Literature is a vast field that encompasses various types of written work.
Literary genres are categories of literary works, which are distinguished by their content, form, and style. Knowing the different literary genres can help you identify the type of book you want to read and appreciate it better.
Do you prefer stories that are historically accurate or fictional?
(historically accurate) Non-fiction is a genre that comprises works that are based on facts and real events. It includes books on self-help, psychology, travelling, science, history, (auto)biography, and memoirs. Non-fiction is meant to inform and educate readers. However, memoirs and (auto)biographies have strong elements of storytelling which differentiate themselves from fiction by being based on real events.
(fictional)Fiction is a genre that includes works of imaginative storytelling. It comprises stories that are entirely created by the author's imagination, these can be presented in the format of novels, short stories, and novellas. The most well-known authors in this genre include William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Wolf, Toni Morrison and JK Rowling (hyperlink to books).
Do you prefer fictional stories that are set in the past?
(Yes!!)Historical Fiction is a genre that takes place in the past and incorporates real events, people, and settings. It often includes a mix of fact and fiction and is used to explore different time periods and cultures. Well-known authors in this genre include Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, F Scott Fitzgerald, James Michener, Ken Follett, Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel and Colson Whitehead.
(Yes!!) The Western genre typically takes place in the American West during the late 19th century. It features cowboys, outlaws, and lawmen and often explores themes of morality, justice, and rugged individualism. In this genre, well-known authors are Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Elmore Leonard, Annie Proulx, Ron Hansen and Tom McGuane.
Do you prefer stories that are fantastical?
(A little bit!) Magical realism is a genre that blends reality and the supernatural. It often includes fantastical or magical elements but is grounded in everyday life and experiences. This genre is closely associated with Latin American authors like Sandra Cisneros, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende. Other well-known authors also include Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, and Alice Hoffman.
(I don’t mind it too much) Speculative Fiction is a genre that explores alternative or imagined realities. It often includes elements of science fiction, fantasy, or horror and can address social and political issues through its imaginative worlds. Famous authors in the genre include HG Wells, George Orwell, JRR Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, and NK Jemisin.
Dystopian Fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction that explores a negative future or imaginary society. It often includes themes of oppression, totalitarianism, and control and can be used to critique contemporary issues. Well known authors in this genre include George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Lois Lowry, Kazuo Ishiguro.
(Absolutely!) Science Fiction often deals with future technologies or societies, time travel, or space exploration, while Fantasy is often characterized by imaginary characters in imaginary universes. The most well-known authors in these 2 genres include HG Wells, JRR Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Ursula K Le Guin, George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman and JK Rowling.
(Yes! The spookier the better) Horror is a genre that aims to scare or shock the reader. It often includes supernatural or paranormal elements, such as ghosts, monsters, or demons. Horror can also be psychological, exploring the fears and anxieties of the human mind. Well-known authors in this genre include Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Dean Koontz, Bram Stoker.
Do you prefer more realistic stories that are plot-based or protagonist-based?
(Protagonist-based about love & life) Romance is a genre that centers around a love story between two or more people. It is often characterized by happy endings and a focus on the romantic relationships between the characters. The most-well known authors in this genre include Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, Jojo Moyes and Sarah Dessen.
(Protagonist-based about personal growth) Bildungsroman is a genre that focuses on the personal growth and development of the protagonist. It often begins with the protagonist's childhood and ends with their coming of age or self-discovery. Well-known authors in this genre include Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, JD Salinger, Harper Lee, John Irving, Isabel Allende and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
(plot-based centered around a detective) Mystery is a genre that revolves around a puzzle or a crime that needs to be solved. It often includes a detective or a protagonist who is trying to solve the mystery. The most well-known authors in this genre include Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly and Gillian Flynn.
(plot-based and thrilling) Thriller is a genre that is more plot-driven and rely on dark, mysterious and suspenseful stories which frequently develop around a kidnapping, disappearance, crime or murder, or mysterious events. Popular authors in this genre include Dan Brown, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, James Patterson, John Grisham, Stieg Larsson, Michael Connelly, Harlan Cobe, and Tom Clancy.