Discussion: Choosing Which Books to Read and My Expectations for Genres

Hi friends! For today’s post, I thought it might be fun for you to know more about how I choose which books to read and why I might end up liking them or not. Essentially, it’s a go behind the scenes with Eleanor as she breaks down her extremely nitpicky book process.

(Anyone else think the title was long? ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Let’s get started (Eleanor can finally do a short intro)!!!!

Typically, books with interesting titles and summaries are the main things that grab me. If I deem the synopsis interesting enough, I head on over to Goodreads and check out the ratings. If it’s 3.5 or higher, I’ll mark it as Want to Read (though I really prefer it if the book is rated 3.8 or higher, shhh). If it’s below 3.5, I may take a look at the reviews and see why it got that rating. If it makes sense, I’ll move on from that book to the next.

Sometimes, a book goes on my DNF list after I read the first few chapters. Out of all the books I’ve ever read, very few of them have received a bad rating, because I don’t want to waste my time reading something that won’t be interesting. 

The three essentials to a good story are character, world, and plot. I know many readers greatly prioritize characters over world and plot. This makes sense โ€” characters and their voice are integral to a reader’s happy experience with a book. But for me, all three essentials are equally important. There are, however, specific genres where I have higher standards for character or world or plot. There are a variety of reasons why this may be the case. I’ll be going more in depth with these reasons now.

For science fiction, I have high standards for world. World, in my opinion, is essentially what makes science fiction stand out from all the other genres. If the world is something I’ve seen several times in other books, or if it doesn’t have any really unique qualities, then I’ll end up feeling pretty disappointed.

Runner ups (for next important, in order): Plot, Character

I read a lot of historical fiction in fifth grade, but can’t seem to find any at the moment. Put in your book recs in the comments below, if you want, I would greatly appreciate that!

But I feel that historical fiction should have strong characters. The world and situation are bound to be unique already, because the novel takes place in a past time period that is very real. 

Runner ups: Plot, World

With fantasy, I think I’m more inclined towards strong characters as well. They’re the ones that lead you into the world and carry out the plot. So, they have to have really compelling backstories, motivations, goals, strengths, and flaws, for me to root for them.

Runner ups: Plot & World are tied 

Classics make up a large portion of my reading diet (interesting choice of words, I know) and to me, plot matters most when it comes to this genre. I don’t think world matters as much when it comes to classics โ€” it’s more honed in on society and etiquette. The characters should be three dimensional, although sometimes, the style of writing can make it so they seem a little flat. But the plot has to be solid and extraordinary, or else classics in general may not be very interesting to me. The fact that I’ve read at least a dozen (abridged) classics at a young age means that the plots were all highly engaging.

Runner ups: Character, World 

Characters matter most to me when it comes to contemporary, and I have to be able to connect with them. Even if I enjoyed the plot and/or world, I may still give the book a lower rating because I wasn’t able to understand the character. Because contemporary (at least in my experience) doesn’t feature a lot of magical settings to draw my attention to the world, the characters have to really speak to me and make me feel.

Runner ups: Plot, World

Lol, anyone else noticing how world has only been 1st place once and 2nd place twice? This is not intentional, I absolutely love world.

With adventure and action (especially in films), the plot has to be one-of-a-kind and paced evenly enough. I feel like a lot of films follow the basic structure of “Hero. Villain. Hero vs Villain. Hero wins. Villain gone.” Not joking. This brand of books and movies is not really appealing to me, because I already know how it’ll play out. This is why plot reigns supreme for adventure/action (in my opinion).

Runner ups: World, Character 

I think I’ll stop here, so you don’t lose interest (if you haven’t already). If you read all the way through, thank you very much ๐Ÿ˜


11 thoughts on “Discussion: Choosing Which Books to Read and My Expectations for Genres”

  1. Goodness! I loved reading your ‘behind the scenes’! I totally relate to what you said about Science Fiction and Historical fiction. My process is slightly less tedious though๐Ÿ˜‚
    Hope you’re doing good, Eleanor! Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much D! Lol I don’t think I am actually EXACTLY aware or conscious at all times of this process, but while doing this post I liked how I could take the time to really think about what pulled me into all these various genres. But I’m glad you enjoyed!! Thank you, I hope you’re well too ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear that youโ€™re a big DNFer, because I am too! Lifeโ€™s too short to spend time reading books you wonโ€™t enjoy.
    It makes sense to me that you have different expectations based on genre when it comes to character, plot, and world. Iโ€™m pretty much a character person all around, so no matter the genre Iโ€™m only invested if the characters are well done. But itโ€™s true that I have higher expectations for the other two in certain genres.
    This was so interesting to read, Eleanor! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES EXACTLY I’m glad you agree too ๐Ÿ˜‚ For me, I love discovering characters with unique voices and/or experiences, but if they’re not the *er most likable*, I can at least tolerate them if the world or plot is engaging enough ๐Ÿ˜Š Thank you so much, I’m happy you liked the post!!


    1. Thank you very much! It’s good to find another fellow historical fiction and classics reader ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to say my favorite classics would be Pride and Prejudice, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Fall of Giants seems very interesting, I’ll have to look into it!!


  3. ooh, this post is so interesting eleanor! i’m one of those people you mentioned who care about characters most of all haha, but the amount i care can definitely change with each genre!! contemporary is 100% a genre where i really have to care about the characters, but with fantasy, the worldbuilding is definitely important and can’t be completely neglected in favor of the characters in my opinion! i don’t read a lot of classics like you do, but from the few that i’ve read, i can definitely see why you’d say plot matters so much (especially with the writing style making it seem like characters are flatter than they are). great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much may! i’m so glad you agree! โค๏ธ while sci-fi is my favorite genre, the worlds can get really dense and technical with all of the information, so sinking into wonderful fantasy worlds are my next go-to! (especially when there’s court intrigue, can’t get enough of it!) i hope you get to read more classics and enjoy them, there are a few that might be too bland but there’s definitely something for everyone! thank you again, i’m sorry it took me so long to get to your lovely comment, it’s been a crazy few days. hope you’re having a wonderful week!!

      Liked by 1 person

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