Book Genres

Discovering Your Favorite Genre

Books and other publications are grouped into types or genres. There are two main ways to categorize books—because books are either true or not true. Books or stories that are made up (even if they could be true) are fiction. Books or stories that are true are nonfiction.

Both fiction and nonfiction books can be divided into genres. Explore the list below to determine which genre best fits your interests.

Fiction Books

Science Fiction and Fantasy Genre: If you like futuristic stories, tales about robots or alien creatures taking over the earth, vampire stories, and techno-thrillers, you might be a science fiction fan. Teen fantasy stories are like mature fairy tales; they offer readers a chance to let their imaginations go wild.

Classics of Literature Genre: Classic literature sometimes refers to literature that was written in ancient Greece or Rome, but you’ll also hear the term classic literature referring to books that have proven over time to be one-of-a-kind special. Classic books stand out because they are so expertly written that they represent an entire style or period. Classic literature tends to make you think and to be emotionally poignant. Classic works include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Count of Monte Christo, Gone With the Wind, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Old Man and the Sea, and Robinson Crusoe.

Realistic Fiction: Realistic fiction is pretty self-explanatory: it refers to stories that aren’t true, but could be. There is an element of everyday life in realistic fiction, whether it is the people, the places, or the events that happen in the stories that reflect real life situations. Realistic fiction isn’t dull; on the contrary, it demonstrates that real life is full of drama.

Historical Fiction Genre: Some people think history class is boring, so they find it strange to discover that they absolutely love to read stories that take place in a historical setting. Sound familiar? Don’t be surprised if you love historical fiction. It allows you as a reader to become immersed in the drama and mystique of another time and place. This is a far cry from memorizing dates and names!

Nonfiction Books

History Books: There are many great books written about dramatic, amazing true events in history. Many of these involve acts of incredible heroism, like Buffalo Soldiers: The True Story of Our Country's First Black War Heroes (1996). Not all history books are about war, however. If you think history is boring, check out Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece or Strange Histories: The Trial of the Pig, the Walking Dead, and Other Matters of Fact from the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds.

Science: Some books show that science is often stranger and more interesting than fiction. Some inquisitive readers like to know how and why things work, and fortunately, there are entertaining science books to explain just about everything. If you like science but you don’t enjoy the textbook explanations, try Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time.

How-To Books: Curious types enjoy reading how to do things that they may or may not ever need to do in real life. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook is a good example of a how-to book that you might want to read for sheer enjoyment. On the other hand, you may enjoy reading how-to books to explore new hobbies and learn new skills.

Self-Help and Self-Improvement Books: It’s not easy being teens, and there are lots of guide books out there to help teenagers deal with the unique challenges they face. For those who simply feel like they live an uninteresting existence, there are books that help us overcome the ho-hums, like How to Live An Exotic Life in an Ordinary World.