Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Book Confessions: Genre Burnout

I tend to read a mix of genres and usually I try not to read two books of the same genre after each other. Partly this is for variety and partly so that when I’m writing the review I don’t get confused between the two kick-ass heroines or some such. This means that I rarely suffer from ‘genre burnout’ – you know when you’ve read so many book of the same type that you can’t get excited about them anymore and it just feels like a chore.

Recently I’ve been feeling like that about Young Adult books – and before everyone starts shouting at me, I know YA can cover a range of genre really from dystopia to first romance to supernatural to thriller and frequently a mix of all of them. But usually YA covers lead characters in their teens figuring out what they want from life. And that is what has been niggling at me recently. So many of these lead characters make decisions about their rest of their lives assuming that they will feel the same in a year, five years, ten years time...
Sometimes I just can't read some genres...

I will admit I’m no longer in my teens nor to my own disgust in my twenties any more – and I still DON’T know what I want to do with my life. Maybe I’m just feeling old and cynical but I can’t imagine still being with any of the guys I knew when I was in my teens or having the same dreams now as I had then. So recently I haven’t been feeling the love of YA. I’ve suffered genre burnout before though so I know I just need a bit of break with some occasional ‘toe-dip’ back into YA before I start feeling it again.

However, previously I’ve suffered genre burnout with fantasy, crime, chick-lit and urban fantasy... I’m never sure  what causes a burnout to start, but sometimes I just can’t read a certain genre without getting very, very grumpy. So I wondered if anyone else suffers from genre burnout occasionally...? Is there a reason for it coming upon you? How to you overcome it...? Surely, it can’t just be me...? 


  1. I feel the same way about YA, as much as I hate to admit it. I mean, it's OK but it drives me crazy sometimes.

    I usually suffer from chick lit burnout but I don't know what causes it. In fact, it's not even a burnout anymore. I haven't read a proper chick lit novel for ages and I still don't want to. :S

    As for overcoming it, I don't know. Try to read other genres until you feel like reading the one you've ignored thus far. :)

  2. I hear ya. People do yell over YA, but yes I put in a genre too cos like you said, teens figuring things out. And like you that was one thing that made me pull away from it. I sure did not know anything then, or now! I just can't relate, and would not have been able as a teen either.

    I usually do not get burnout cos I try to read as many different genres as possible. The burnouts scare me

  3. +JMJ+

    As someone who has stayed away from YA because of another tiresome convention, I think you're making a valid critique. And when we doubt the wisdom of the decisions the young protagonists make on the way to their happy endings, then we question the happiness of the endings as well, don't we?

    Like Blodeuedd, I try to read as many different genres as possible. Sometimes I even force myself to abandon a genre I'm really loving, while it's still rosy to me, so that I can try something new! I find it hard to relate to some friends of mine who stick to the same genre without any variation. If I did that, I'd get bored in two or three months!

  4. I think if I read nothing buy YA I would burn out pretty quickly...but it's only about 1/4 of what I read and I don't think I'm necessarily reading the popular stuff. Being varied on your reading is definitely the way forward :)

    I do have more-sex-than-plot-urban-fantasy burnout though. I'm not sure how people read that back-to-back and rave about it all!

  5. I switch them up to try to avoid burnout, but I still get it as well. I think part of it is having to read so many for review. You have to read a bit on a schedule and so I can get burnout in that way. I'm currently in a reading burnout but I have a good book in front of me. I'm just pushing through it. :)

    I know what you mean about YA. I always thought it was strange to have one goal in life and that was it. I've had to reinvent myself so many times due to circumstances I couldn't control. I think evolving is the key, not one goal per life.

  6. I used to think I suffered from genre burnout, and would deliberately try to branch out and read something different, but usually found myself unsatisfied with those titles and itching to get back to the genre I was so sure I had to take a break from.

    Maybe we need to read those other genres to appreciate our favorites?

  7. I end up feeling the same way sometimes. I've been burned out on fantasy, on speculative fiction, but I burn out on YA stuff especially quickly lately. I think it's partly for the same reasons that you do. I can't deny that teens making decisions with the assumption that they'll stay that way forever is pretty realistic. I think that 90% of teens think that they'll be the same people in 10 years, that they'll still date the same person and have the same passions and interests and all that stuff. And some are right, but most aren't. But also I get tired by the startling lack of variation in YA protagonists and how their stories unfold, at least in the portions of the YA metagenre that I read. Female aged 16-17 lives in a crapsack world, ends up in trouble, falls in love, faces some danger while fretting over never being able to see her new boyfriend of 2 weeks ever again, BAM, the book's over. Or replace the crapsack world with the discovery that she has magical powers or isn't fully human. Rinse and repeat.

    And if that sounded bitter and cynical, it's because it was. I'm getting so tired of seeing that formula done over and over again because it holds no interest for me anymore. It's gotten to the point where even if a YA novel sounds like it could be interesting, I avoid it because I dread seeing that formula for the umpteenth time. Lately I've been sticking to more adult fantasy in the hope of throwing that off, giving myself a break. Maybe after a dozen or so hefty fantasy novels, I'll be ready to dive back into some YA reads and won't feel so burned out on them anymore. I hope so, anyway.

  8. I like mixing up my genres too. And YA seems to burn me out faster though. I feel like it's a repeat of the same thing over and over. Oh, there are some I love, but it seems to be the genre that is being over saturated with books the time.

  9. I definitely go through phases with certain genres which tends to result in genre burn out. Usually I've read one read really fantastic book and then I look to read a few similar ones almost as if I'm searching for a similarly awesome book that gave me the same book buzz and then I inevitably get sick of that particular genre. It's a bit like overeating!

    Right now I'm pretty much off YA and dystopian books and in love with shifter books. Give it a month and I'll be on to something else!

    Great topic Mel, I love your little discussion posts they always get me thinking.