Monday, January 26, 2015

What Are You Reading When You're Not Reading Scifi & Fantasy?

by Megan S.

We spend a whole lot of time talking about science fiction and fantasy here at Stellar Four, but that's not the entirety of what the S4 ladies read and I'm betting the same is true for you. I mean, woman shall not live on Dystopian YA alone, amirite? So, I thought we could chat tonight about a few of our other favorite book genres.

I love a good mystery, which is no big stretch from the type of SF&F books I normally read. I generally gravitate to female detectives and political thrillers. I spent this weekend with my nose in the latest Veronica Mars book. (Strangely enough, it has a blink-and-you-miss-it Welcome to Night Vale crossover but I digress.) Mr. Kiss and Tell is a must read for fans of the former television series. While it's missing Veronica's constant inner monologue because it's written in third person, it's just as good as one of the best episodes. You know what? Actually, I take that back; it's better. We're starting to see what a screwed up adult Veronica grew up to be, emotionally stunted and pulling the same shit she did when she was in high school. Her antics aren't as adorable as they once were. Seriously, go read Mr. Kiss and Tell.

Oh, and here's an embarrassing admission. I like the occasional cozy mystery. I grew up reading Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown.  Because, duh, kitties solving gruesome murders is smack dab in the middle of my wheelhouse.

Autobiographies are another favorite of mine. Well-written personal stories with a touch of humor is Megan catnip.  Most recently, I picked up Amy Poehler's Yes Please.  It was more of a collection of essays and life advice. While I'm a big fan of her work, especially Parks and Rec, I couldn't get into the book.  Instead, I'll recommend my very favorite in the genre, chef Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.  It's jam packed with sex, drugs, and food. Awesome.

My final go-to genre is a little hard to describe. It's a non-fiction, in-depth explorations of certain topics, all written in a wry voice. Mary Roach's book on cadavers, Stiff, is a perfect example. The latest one I enjoyed was The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee. It chronicles the spread of Chinese culture through the lens of well known dishes and treats like General Tso's Chicken and fortune cookies. Who doesn't want to learn about history via food?

Well, those are a few of my favorite non-SF&F books. How about you? What are you reading when you're not reading scifi and fantasy? Leave your thoughts and recommendations in the comments.
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  1. Romance. So much romance: Historical. Contemporary. Paranormal. Suspense. Erotica. YA. My Kindle is a confusing mix of hard sci fi, grimdark fantasy, and romance.

    And like you, Megan, I also read mysteries. Have you picked up the Flavia De Luce books?

    My great shame is that I don't read nonfiction. I greatly enjoyed Devil in the White City 10 years ago, and ... that's all I've picked up.

  2. Hmmm, well I suppose I read a lot of nonfiction. A lot of topics interest me, but I tend to seek out biographies of people I think of as "freaks, outsiders, and kindred spirits."

    Then there is the occasional literary book. My first love is the beautiful sentence, and it doesn't really matter what form it comes in.

    I read a lot of mysteries when I was younger, but haven't in some time. I think Gone Girl was the last, and that was for a book club. I loved it and couldn't put it down, but for some reason I still never seek that genre out.

    I think the moral of this story is that I will read anything with stellar writing.

  3. I recently read As You Wish by Cary Elwes. It's about the making of The Princess Bride and it was lovely.

    I like cookbooks and The Drunken Botanist is a very cool book about the plants that are used for alcohol. Tequila Mockingbird is awesome too. Working my way through that one will be a treat.

    I like mysteries and romance. Sara, I just ordered the first Flavia book from the library. Looking forward to reading it!

  4. I used to be really into mysteries but these days I've been trying out romances. It's fun skimming the best of the genre when I'm used to being neck deep in it.

  5. Why be embarrassed about liking a cozy mystery. Those are the best kind, and they are one of the things I like to read. Miss Marple is the best.