Subgenre specificity made me laugh recently. I noticed a Children’s book listed for “9-year-olds and above.” Why not say 9 1/2 or 10 1/2 and above? With all it’s subgenres, the entire Children’s category has become a quagmire of head fakes. I agree with the need for New Adult as a bridge between Children’s and Adult material. Yet this bridge is currently a really small one (read “vague”). I believe most anyone who’s read NA material will agree. But back to my initial contention, doesn’t Middle Grade cover kids in the middle grades? And don’t people know these age brackets. If this genre and current subgenre micromanagement keeps up, reading delineation will be defined by months and not years.
A time existed, and not in the Dark ages, when books were categorized as either fiction or nonfiction. Genres never became an issue, let alone subgenres. Now the thirst for separation stretches to ridiculous lengths–and beyond. Check out the Writer’s Digest list of Romance genres and subsets. The last I checked, Romance contained more than two-dozen subgenres. A fine editor who recently passed away, Jerry Gross, is credited with two: Goth and Regency. Jerry was a great guy, but did fiction need further “interior” categories?
Mysteries have amassed a huge number of subgenres, and some “titles” are downright silly. Steam-Punk crosses over, as well as most of the other Sci-Fi titles. The old days of Suspense as a genre seem all but gone, as a book needs to fit into a subset for a specific audience. It matters not how esoteric this reading group might be, as what counts is that the market exists. Some will say that the world of letters has stopped somewhere for a brief respite within the forest of subgenres. Perhaps this pausing to create a niche for everything isn’t the best idea.