I have been an avid reader ever since I was little. I would safely call myself a bookworm. I remember spending hours in my room reading all sorts of books. My favourite books at the time were the Famous Five, Mallory Towers, the Naughtiest Girl, basically anything written by the legendary Enid Blyton. I also loved the Nancy Drew mysteries.
The love of reading and books has never left me. To this day, I absolutely adore visiting bookshops, walking past all those bookshelves and leafing through new books. I am always on the lookout for new authors and books to read.
So, it is only natural for me to talk about my love of books and reading with my clients. Now, not all my clients are readers but I have spent some wonderful lessons with those who are discussing the latest book we’ve read or are reading and making recommendations to each other on what to read next.
I have two clients in particular with whom I can happily spend hours talking about books – Roberta and Elzbieta. From these chats, the vocabulary of books is explored and learned and that is what I want to do with you here – explore this rich vocabulary.
What are you reading at the moment?
The question is swiftly followed by an enthusiastic exchange of news. When I ask this question, I normally want to know what type of book the person is reading. In English, we use the French word “genre” to mean type of book.
There are many different genres in the world of books. The genres can be split between fiction and non-fiction.
In the non-fiction category, you will find genres like biography, art, photography, history, travel, food and wine, cookbooks, politics, business and finance and many more.
In the fiction category, you will come across genres like thriller, crime, children’s, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, literary, chick lit, horror and many more.
What is chick lit, I hear you say? Well, “chick” is an informal word in American English to refer to women and “lit” is the abbreviation of literature.
Chick Lit as a genre became popular in the mid 1990s and addresses modern womanhood in a humorous and light-hearted way. Some well-known authors (writers) associated with chick lit are Sophie Kinsella (Confessions of a Shopaholic), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’s Diary) and Candace Bushnell (Sex and The City).
For a longer list of the different genres you can find in a bookshop, take a look here.
I myself am a fan of contemporary fiction. I rarely read non-fiction. I have also started reading more crime fiction. I really enjoy the Scandinavian authors like Jo Nesbo, Stieg Larsson and Karin Fossum.
The Plot and Characters
Roberta, Elzbieta and I will then discuss the plot ( the events that make up a story) of the book we’re reading. Is it realistic, gripping, well-developed, fast-paced (positive) or is it predictable, plodding, sketchy (negative)?
We will also talk about the characters in the book, whether they are likeable, believable, well-rounded (positive) or stereotyped, unbelievable or undeveloped (negative).
What was/is the book like?
Positive comments: The book is/was action-packed, brilliant, easy to read, complex, heartbreaking, poignant, a page-turner, riveting, thrilling, scary, gripping, spine-tingling.
Negative comments: The book was/is boring, predictable, nonsensical, erratic, confusing, rubbish.
Finally we will say whether we would recommend the book we’re reading or have read to each other. I have discovered many new authors through my chats/lessons with Roberta and Elzbieta and other friends. My most recent discovery was Kathleen MacMahon and her book “This is how it Ends”. It was heart-breaking and so poignant. Thank you, Elzbieta.
Finally, how do you like your books? In paper or digital format? I have to admit that I LOVE my Kindle and have become an addict of e-books. How about you? It took me a while to get used to having an e-reader, but now I wouldn’t be without my Kindle.
What are you reading at the moment? Would you recommend it to me? I’d love to hear from you.
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Ciao for now and happy reading!