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Elude – 5 book genres I cannot seem to gel with


Elude means to escape. And my interpretation of this word is genres I stay away from and why.

Even though I have a voracious love for reading, there are a few genres I just cannot seem to enjoy. I read to immerse myself into a make-believe world that makes my imagination fly. I have a very deep love for stories and let myself live out the tale through the characters in it.

This is why there are a few genres like Self-Help, Political Thrillers, Magical Realism, Horror, and Dystopia that just don’t enthrall me at all. I have tried reading a few books in each of these genres (except Horror) before concluding that they are not my cup of tea.


OMG! This genre is just yaaaaaaawn for me. I have tried to read a few very well recommended books, especially from peeps whose reading tastes are similar to mine. But it all failed for me except The Atomic Habits which I did manage to finish and appreciate just a little bit 😉

Also read my book review of The Atomic Habits

Ikigai would be the other book that I not only read but enjoyed reading in this genre. So even though I try my best to elude this genre, one or two books have happily slipped under the radar 🙂


This genre deals with inciting fear in the readers by the use of supernatural and paranormal elements to create a morbid and spooky atmosphere. The details are just a little bit too realistic for comfort and cause a great deal of trepidation and terror. Even while watching a movie or play, during the spooky/thriller parts, I often cover my eyes out of fear. This is perhaps the biggest reason why I elude this genre the most and am yet to read even one such book.

Political Thrillers

Another genre that I elude with all my heart is Political thriller. Often biographical in nature, these are just a little bit too real boring to read if politics is not a favorable subject to deal with. Sometimes these are partly real and partly the story is woven around it to lend credence to the plot. I had begun reading the Red Sari which is based on INC President Sonia Gandhi’s life but didn’t enjoy it a lot and left it midway.

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I was first introduced to dystopia via the much acclaimed novel 1984 by George Orwell and subsequently The Animal Farm. Both were part of my college reading and were extremely painful for me to read. Somehow the dark and depressing motifs of dystopian world take the romance of reading out for me. I also attempted to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and subsequently tried to watch the TV adaptation of it too. But they both failed for me as I just couldn’t relate to this kind of reality. I confess to being in love with happy endings and dystopia is anything but happy!!

Magical Realism

Left the best for last as I am sitting on the fence with this one. I first stumbled on this genre in Chocolat by Joanne Harris and I am sure back then magical realism wasn’t a much talked about or recognized motif.

Wendy B. Harris has proposed five elements of magical realism as  Irreducible Element, Phenomenal World, Unsettling Doubts, Merging Realms, and Disruption of Time. This genre is a cross between reality and fantasy fiction and is mostly linked with Latin American cultures and writers. That is because much of the folk stories from this region are based on elements that magical realism seeks inspiration from.

Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez are the prime examples of this. The beauty of magical realism lies in the juxtaposition of supernatural elements as commonplace in the story. Basically its a combination of a common facet of everyday life with hyper-fixation. The extended metaphor of fantasy is believably stretched by deft imagination and eloquent writing.

I have read a few books touched with magical realism motifs like The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. It was an amazing read for me up until the end. Because the ending just didn’t make any sense, sensational though it was meant to be.

I loved Aimee Bender’s The Color Master and you must read this post to know why

That is what my grouse with writers employing this particular genre is. Magical realism is being used more and more to give unexplainable endings or nuances to the tale that leave me dissatisfied with the whole story. Layla by Colleen Hoover is another example of a disappointing read in this area.

But then there are authors who know how to make it work and leave me wanting to know more; which I guess is the idea behind this genre. One such book I can recommend is The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. Its Harry Potter meets Phillip Pullman kind of story setting and one that I am looking to explore more. The magical realism elements in this book are well placed and help to move the story forward.

Another writer who weaves magical realism masterfully in her books is Diane Setterfield and I just loved her book Once Upon a River.

Erin Morgenstern also employs this genre to deliver her stories beautifully. One can read The Starless Sea  and The Night Circus to enjoy the harmony between magical realism and fantasy fiction.

But the best example of magical realism in my opinion is, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which has all the five elements of this genres.

So I guess its not the genre so much that I avoid but the writers who fail at implementing it skillfully.

Well that sums up the genres I tend to elude the most. What did you think of this? Do you also have least favorite genres? Which ones? Any from my list? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

And if you are stopping from AtoZ, please do drop your link in the comments for me to read your post too.

Coming up next is F for Florilegium – a volume of writings.

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For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

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10 thoughts on “Elude – 5 book genres I cannot seem to gel with

  1. I have just started liking self-help books. Earlier I stayed away from them for the same reason: yaawwnnn!
    However, I do enjoy dystopian stories, and to some extent horror, too, provided the horror is done tastefully. Not a lot of blood and gore for me. It irritates me, more than scares me. I do read horror, and watch horror films when in the mood. I just loved watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I binge-watched all the seasons during the pandemic and wished I could see more of them. Somehow, dystopian stories appeal to me. As far as magical realism and political thrillers go, it depends upon the story. If it pulls me in on the first page or the first scene, then I am hooked. 🙂

    1. OMG I hadnt taken you for someone who loves dystopia and horror. I dont know how you do it but enjoying Handmaid’s Tale is a feat by itself. When we meet next we will talk about this for sure.

  2. Growing up, I was totally into fiction, but at some point i fell in love with non-fiction. I’m not a fan of Political thrillers and Dystopian Fiction or even Horror, but I definitely do love a lot of non-fiction that also fall in the self-help category. I should say, I’ve not just devoured these books but also happen to own quite a few of these priceless gems, because they continue to help me in ways that I cannot even quantify! As for magical realism, the two authors Isabel Allende and Marquez are both my favs—not read much on the genre besides them.

    1. Glad to hear that Esha. Welcome to the Isabel Allende fan club. I just love her writings and cannot get enough of her books. Looking to collect them all and put them on my bookshelf.

      I know you as someone who loves to read non fiction as I have seen some of your posts about it. Ikigai was picked up on the recco of loads of peeps including you I think.

  3. I totally agree with you on political thrillers, self-help, and horror (I don’t understand the people who actually *want* to be just that terrified by a book). I’m iffy on dystopian, but I adore magical realism — when, like you said, it’s done right. And I agree on all the titles you mentioned. And thank you for your opinion on “Once Upon a River”! I loved Setterfield’s “Thirteenth Tale” but hated “Bellman and Black”, so I’ve been nervous to read anything else by her.

    1. Hey Bee – so good to hear from someone who has similar reading tastes as mine. I actually liked Bellman and Black too though I agree The Thirteenth Tale is the bestest ever book by her. I cannot wait for more of her books to be published as all three are on my recommended list. Please do give me some reccos for books with great magical realism – always on the lookout for new authors and books.

  4. Dystopian, Horror, Self-Help, Mythology, Fantasy – These would be mine. I recently read a few books on magical realism and loved them. I’ll share them with you.

    1. Oh yes please do. I am still divided on magical realism and some good ones might just do the trick Soumya.

  5. Self-help books are a hit-and-miss for me. Lately, I have discovered a couple of good ones, but most seem rehashed. I enjoy horror books although I am a scaredy cat 🙂

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