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Programmes » Read2Lead » Read2LeadGenres

Book genres: What type of books are available to read?

A genre is a broad term that translates from the French to mean 'kind' or 'type’. There are 4 main genres in literature: poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction.

  • Poetry: poetry is written in lines and stanzas instead of sentences and paragraphs.
  • Drama: stories composed in verse or prose, usually for theatrical performance, where conflicts and emotion are expressed through dialogue and action
  • Fiction: “Fiction” refers to literature created from the imagination. Mysteries, science fiction, romance, fantasy, crime thrillers are all fiction genres
  • Non-fiction: Works of nonfiction are all based in real-world experiences. Examples include newspapers, journals, diaries, biographies, autobiographies, and essays.


Below are some of the popular fiction and non-fiction sub-genres
  • Adventure: An adventure story is about a protagonist who journeys to epic or distant places to accomplish something. The protagonist has a mission and faces obstacles to get to their destination.
  • Biographies and autobiographies: A biography contains the details of the life story of a real person, told by someone else; while an autobiography is essentially the same, with the exception that the story is written by the person who is the subject of the story.
  • Comics/Graphic Novel: Scripted fiction told visually in artist drawn pictures, usually in panels and speech bubbles
  • Fantasy: A fantasy story is about magic or supernatural forces.
  • History: A story about a real person or event. Often, they are written in a text book format, which may or may not focus on solely that.
  • Horror: A horror story is told to deliberately scare or frighten the audience, through suspense, violence or shock.
  • Mystery: A mystery story follows an investigator as he/she attempts to solve a puzzle (often a crime). The details and clues are presented as the story continues and the protagonist discovers them and by the end of the story the mystery/puzzle is solved.
  • Reference books: Dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, almanac, atlas, etc
  • Romance: Romance novels are emotion-driven stories that are primarily focused on the relationship between the main characters of the story. Beyond the focus on the relationship, the biggest defining characteristic of the romance genre is that a happy ending is always guaranteed.
  • Satire: In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement. 
  • Science fiction: Science fiction is similar to fantasy, except stories in this genre use scientific understanding to explain the universe that it takes place in. It generally includes or is centred on the presumed effects or ramifications of computers or machines; travel through space, time or alternate universes; alien life-forms; genetic engineering; or other such things.
  • Self-help: Information with the intention of instructing readers on solving personal problems.
  • Thriller: A story that is usually a mix of fear and excitement.




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