aspects then it should get the tag. The problem comes in that, yes, MOST people do feel that the HEA is critical and if they pick up a book and it doesn’t have that, they are not happy with the book. If it is a reviewer, they are probably going to give it a negative rating, no matter how well the story was written because it was misrepresented. Mislabeling a book is one of my biggest peeves in reading. It feels like a bait and switch kind of thing, a false advertising. So yes, labels are important, but they should also be clear. Unfortunately, there are too many people that define the characteristics of those labels and not everyone is going to agree on what those characteristics are.

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      1. I actually really like the ability to get a little more granular with the sub-genres. It makes a huge genre like romance or general literature so much easier to navigate and find what you are looking for.

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      1. A lot of authors in romance are having to resort to this, though, because there have been a lot of books labeled as romance that don’t have that and readers want to know that they are getting that feel good read they think they are.

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  22. Whether celluloid Drama or historical written Fiction I have no time for playing ‘fast and loose’ with historical fact, what’s the (blank) point? And it annoys me! For example Oliver Stone’s JFK is, let’s face it a tissue of lies the consequence school children regard it as fact, Downton Abbey is a popular soap opera yet bares little resemblance to historical events and when a screenwriter pens a new Henry Tudor or Elizabethan reboot the liberties they take are obscene, Mary Stuart NEVER met Elizabeth I in real life so why on earth make a film saying they did?……………..Drives me mad so it does, stay true to historical fact or don’t bother 😀 .

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      1. I admit I’m obsessed with it. Though apparently the royals asked Netflix for a disclaimer saying it’s a fictional story with some real events thrown in, apparently they were quite upset about the Lady Di episodes

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  23. It bothers me when authors impose current values and trends into historical fiction as well! I get that authors can write about whatever they want, but if they are going to do that, I think it comes under the category of “fantasy” rather than historical fiction. That being said, I get equally annoyed when people say you can only write about characters who happen to be just like you. Some of my favorite books are books written by people who are not the same as their main characters. We don’t need the literary police censoring our books, I think.

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    1. Oh, the current trend towards only being allowed to write characters that reflect you is driving me crazy. Does that mean that men can’t write about women and vice versa….you’re right. It is censorship

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      1. That’s exactly what it means, and it absolutely is censorship. It’s weird how a lot of what we tend to label “progressive” ideas are really “regressive ideas.” Truly being progressive means being open minded and looking toward the future. Censorship has always been with us, and not in a good way.

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  24. Hmmmm. I have to admit I pay relatively no attention to subgenres at all. My friend and I have talked many times about book adaptations though, which are interesting. I always read the book first, if I plan to watch the adaptation, or I watch the adaptation and let go of the book. When it comes to historical fiction, I’ve only ever read a little of that genre. I prefer pure fiction, or historical nonfiction. Have a great weekend, LA.

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  25. I don’t like labels on people, especially children, but as a reader I consider book labels and descriptions important. There are expectations that accompany those labels. Background knowledge is generated by them, and decisions are made as to how good a match that book will be for me. Good topic for discussion!

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  26. See, my beef is with ‘non-fiction.’ I entered a story in a contest at college years ago, and became bothered at what was considered a real-life story. People can take a memory from childhood, throw in dialogue, and dub it completely factual.

    And I’m on your side with the historical fiction. Do your research, authors.

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    1. Oh you hit on one of my pet peeves! When something is “based on a true story” and then they tell the most ridiculous story that they want you to believe is true. It’s to the point that I don’t want to do these sort of books anymore

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  27. Just watched Mary Queen of Scots on Netflix because Number One son is home and suggested it (and knew how to do it). Interesting, though shallow film. Could have been set in Ruritania or somewhere that had dragons as the historical context wasn’t necessary. Based on a flimsy theory that they met. There were other inaccuracies too. It was good, though not great, drama, and very poor history, and should have been labelled as such.

    Genre is important to allow you to select books to read, but they should also be labelled according to accuracy, quality and sub genre. My pet hate at the moment is selecting a novel from Kindle then finding it’s a thinly disguised romance. I don’t mind “cosy” as I don’t really want blood, serial killers and dismembered corpses everywhere, but I do mind lazy writing, stereotypes and single women who own bakeries in idealised small American towns.

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    1. I read a book last year that I thought was about a girl with Aspergers and how she would navigate relationships….and it was just a wild sex romp….so yeah….at least admit what you are…

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  28. I read mainly nonfiction which usually includes voluminous footnotes and references and resources at the end which sometimes make up nearly a third of the page total of the damn things. Even then, if one looks closely at this very tiny print, one might make a determination that some of these sources are not entirely factually accurate either. After reading some of these I have reached the personal conclusion that they must be true because no one could make this stuff up.

    But maybe I’m wrong about that last point. I have seen where some of the “best” historical fiction works may occasionally also include footnotes, etc., that may relate at least some of what’s included therein to actual facts or at least attempts to be base some of it in real history.

    I also vote for trying to classify books into genres. I know that I would not enjoy most of the fantasy fiction my daughter reads, nor would I enjoy anymore the romance novels (that I used to call “bodice-rippers”) one of my friends reads. I enjoy many of the works that are now labeled as “classics” and have found that they are so labeled for a reason. Unfortunately, I have found a few that I just consider to be unenjoyable and not worth my time. A classic, like a genre, may be in the eye of the beholder.

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