This week, I'm going to write about my Top 3 Favorite Genres to read. I get asked this question enough, I figured I'd just do a quick write up about it and let y'all peer into the mind of me.
Science Fiction / Speculative Fiction
To start off, I have a close race for first place between Sci-Fi and Historical Fiction. These two genres are what I cut my teeth on when I was growing up, but sci-fi gets the edge. My dad introduced me to the world of science fiction in middle school and encouraged my voracious reading habit with his collection of Robert A. Heinlein's books (the ones he wrote for teens, not things like Stranger in a Strange Land or To Sail Beyond the Sunset). I distinctly remember sitting on my back porch at my parents house in 8th grade one rainy weekend reading Rocketship Galileo and loving it. If you've never read any of the Dean of Science Fiction's work, I can't recommend them enough. My favorites include the books with Lazarus Long and the Howard Families, if nothing else than for the concept of longevity and rejuvenation Heinlein envisioned. Whatever you do, don't judge his work by the movie Starship Troopers. The director never read the book it was based on (fantastic book, by the way) and while it's got some similar elements, I don't even consider it the same story.
Historical Fiction / Fictional History
Historical fiction is my other love--and again I was introduced by my father. He got me a copy of Kenneth Roberts' perennial classic, Rabble in Arms, the story of the early days of the American Revolution and Benedict Arnold's epic march and failed attempt to take Quebec (this was back before Congress and the hoity-toity elites in the colonies ruined him and humiliated him and forced him to switch sides in order to survive...yeah, I've got opinions on old Benedict, and I don't consider him the traitor so many Americans do. He was the best fighting general of the Revolution). The characters go on to several other books, and one, Cap Huff, one of my favorites of the series, got his start in another Roberts book, Northwest Passage (set before the revolution). This series inspired me to write my own books about the Delaware Continentals in the Revolution (I've got something like 360 pages written, a project I started in college at the University of Delaware).
I love history, so it was only natural for me to gravitate toward stories that bring the history I love to life. I my favorite time period is colonial America, followed closely by the American Civil War (Killer Angels, the story the epic movie Gettysburg was based on, is another brilliant read). I'm quickly appreciating Old World HistFic however, and love the Plantagenets series by Sharon Kay Penman about Henry II and his dynasty in the Middle Ages.
Last, but certainly not least, is Fantasy. I'm not nearly a big a fan of fantasy as I am of it's brothers, sci-fi (or as Heinlein called it, Speculative Fiction) or HistFic, but there are some aspects of fantasy I love. The epic, sweeping tales that take place over centuries across entire continents, the hero's journey, the large scale battles, the medieval weaponry, I eat it up. As yo might have guessed, I'm a huge fan of the Game of Throne books by George R.R. Martin. The show was fantastic (except that ending, ugh) in its own right, but at a point it diverged from the books and became it's own entity. I learned to appreciate the show for what it is (a loose adaptation that goes kinda off the rails) and just enjoy the dragons. The books were so much more rich and full of history that I easily lost myself in them for days and weeks at a time and did nothing else but read in my spare time. I just wish GRRM didn't take so long to write the bloody things!
I'll also include the other big story I love (some call it sci-fi, and others call it HistFic, and still others call it romance), the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I've read everything, the big books, the novellas, the Lord John books—all except the latest book and have several copies autographed by Herself (for my wife of course, who's the fan who got me reading the books in the first place). The show is fairly faithful to the story, but the books are so massive (GRRM scale doorstoppers) that things have been cut and ignored and tweaked a bit to satisfy actors (Murtagh is the man, but he got far more screen time on the show than in the books!) and fans and I can live with that. I love the books, and I love the show. It's sexy times, time travel, history, swashbuckling and Scottish accents. And Lord John, the man who gave the most epic of epic dress-downs to one very impertinent "Leftenant Leonard" (if you know, you know).
So there ya have it, folks. My top three genres to read. What's your favorite genre/book/series? Does anyone else out there like the ones I like? Gotta be some Kenneth Roberts fans out there...let me know in the comments. I'm always on the lookout for my next read.
As always, we live in interesting times, so keep your heads down and your powder dry, my friends.