Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New subcategory for historical genre needed

Nooo, I missed a day! :( I was doing so well, sigh. Yesterday evening, I had the AGM at the curling club. I had started writing a post and figured I'd be able to finish it once I got home. Except, the AGM ran from 7.45-11pm ^_^; Longest meeting we've had since I joined the club... By the time I got home, it was past midnight and I had this killer headache. Grrrr. I might double-post to make up for it, sigh. I'm just bummed to have missed a day now :(

Okay, so whenever I input books in a spreadsheet - whether it's books I've read, books bought, books I wanted, etc., there's always a column in there for genre. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one :) Lately, I've been wondering how long do we have to wait till a certain era/period qualifies as "historical" LOL. Or more bluntly: What genre do books set in the 1970-2000 belong?

Why do I bring this up? Well it seems like some authors are getting nostalgic, particularly of the 80-90s - and deliberately choose to set their books in that time period. I feel there's been such advances in technology starting around 2000 - internet, computers, cell phones, tablets and so on - that I personally feel like books set in that period of time should be categorized as contemporary...

By the way, I'm not talking about books that were written during that period. Take the Chesapeake quartet by Nora Roberts which was written in 1998. Those, I would still categorize as contemporary romance because they were... But authors who right now are choosing to set their books in the 80s or 90s because of nostalgia, because things were different, for example Eleonora & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Those are the books I'm talking about.

So, what genre are they? If the WWII era is historical, when does the 1970-2000 era become historical? Or perhaps we should simply find a new genre category for those books?

I don't have an answer to this, but I'm really curious to hear your thoughts about it! :)


  1. Interesting question. One that I don't know the answer to but will be following this thread to see others thoughts. Good topic though, Nath!

  2. What I usually say is if it wasn't "present day" when the book was published - it's historical (so the Nora's published in the 1990s set in "present day" are still contemporaries IMHO). But the idea of the 1980s being "historical" makes me feel old! LOL In the case of Rainbow Rowell I'd totally avoid the dithering and just label the book YA ;)

  3. Good question. Maybe nostalgic is a new category? It does feel weird to label it as historical since it wasn't that long ago, but I guess it is technically that.

  4. I'm with Hils on this one. I don't like feeling old either. lol I do like bookminx's idea of labeling those as nostalgic. They don't seem old enough to be considered historicals. If you are going to go with historicals then you might want to break it down further to something like "recent historical". Do you break down your historicals to regency, Victorian, medieval, etc.?

    Interesting question Nath.

  5. Wena - Thanks Wena! :) I think Ames came up with a good answer though... Retro LOL.

    Wendy - That's a good criteria, Wendy. "Present day" makes sense.

    LOL, I had a chat with some other bloggers and Hils had the same reaction as you!! She didn't think the 80s were 'historical' LOL.

    Samantha - While emailing with Ames, I think she came up with the best term: retro romance LOL. I think it sounds good :) And less weird than historical ^_^;

    Leslie - I usually try to breakdown my historicals... but I get confused with the time periods... especially Victorian and regency ^_^; Basically, if it has a lord, it's regency in my mind LOL.

    What do you think of retro? :P

  6. Nath, my first reactions stands! LOL

    After reading the comments, I will go with Leslie: Retro. And, I would begin that with the 1960's because of all the 'cultural upheaval' that went on. The 50's are now being referred to a Mid-Century Retro! LOL! But, the 50's were after WWII, which marks the time when Western society and culture began that slow change… (slow technologically advances and otherwise).

  7. Hilcia - Yeah, I figured LOL.

    It's cool we found a new sub-category :)