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You Are What You Read, Part 2!

More Genres for More Kinds of Readers

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 14, 2022

A few weeks ago, we published a post about how readers' preferred genres might match up with their personalities. It garnered a bit of attention and a few comments regarding our accuracy (or lack thereof!). It wasn't based on any sort of data, mind you, but we know a thing or two about how readers tick. Anyway, we got a few requests for some other genres to be included. So here you go!


If you cut your teeth on titles like Stephen King's IT and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, you're someone who loves that feeling when the hair stands up on the back of your neck. Your favorite stories may involve frightening things, but being scared just makes you feel more alive. It's not that you're macabre or gloomy; you're just comfortable with your dark side. You might believe in ghosts and may even have made contact with the other side a time or two. Here are some recent releases that gave us goosebumps:

  • Sundial by Catriona Ward: A mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in hopes of redeeming their future.
  • Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda: "Was desire something like being possessed by a nightmare?" asks this ominous, multivocal novel.
  • Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes: Titanic meets The Shining in this story of a woman and her crew who uncover the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn't yet ended.


If your pleasure reading includes volumes like 1776 by David McCullough and The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, you have your feet firmly planted on the ground. Reality suits you and you love the sense of perspective it gives you to be able to trace the path of progress. You often have to gently disagree when one of your friends utters the overused phrase "unprecedented times." You're a pragmatist, a realist, and even if they don't always say it, your friends and family appreciate the breadth of knowledge you bring to dinner party conversations.


If you love getting an intimate glimpse into different people's lives as in books like The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston and Boyhood by J.M. Coetzee, you are a person who loves, well, people. You're open-minded and nonjudgmental which makes it easy for friends to confide in you. You're an open book yourself and when making new acquaintances, you like to get right down to the business of swapping life stories. Truth be told, you think everyone has a fascinating backstory and you're often astonished by the strength, bravery, and brilliance of each and every soul you meet. Here are some recent memoirs that opened our eyes and touched our hearts:

Literary Fiction

If you get lost in complex, character-driven novels like Commonwealth by Ann Patchett and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, congratulations! You're obviously an awesome book club member! You always read the book and you're excited to discuss it. (You may even come prepared with a list of questions.) You don't mind it when people call you a book nerd, because, you know, if the shoe fits... Your favorite books actually fall into many genres, but you've been known to be a bit finicky about the "quality" of the writing. Here are a few of the titles making the rounds in our book clubs:

  • The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan: A taut, explosive debut novel about a young mother whose lapse in judgment lands her in a strict government reform program to regain custody of her child.
  • To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara: This long-awaited follow-up from the author of A Little Life weaves together three different versions of the American experiment, each separated by a century.
  • Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González: Set in New York City in the months around a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico, this novel features family strife, political corruption and the notion of the American dream.


If you while away your days exploring rip-roaring yarns like Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, you have a hankering for wide-open spaces and simpler times when the lines between right and wrong were starkly drawn. You're drawn to tales featuring the hero's journey, in which honorable protagonists willingly sacrifice their comfort and safety to set things right. You find peace in the rugged outdoors and love nothing better than sleeping under the stars. These adventurous new Westerns took us on a wild ride:

In comments to the previous post, several of you mentioned enjoying many genres and/or finding these descriptions a bit lacking. We get that. The truth is, we all have multifaceted personalities that can't be summed up in a few sentences. Point being, this is just for fun. No actual science went into our "research" for these posts. They're drawn from casual observation of ourselves and many of our favorite readers. And we only hope it inspires you to embrace the magic of you and keep on reading what you love.

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