Books, Books, Books
Since they appear on the first page of the blog each week, you know I review books on a regular basis. Typically, I share 2 book reviews each week. Thus far, they have all been romance novels – primarily romantic comedies, contemporary romances or historical romances. I have enjoyed the romance genre in general since the first Harlequin novels I borrowed from the spinning wire racks at the Waldjnger Library in Valley Stream.
But if romance is not your thing, be assured I am well aware there are a lot of other types of books out there … and I read many of those as well. When my blog expands in a few months, I will be sharing reviews of other types of books on a regular basis. Before then, I will share those types of reviews periodically.
So today I’d like to take a few minutes to break down some of the types of books that are not primarily of the romance genre. I will at times review books from all these styles once my blog expansion is in effect.
For all types of books, you may have noticed that I very rarely share a book review that ranks below a 4 out of 5. From me, if a book ranks a 3, 4 or 5 then in my humble opinion it is worth reading – reading a book is an investment of money and time, and your attention. All of those things are valuable. If a book earns a 2 or 1 or DNF (did not finish) then again, in my opinion, you would be better off spending your resources elsewhere.
Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the popular book types. It is a rough list and not every book will fit perfectly into just one neat category:
Action / Adventure
Action / adventure books are just how they sound – the plot lines are intended to keep you on the edge of your seat. The main character repeatedly finds themself in high tension situations. There is a goal to be achieved or a challenge to be conquered. Pursuit of that goal or challenge consistently put the main character in risky and intense situations. These types of books have a lot of crossover with other types such as mystery, fantasy, crime, and science fiction.
Biographies / Autobiographies / Memoirs
These books are official accounts of the details and events of a person’s life. A biography is written by a person who is not the individual about whom the book is written. If it is an authorized biography, the person who is the subject of the book has given approval for it to be written and may have cooperated in providing details or answers to the author. In an unauthorized biography, then there will have been no cooperation by the subject of the book, and no approval given for it production. An autobiography is written by the subject themselves, often with the assistance of a professional writer or editor.
Memoirs are a more flexible type of autobiography that usually doesn’t have a detailed chronology of the writer’s life. Instead, they focus on key moments and scenes that communicate a specific message or lesson to the reader about the author.
Black Authors / Minority Authors / Diversity
This category is extremely self-explanatory. The book industry has the power to shape culture in big and small ways. There is an ever increasing push for diversity in literature. Readers of all backgrounds want to see themselves in books, and the publishing industry has not usually reflected the diversity of the United States.
Diversity in literature goes beyond ethnicity. Diversity in books now includes various facets of ethnicity, sexuality and gender, culture, body type and societal groups. Increasingly, characters in books we read reflect others or ourselves.
Charlotte Bronte. Charles Dickens. Jane Austen. The classics have been around for decades, sometimes for centuries. When initially published, many pushed the envelope or broke new ground in terms of story and style. They continue to resonate and to be published today. 2 of my children have summer reading assignments this year that include Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I think they were not surprised when I said it was great. I also think one of them rolled their eyes at me, but I refrained from commenting.
Comic Books / Graphic Novels
Some people really don’t consider comic books or graphic novels to be ‘real’ books. Are they books in the traditional sense? Of course not. They do present their stories by means of engaging illustrations, artwork and typography. Instead of typewritten lines of text, dialogue is often shown in word or thought ‘balloons’ next to the characters.
In this type of book, the plot is always centered on or around a crime of sort. The main character must either solve the case, or prevent the crime from happening. When I was growing up, I remember the nightstand in my grandmother’s bedroom was always piled high with mystery novels, her reading glasses, and a yellow box of Mallomars.
Essays are usually published in a group as a collection. They can all be written by one author, or maybe penned by multiple authors and sent it around a particular theme.
Fantasy books are generally set in a mythical sort of world, and contain elements of magic, sorcery, mythology, or the supernatural as key elements.
I am not referring to history textbook that you would find in school. This type of history books focus on particular events or moments that have had some significance for the world or its populations.
I first really developed an interest in this type of book many years ago when I worked in the evening in a telemarketing department for Doubleday, a book publisher. We would call people who used to have a book club membership and encourage them to join again. I already had a good deal of knowledge and interest in history; and even as a part time employee I was able to attend book sales for that were occasionally held for employees. My knowledge of history grew, as did my rapport with members of the book club that catered to military history – definitely a win-win situation.
Books in this category are written with the intent to cause fear and goosebumps for the characters and the readers. Horror writers often use supernatural and paranormal elements. Their morbid stories can be too realistic, which makes them even scarier.
This can be a broad category that includes many others, but literary fiction refers to the artistic writing style of the author, utilized to explores any facet of the human condition. Typically, it is regarded as having more literary merit than regular genre fiction, especially the most commercially oriented types. Prose in this category is meant to inspire deep thought through stories that give personal or social commentary on a particular theme.
Poetry is really a form of written art and expression. Authors choose a particular rhythm and style to convey various emotions and ideas, then bring them out in other people. Every song lyric is really some type of poetry.
The message in a poem can be simple and clear, or the meaning may be hidden behind ‘the words. I read somewhere that there are 50 types of poetry. I think the most familiar are: Verse with iambic pentameter, rhymed poetry, sonnets, haiku, free verse, narrative poetry, epics, elegies, odes, limericks and ballads.
Science Fiction (Sci-Fi)
Science fiction books and fantasy books often have a lot in common, and sometimes they are hard to tell apart. A distinguishing aspect of science fiction stories is that they heavily use themes of technology, artificial intelligence and science of the future. There are apocalyptic and dystopian novels in this type as well.
Books in this category may focus on relationships, emotional well-being, health, finances, appearance, career, a life or spirituality and enlightenment. Although they can focus on endless different subjects, self-help books focus on encouraging personal improvement and increased confidence.
Suspense and Thrillers
These books have a lot in common with mystery books, but they typically have the main character try to stop and defeat the villain to save their own life, instead of uncovering or solving a specific crime. Suspense and thrillers typically include cliffhangers and deception to increase the level of suspense.
True crime books recount and examine actual crimes and events in tremendous detail. Many of them focus on infamous murders, kidnappings, and crimes committed by serial killers.
This is a category that can include a lot of others. Women’s Fiction is written specifically to target female readers. It’s subject matter frequently reflects the shared experiences of being a woman in society, and the personal growth of female lead characters.
Young Adult (YA)
Young adult fiction is written for readers from 12 to 18 years of age. While the genre is targeted to teenagers, statistics show that almost half of YA readers are adults. Young adult fiction was developed to soften the transition between children’s novels and adult literature. You will never find explicit scenes in this category.
The subject matter and genres of YA correlate with the age and experience of the lead characters. The genres available in YA are pretty extensive, and include most of those found in adult fiction. Common themes related to YA include friendship, first love, relationships, and self-identity. Stories that focus on the specific challenges of youth are sometimes referred to as coming-of-age novels.
Finding the books you want
When you visit the library, don’t be afraid to ask a librarian for help, no matter what you are seeking. Trust me, you are not the first one looking for whatever it is you are looking for! In a bookstore? Again, if you can’t find what you want, don’t be shy. Don’t feel bad about wandering around and looking at what’s available.
If you use an online bookseller, the search engine within the website can guide you very nicely. And if you ever want me to give you a recommendation, just send me an email or a message through Instagram or Facebook. I always reply!