Types of Genres of Literature Every Bibliophile Should Know About

Types of Book Genres

Being a reader, I was always curious about reading the different types of stories. I would never miss a chance to try on different types of genres of literature and believe me, this habit adds on to the reading pleasures.

Like, you cannot eat potato fries forever, in the same way, you cannot read a similar genre of books for eternity. You got to try out on various types of genres in books.

Here is a brief etymology of the word, Genre.

The word genre is derived from the French language which means ‘a kind’.

Definition of Genre in Literature – Literary genres are termed as the classification of literary compositions such as non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Genres are categorized on the basis of literary technique, tone, content, or even length.

The different genres of literature not only bring diversity to your reading habits but also takes you to a whole new world when you read them.

With such a variety of literary genres, you could know the creative art of writing. Furthermore, every time you let yourself dive into the different story genres you expose yourself to live many different lives.

Types of Genres Of Literature

There are different types of genres in literature which is mainly classified in two; Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Types of Book Genres Infographic

Let’s spread the knowledge and share this infographic with your book lover friends!

Genres of Fiction

First of all, we will discuss ‘what is fiction?’.

Fiction is a genre of literature which is broadly referred to the piece of writing derived from the imagination of the author. It is not related to history or facts and is purely a work of story building and creative writing.

In this list of genres, we will be learning several types of fiction book genres.

1. Fantasy

Fantasy is a sub-genre of fiction category. It is mainly the work of the author’s creativity forming mental images in the reader’s mind.

In this type of writing genre, the description of the story setting and the fictional characters are vivid which beautifully ceases the reality.

These are the books which will describe the examples of the genre – The Lords of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis and many others.

2. Fable

Have you ever read a book where animals understand and speak human language?

Those books fall under the category of one of the literary genres, known as Fable.

This genre is about writing the supernatural or extraordinary powers vested in some legendary character. The narration of this type of genre is usually demonstrated with some truth.

Some of the examples of this genre; The Tortoise and The Hare by Aesop, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, etc.

3. Mystery

This genre deals with some suspense and crime which is disclosed at the end of the story. You will always find a bunch of suspects around the crime scene and one detective in the quest of the truth in this genre.

Genres like Crime Thriller and Suspense Thriller are included in the mystery genre of literature.

Agatha Christie is one of the popular and most acclaimed authors of the mystery genre who had written some classic mystery novels.

Other examples of this book genre are Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K Rowling, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, etc.

4. Humor

To me, humor is one of the toughest genres to use in the writings because to make someone laugh is not an easy job.

In this type of genre, the content written is light, fancy, comical, and exciting. As a result of which, this genre of literature is the most entertaining of all genres.

This book genre can be used in all the other genres.

Example; The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, etc.

5. Horror

I would recommend you to read this genre of books in a properly lit room and only in the daylight. Do not forget to check if there is someone under your bed.

Any fictional story which deals with the spine thrilling storytelling is termed as the Horror genre. It gives an overwhelming feeling of pain and shock with its description.

The ‘King of Horror’ Stephen King has written a long list of horror books like It, The Stand, The Dark Tower and 56 other books of the same genre.

6. Science-Fiction

Sci-Fi always fascinates me as a reader because this literary genre reminds me of a fact that science can be a boon as well as bane for the humankind.

This reading genre is a type of modern fantasy. It is written on the potentials of the scientific researches or inventions which can be either actual or imagined by the author.

This genre of writing books into scientific facts and pose some ethical questions regarding current and scientific trends and predictions.

Some of the famous books of the science fiction genre; Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which is also one of the best books to read, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller, a post-apocalypse book and the list goes on.

7. History

This narrative genre takes you back to the earlier times when the event originally happened and the great story is unfolded.

In the history genre, one cannot add up the things based on their imaginations rather, one needs to be well-versed with the knowledge of historical events. There are accurate facts and details related to the story while writing this book genre.

Epics, Mythology, and Folklores are also included in the history genre of books.

Few of the examples of the genre; Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Immortal Life of Henrietta by Rebecca Skloot, etc.

Genres of Non-Fiction

Starting from basics, let me first answer you the query of ‘What is Non-Fiction?’.

Non-Fiction is opposite of fiction genre. Unlike Fiction, there is no imagination inserted in the text. It can also be said as the ‘informational’ material with the facts and pieces of information presented accurately in this writing genre.

Now let’s learn about the nonfiction genres.

1. Biography / Autobiography

I personally like reading biography books as it gives the account of some of the inspirational people and there is so much to learn from them. While Autobiography books are written by oneself about their own life experiences.

This book genre is a literary composition about some influential person’s life journey written by somebody.

Some of the biography books; Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, The Everything Store by Brad Ston, The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel and many others.

2. Essays

The short literary composition by the author to present his/her opinion or point of view to the public.

Sometimes authors compile the written essay in the book, for example, India Positive by Chetan Bhagat who had recently launched this nonfiction book genre.

Other examples of the genre; A room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf, A Collection of Essays by George Orwell, etc.

3. Narrative

Narratives are written in the form of the report of the connected event in either spoken or written form. The narrative can be a tragedy, comedy, romance or satire and in any literary form.

It can be real or imaginary and can be enacted also.

The famous narratives; 1984 by George Orwell, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, etc.

4. Speech

Speech is the form of oral communication by the participants in the various areas of human activity. In this genre of literature, the author can put his views as well as quote someone if needed.

After learning about the type of genres in literature, you should also know about one of the essential knowledge of literature; Types of Literary Forms.

Types of Literary Forms

So, literary forms are like the heart-shaped pan in which you would make that pie and the genre is the batter for the pie. You need to be specific with the size and shape of your pan and according to which you will add your ingredients of the pie.

Literary forms are the structure you would give to your piece of writing. They are the ones which decide the framework and how the content will be organized in the structure.

You need to select the literary form first and then the genre of your piece of writing.

Here are the types of literary forms:

  • Novel – Fiction and Non-Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Prose
  • Drama

Final Words

There is nothing wrong in being loyal to your favorite genre. But reading the same genre on a loop is like drawing a boundary for your reading world.

Maybe you are missing on the fun of reading the great books or maybe you might like books of other book genres more interesting. You would never know this until and unless you start reading the different types of genres.

Furthermore, the perks of reading the different types of genres in books didn’t end here. If you read this aforementioned list of genres then, you will be smarter, less judgemental, and also will improve your writing.

Take an extra step in your reading habit and pick up a new genre book.

Tell us what genre will you dare to pick after reading this list of book genres.


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