Have you ever had someone ask you what kind of genres of books you like and draw a blank? Well, I have many times so recently I did some research on the different genres to see what genres the books I read are in. I mean I know some of the genres I like but sometimes I don’t know what genre a book falls under.
I don’t really pay attention to a genre when I pick up a book and read what it is about. If I like the sound of the book, I read it. I do know that I read a lot of inspirational fiction and mystery but I couldn’t figure out what genre some of the other books are in.
I now know that I like cozy mysteries, Christian fiction, some women’s fiction, mystery/detective, thriller and suspense (although not all), contemporary fiction, romantic comedy, and some classics. I also like some historical fiction but not all.
The genres I don’t like as much as science fiction (so sorry dear husband), fantasy (so sorry dear husband, son and friends), non-fiction (with the exception of a few), memoir, and action and adventure (with a few exceptions).
A couple genres which I don’t hate but don’t exactly love, include historical romance and mainstream romance. This is because so many of these books are the same book written over and over.
Historical romance drives me nuts at times because it often oversimplifies and over glorifies times in history that were not simple or worthy of being glorified. It also drives me crazy when someone writes historical fiction in the style of the time period, as if they were in that time period, especially if it is a third person book. If the book was written in 2022 but the author is writing sentences like, “And she did walk upon the frosty morning grass with the air of a newly crowned queen….” I tune out pretty fast.
Genres I don’t like at all: horror, erotica, political, satire, political-satire (if you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of political writing in general), dystopian, paranormal, vampire, young adult, and magical realism.
Thanks to a few different sites, I can help you identity the book genres you like, including some examples of books listed in that genre.
I’m going to list only 10 of the popular genres, their description as I see it, and some of the books in them for the sake of time and space. Some articles online detail more than 30 different genres and then genres under the umbrellas of those genres. I know. Who knew books could be so complicated? I will list those blog posts and articles at the bottom of this blog post.
- Literary Fiction
These books are usually written with deeper prose, more description, and deep plot points. They usually focus on a personal or social issue to be addressed. In my opinion they are a bit over dramatic, but I still enjoy them. As is the case with many genres there are books in this genre which can fit into other genre categories or into a sub-category of this genre. There are also those in the fiction world who break this further into genres like classic literary fiction and contemporary literary fiction.
Some examples of general literary fiction that I know of include Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, anything by Charles Martin (who is also listed in Christian/Religious fiction), Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, and anything by Margaret Atwood.
I consider classic literary fiction a different category altogether.
Other literary fiction authors and books:
2. Romance (including romantic comedy)
I don’t think I really have to explain the romance genre. Most romance goes like this: boy and girl meet, boy and girl hate each other then later they love each other, then they have a misunderstanding and fall away from each other and then something happens to bring them back together and they have a happily ever after ending.
Many romances end with a wedding. There are, of course, romances which are clean and romances which are not-so-clean. There are also sub-genres of romance, such as sweet or wholesome or erotica. There is also inspirational romance or Christian romance.
Example of romance books include anything by Becky Wade, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr, Debbie Macomber, Carolyn Brown, Sarah MacLean, Bethany Turner (clean romantic comedies), and Nicholas Sparks. This definitely is not an exhaustive list so….
For more romance authors:
For Christian/inspirational romance authors:
3. Women’s Fiction
Women’s fiction is not romance. This is fiction about women but it doesn’t usually involve a romance or if it does, the romance is secondary. To me, women’s fiction is often focused on deeper thoughts and situations that face the female protagonist, and during the book she works through those various issues.
Examples of women’s fiction authors that I found online include Kristin Hannah, Colleen Hoover, Mary Kay Andrews, Lisa Wingate, Karen White, Jodi Picoult, and Karen Kingsbury.
For more women’s fiction authors:
Mystery is what it sounds like. They are books that include a mystery of some kind whether they are being investigated by a professional or not. The protagonist is the one investigating the mystery.
There are a couple other genres that I think are offshoots to this one – suspense and thrillers which usually have a mystery in them as well. And of course cozy mysteries, which I personally read a lot of.
Detective obviously means the protagonist is a detective of some kind, either a private one or with law enforcement.
There is old detective/crime/ mystery like Raymond Chadler, Earl Stanley Gardner, Donald Westlake, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the queen Agatha Christie. Then there is the new stuff like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, The Walt Longmire Mysteries, John Grisham, Michael Connelly’s Bosch series, C.J. Box, and Robert Gailbrith just to name a few.
Some sites list Stephen King in mystery and some put him in thriller. I consider him horror-thriller so I’ll list him below under horror too.
For cozy mysteries I have enjoyed Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series, the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross (these are super cozy with not even murder in them most of the tienand the Lady Hardcastle series. Cozy mysteries are often written as series. There is also the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton, which the show was based on. I am sure the beginning of the series is okay but the later books are absolutely awful. Maybe because they were trying to capitalize off the success of the show and pushed the elderly writer to try to write more. I don’t know but I’m glad I picked it up on clearance.
Here is a little more info on mystery authors:
Here is a whole site about Cozy Mystery books and writers:
Fantasy is another one of those broad genres that can include other genres (like dystopian fantasy or magical fantasy) but mainly it focuses on books about fantastical worlds with dragons and warlocks and wizards, etc. There are also often fantastical monarchies and other crazy creatures, as well as humans.
Fantasy authors include Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling (who also falls into child or young adult books), Terry Pratchett, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, C.S. Lewis (who is also a theological and children’s book author), and Katherine Arden. Again — a very short list in a hugely popular genre.
