Book Genres

Books are categorized by genres, genres are identified by the themes in a plot of a certain book. Each genre is characterized by specific content, style, form, settings, viewpoint, tone, mood etc. 

Some books may contain one or more genres in the plot, they could either be fictional or non-fictional and within these genres there are sub genres.

The purpose of different genres is to fulfill a reader’s expectations.

In this article we get to focus on the most common ones.

Action Adventure– its plot is usually accompanied by exciting action sequences, and physical action. 

The actions are mostly dangerous and challenging, like fights, shoot-outs or intense chases. 

The plot could be about; spying, criminal activities, adventure military related missions or any other action that seems daring and cautious. There are always villains, victims and heroes.

The action genre reader gets to be intrigued with how characters do their best to complete a mission. They experience thrills without personal risk.

Examples; The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, Red Phoenix by Larry Bond.

Adventure– the plot is usually an exciting epic journey as a result of chance that involves risks, obstacles or a quest to discover a treasure. 

The reader gets to feel like he or she is on an exciting adventure. 

Examples; The Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

Anthology- it’s a compiled worka collection of different genres in excerpts or part of a full story or short stories, poems, essays, plays or songs . Could be by different authors or by same author and they often revolve around a common theme. 

The reader gets to enjoy an access to a wide range of literary works on a given theme in one book.

Examples; The Poets Lareate Anthology by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt, Cabana Anthology by Martina Mondadori Satogo, Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 by Ghostly Writers

Biographies and autobiographies

A biography is atrue story of a real person’s life that is written by someone else, the subject person could be dead or alive whereas in an autobiography the author writes his/her own true story on life and experiences. 

Most biographies are of significant people.

The reader are able to know the experiences and achievements of some great people and get to learn from them.

Examples; Einsten: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Growing up by Russell Baker.

Cookbooks- it gives step by step instructions on preparation of meals and cooking. It also suggests a variety of ingredients to be used in specific recipes and diverse ways of cooking. This genre is related to diet books, food and drinks book and nutrition books.

The reader acquires knowledge on a variety of recipes, how to cook different dishes and different methods.

Examples; How to be a domestic goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson, I’m just here for food: Food + Heat = Cooking by Alton Brown.

Christian fiction- this genre inspires people from a Christian’s point of view. The themes are mainly forgiveness, overcoming tough situations, having grace, restoration, and the triumph of good over evil. It encourages Christians to always have faith when confronted by tough situations and challenges and suggests to Christians to turn to prayers and religious systems for support and guidance.

The reader gets to embrace positivity in life.

Examples; Danger in the Shadows by Dee Henderson, The Protector by Dee Henderson, This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti.

Classics- this genre is of books that are accepted as being exemplary, great works of literature throughout the ages. They are mostly older books that retain their fame. Not to be confused with classical literature which refers to the great masterpieces of ancient civilizations like Greek.

Classics are widely taught in schools due to the literary imagination they possess.

The reader gets to read a book that has stood the test of time because of its significance.

Examples; To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

Comic book– this genre is basically told through sequential art, a continuous narrative from start to end or a collection of shorter stories based on a sequence of drawn pictures or designs which are illustrated by very few words either on top or bottom of the pictures or in speech balloons or rectangular panels.

The reader gets to enjoy stories even horrific ones in a beautiful, embellished and cartoonified art.

Examples; Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, Saga by Brian K Vaughn, The Walking Dead: Compendium One by Robert Kirkman.

Crime Fiction- deals with crimes and criminals. It revolves around the investigation and detection of the crime and criminalsIt could be detective, whodunit fiction, a murder mystery, courtroom drama, legal thrillers, police procedural, medical or forensic thriller.

With this genre, the reader gets to feel involved in crime solving.

Examples; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Rector of Veilbye by Steen Steenson Blicher, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.

Drama– It revolves around families and relations with conflicts and the resolutions to these conflicts. They are mainly painful or tragic, the characters express their emotions through dialogue and action. 

Common themes here are alcoholism, drug abuse or addiction, immorality, racism, religion, corruption, violence, power, sexuality etc.

The reader’s different emotions gets to be awakened as he learns of different personalities, backgrounds and how the real world actually is.

Examples; Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Antigone by Sophocles, The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

Fantasy– this genre is set in a fictional world inspired by real world myth and folklore. It revolves around a story with elements that are impossible, for example; talking or extinct animals like dragons or dinosaurs, it also contain magical powers. 

Its realms are either somehow alike to ours or very different from ours. 

