List of Book Types or Genres

Do you have a favorite type of book, either fiction or nonfiction? Are you thinking about branching out and enjoying a new genre? If so, a list of book types or genres can help you choose what to read next. See if any of the below subtypes catch your eye.

List of Book Types or Genres List of Book Types or Genres
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Two Different Types of Books

All books are classified as either fiction or nonfiction. Within these two types of books, you’ll find dozens of more specific types, or genres.

Nonfiction Books

Nonfiction books contain factual information, such as biographies and history books.

Examples of nonfiction books include:

  • Most biographies are nonfiction. We say "most" biographies, because a biography of a fictional character is really a fictional book.
  • The Diary of Anne Frank is nonfiction and a journal, making it a nonfiction journal.
  • Most Dictionaries and encyclopedias are nonfiction because they contain facts about words.
  • Travel books such as an atlas are nonfiction.
  • “How to” books that teach real skills, like the classic Betty Crocker Cookbook are considered factual.

Fiction Books

Fiction books contain a story that the author made up, such as romance or children's books. The most commonly read works are works of fiction. Perhaps some of their elements are based on hints of truth, but they have been elaborated, fabricated, and used to embellish into a new story.

Some examples of classic fiction books are :

  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

List of Book Genres

The two types of books can be further divided into many different subtypes, called genres. Here are some of the different genres and types of books available today.

Fiction

Nonfiction

Action and adventure

Art/architecture

Alternate history

Autobiography

Anthology

Biography

Chick lit

Business/economics

Children's

Crafts/hobbies

Classic

Cookbook

Comic book

Diary

Coming-of-age

Dictionary

Crime

Encyclopedia

Drama

Guide

Fairytale

Health/fitness

Fantasy

History

Graphic novel

Home and garden

Historical fiction

Humor

Horror

Journal

Mystery

Math

Paranormal romance

Memoir

Picture book

Philosophy

Poetry

Prayer

Political thriller

Religion, spirituality, and new age

Romance

Textbook

Satire

True crime

Science fiction

Review

Short story

Science

Suspense

Self help

Thriller

Sports and leisure

Western

Travel

Young adult

True crime

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Popular Nonfiction Book Genres Explained

Adult and children’s nonfiction genres are more popular than you might imagine. These are five of the most popular nonfiction genres according to book sales.

Food

Nonfiction food books include cookbooks, but more modern food books encompass everything from specific cooking elements and ingredients to specialized diets. You’ll find classic cookbooks with recipes and books that are part memoir/autobiography and part cookbook. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child is an example of a popular food book.

History

Nonfiction history books include any books that lay out the known facts about a particular, time, culture, or event in history. Killing England by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard is an example of a popular history book.

Memoir

Memoirs are one type of autobiography. In this type of book, the author puts emphasis on specific moments or events that brought about specific life lessons. A popular example of a memoir is Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Politics

Political nonfiction books can include books written by career politicians, books that explore political systems, or books that discuss the politics of a certain period. A Promised Land by Barack Obama is an example of political nonfiction.

Self-Help

Self-help books aim to aid the reader in improving some part of her life. Common topics covered by self-help books include relationships, finances, and mental health. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is a classic example of a popular self-help book.

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Popular Fiction Book Genres Explained

Most adult fiction is categorized as general fiction, while a large portion of children’s books are classified as fiction. The popularity of genres changes over time, but these genres rarely lose popularity.

Young Adult

Young adult fiction is written for readers ages 12 to 18. They incorporate the typical reading level and worldview of tweens and teens in this age group. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is an example of popular young adult fiction.

Children’s Books

Children’s fiction is often called children’s literature or juvenile fiction. Books in this genre are written with readers under the age of 12 in mind. Types of children’s books include picture books and chapter books. Classic Dr. Seuss books like Green Eggs and Ham are examples of children’s fiction.

Crime Thriller

Thrillers are suspenseful stories, which makes a crime thriller a book that has a crime as its main subject while keeping readers on edge. The main characters are often fighting for justice. John Grisham is a well-known crime thriller author.

Literary Fiction

If a work of fiction doesn’t fit into any of the other available genres, it can be labeled as literary fiction. These books are usually character-driven and introspective. They are sometimes called serious fiction because of their tone. Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat is an example of literary fiction.

Science Fiction

Also known as Sci-Fi, science fiction deals with the imagined future in terms of science or technology advances. This genre includes things like time travel, outer space, and intelligent life. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is a classic example of science fiction.

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Explore Different Book Types or Books

Now that you know more about the different types of genres, you can continue exploring other works of fiction and nonfiction. You may even find a new favorite! If you can’t choose one favorite genre to read, consider reading short stories or an anthology. You might even want to crack open a novella or crack up at some book puns.