6. Science Fiction
Most people think of Science Fiction as books or movies that are usually about other planets or stories which take place in space. The genre is much broader than that, however. According to the site, Famous Authors, “The world of sci-fi is a unique experience as, unlike other genres, it allows for an author to take their imagination to new limits and thus provide a surreal experience for their readers.”
Time travel books fall under this genre, in addition to books that take place in space. Some famous authors in this genre are H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Mary Shelly, Isaac Asimov. Modern writers of this genre include Ann Leckie, Martha Wells, Tamysn Muir, and Charles Stross. Personally, I’ve never heard of any of them.
Classic literature is usually considered (or at least by me) books written more than 40 years ago. Articles online state that classic literature must be anything that has universal appeal, has “high artistic quality”, and stands the test of time. Which authors should be included in this category seems to create debates and controversy online.
When I think of classics I think first about the Victorian age authors like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, George Elliott, Edgar Allen Poe, L.M. Montgomery, and Leo Tolstoy, for example. Then I go on to Mark Twain, William Faulkner (good grief! His run-ons!), Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee (even though she only wrote one book), William Golding, and George Orwell.
Find a ton more classics here:
Horror to me are stories of the macabre, the grotesque, plenty of violence and gore, but in the early days they were simply novels or stories which instilled fear in the reader.
Some classic horror writers include Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe (who can also go to the classic genre, as I mentioned), Mary Shelly, and Franz Kafka.
More modern horror writers include Stephen King (considered the king of the genre), Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), Jonathan Maberry, Mylo Carbia, and Clive Barker. Neil Gaiman is put into this category by some, but I always thought he was more fantasy. I guess I’ll have to ask The Husband his opinion this one since he is a huge Gaiman fan. (Update, he says he doesn’t consider his work horror. He considers it fantasy/science fiction. See?! Genres are so complicated! Another combined set of genres. Sigh)
For more horror authors click here:
9. Historical Fiction
Historical Fiction is what it sounds like. It’s fiction either based on a historical event, person or time period.
Some Historical Fiction authors include Hilary Mantel, Graham Greene, Ken Follet, Philippa Gregory, Sarah Waters, Sarah Sundin, Lynn Austin, Bodie and Brock Thoene, Kate Alcott, and Bernard Cornwall.
Here are a couple of sites with some author Historical Fiction authors:
10. Christian Fiction
Christian Fiction is a genre in itself but under this genre are many of the other genres, even horror (I know..what?!).
Popular Christian Fiction authors include Karen Kingsbury (general and women’s fiction), Tessa Afshar (Biblical fiction), Becky Wade (romance), James L. Rubart (science fiction/supernatural), Frank Peretti (supernatural/horror), Ted Dekker (fantasy, suspense, thriller, youth, mind benders), Francine Rivers (romance, Biblical and women’s fiction), Terri Blackstock (suspense, mystery), Bethany Turner (romantic comedies), Robin W. Pearson (southern fiction), Jerry B. Jenkins (suspense, mystery and a variety of other genres), Lynn Austin (historical fiction), Sarah Sundin (historical fiction), Susan May Warren (suspense, romance), and Jan Karon (general/Southern fiction). There are soo many Christian Fiction authors.
Click here for a more thorough list (though, of course, not comprehensive):
And for a couple of posts about the many variety of genres and what books are in them:
So what genres of books are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!
10 thoughts on “Which genre are your favorite books in?”
Lisa, I appreciate how you have broken down several genres with notable authors. Some of my favorites include:
Nonfiction (Numerous history and biographies)
Christian (Oswald Chambers and Max Lucado)
Classic (Ernest Hemingway and Harper Lee)
Historical Fiction (Gore Vidal’s Lincoln)
Mystery/Thriller (David Baldacci)
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You and I have the same taste in reading genres and all of the ones you really dislike, so do I. Once I applied for a part-time job in a public library and in an interview got asked that question about what genres of books I read. I stumbled around with an answer because I hadn’t really thought about it before.
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I have done the same thing when asked but now I am getting better at it! Our local libraries have gone political these days so I probably won’t work at one but just in case — I’m ready! 😂
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I didn’t work at that library either. Instead I opted to substitute teach at a private Christian school. Then I retired and am glad I did!
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That’s so awesome 🙌🏻
Hmm. I like…literary fiction, classics, mystery/thriller, horror, fantasy, magical realism, some non-fiction (nature/science/true crime), paranormal/supernatural. Middle grade and young adult too. I am not a super fan of romance, historical fiction, comedic books, political books. Memoirs and biographies, science fiction, I am not a fan of those either usually. I think we like what the other doesn’t! LOL.
I used to be a huge King fan! I read every single one up until Wyatt was born, then for some reason never picked up another one. I agree with your husband, I don’t feel Gaiman is horror either.
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We like some of the same books. I hesitated saying I don’t like some of those genres because I actually have tried a couple in fantasy and magical that I liked okay. They just aren’t my favorite. Maybe I just haven’t found the right writer yet.
I do like some Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It’s just not the genre I read in the most I guess.
Yeah – I was confused by that Gaiman inclusion on a horror site.
I have read short stories by King but not books. The Husband had a bunch of his books so he’s a fan but hasn’t read him in a bit, I think.
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I think we are all like that, read all over the genres even though there are some that are not our preference. I mean, I do read in the genres I mentioned I’m not a fan of, I’m just pickier about them. Lolol. Like I hate romances that have a billionaire or a rock star as a main character. Or books that take place around WW2. But set a romance in the country, I’m there. Lol.
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Yeah – yuck on the billionaire or rock star stuff. Over it. Just no thank you. I’ve ready some World War II stuff but I find them very depressing and over done.
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