The plot insists on heroism against superficially impossible odds with battles that seem impressive and crucial between the forces of good and evil. 

The reader gets to be immersed in a world of magic and spells and so wonders through imaginations.

Examples; A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey.

Folklore and Folktale– tales, myths, legends, songs and proverbs with a message that was handed down orally by real people before they were ever written down.

The message passed on was either a lesson or a moral.

They are of several types; Fables, Mythology, Tall tale, Legend, Fairytale etc. 

Some explain how the world and humans came to be in their present form usually pertaining to the actions of the gods. Some are a stories of a specific figure who is a hero or legends and some have magical elements with characters that include fairies, giants or elves.

Animals or plants may be personified as humans in some of the sub genres.

The reader gets to be entertained with old age stories, understand his roots, culture, history and insights into other people way of life.

Examples; The Lion and The Mouse and The Fox and The Grapes by Aesop, Dona Flor: A Tall Tale about a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart by Pat Mora, Legend by Marie Lu, Cinderella retold and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson.

Horror– this genre induces a feeling of dread, fear and disgust in both the characters and the reader. 

Focuses on the unseen, the unknown, and the strange, its purpose being to explore and expose humanity’s darkest fears.

The reader gets totingle with terror.

Examples; Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, It by Stephen king.

Humor– this book genre is about humorous events, people or jokes, it makes people laugh.

It’s categorized by different tones, different audiences and situations. Ranges from being hyperbolic, witty dialogue to dark humor and sarcastic critiques on faults of the society. It’s entertaining.

The reader gets to laugh amusingly.

Examples; Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, Naked by David Sedaris, I was told there’d be Cake by Sloane Crosley.

Literary realism-this genre portrays ordinary daily experiences as they are in real life and does not exaggerate a story but tells it as truthful as it is. Here are a few of its types, 

Magical- paints a realistic view of the modern world accompanied by magical elements like telepathy. For example, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Social- based on the living conditions and lives of the working class and the poor. For example, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Socialist- exalts the struggles of the proletariat. For example, Cement by Fyodor Gladkov.

Naturalism- revolves around Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and naturalism. For example; A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner.

The reader gets to see representation of familiar things as they are in another point of view.

Memoir– means memory in French, so basically an author writes about his or her memories based on his/her own observation on a specific memorable event(s) in his/her life.

The reader gets to gain insight on how another person deals with challenges and how he /she overcomes it.

ExamplesDon’t You Know There’s a War On? by James Stevenson, Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father.

Poetry-evokes meaning through rhythmic verses, the verses are meant to stimulate thoughts and imaginations that creates emotional responses. It could be lyric, narrative or dramatic poetry.

The reader gets to process visual descriptions, express emotions and feelings. Some poems are therapeutic.

Examples; Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, my Lat Duchess by Robert Browning.

Reference Books- this genre contains more relevant information on a certain subject. It elaborates more on any subject anyone would be interested in.

A reader gets to learn more and expounded on a specific subject.

Examples; Flight: 100 years of Aviation by R.G Grant, Sex Lover’s Book of Lists by Ron Louis.

Romance- love story is the central focus. It stresses on romantic love and relationships that doesn’t run smoothly but with intention of a happy ending. 

The types of romance books varies with age groups and intended audience.

It could be paranormal, erotica, historical, contemporary, regency, romantic suspense, gothic etc.

The reader’s heart flutters as a two people in love find their happy ever after for the risks they took in pursuit of true love.

Examples; Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins, Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin, Fifty shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James.

Satire– it aims to ridicule and shame abuses, shortcomings, idiocies or evils by making fun of a person or an institution, like the government, some individuals, society or corporations so that they can make an improvement. 

Examples; A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Science fiction– focuses on scientific ideas and advanced technological concepts, its story blends the revolutionary technology with scientific facts.

Could revolve around alien invasion, apocalyptic, biopunk, black science, Christian science, eco fiction, gothic science, military science, fantasy, space opera, speculative evolution, trans realism etc.

It is usually set in the future, the past or on other planets.

The reader’s mind gets stimulated with imaginative and futuristic concepts of advanced science and technology.

Examples; The Blazing World, by Margaret Cavendish, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Solaris by Stanislaw Lem.

Self-help– acts as a guide on achieving things. It aims to help a person who is going through something, solve it without relying on others.

Examples; How to win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Om Chanting and Meditation by Amit Ray.

Through books we get to acquire wide sense of knowledge on different areas, we improve our writing, reading and thinking skills and these different book genres gives us a sense of belonging to where we fit, and a sense of awareness and guidance as well as entertainment.  

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