Defining Genres

Fiction:

Action: spy novels, adventure stories, “cloak and dagger” mysteries.

Adult: anything that includes graphic sexual content, violence, or language. Usually centered around a protagonist older than their 20s who is facing obstacles that are of a more adult nature such as marriage and having children.

Adventure: an event or series of events occurs that draws the protagonist away from their ordinary life.

Aliens: a main character is an alien or it is a main theme of the novel.

Angels: a major character is an angel or they are a main theme of the book.

Animals: told from the point-of-view of an animal.

Apocalyptic: an apocalyptic event occurs during the plot.

Artificial Intelligence: a subgenre of science fiction focusing on the ethical dilemmas of artificial intelligence

BDSM: bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism, submission, dominance, or another kink are a part of the plot.

Chicklit: consists of heroine-centered narratives focusing on obstacles within the character’s own life.

Children’s: the protagonist is younger than sixteen at the start of the narrative and it centers around younger themes.

Christian: books that are centered around Christian beliefs and values.

Christian Romance: romances that are centered around Christian beliefs and values.

Classics: novels that are studied as literature.

Comedy: stories that are intended to be humorous

Coming of Age: heroine-centered narrative in the young adult age range.

Contemporary: setting of story is modern day.

Contemporary Romance: romances set in the modern day.

Crime: a narrative that involves crimes including detective stories, murder mysteries, and police novels

Cultural: has themes of learning about a culture either of the main character or where the main character learns about another culture.

Cyberpunk: a subgenre of Science Fiction featuring countercultural antiheroes trapped in a dehumanized, high-tech future

Dark Academia: stories that are in a school setting featuring secret societies, mystery, and other somewhat harrowing circumstances

Dark Romance: a sub-genre of romance that usually contains dubious or outright cruel treatment of the protagonist by their love interest which can include kidnapping, entrapment, abuse, dubious or outright lack of consent. An important highlight is that this is fiction and while its themes are controversial, it is up to each individual reader to decide whether they are interested.

Death: books centering around the ideas or mythology of death as a central theme. This is different from the “Trigger Warning” label for Death which can also be seen in the Airtable view of my library in which any death that occurs at any point results in it being noted.

Demons: a major character is a demon or they are a main theme of the book.

Disabled Author: the author of the novel is a member of the disabled community.

Disabled Character: a main character is disabled or it is a main theme of the novel.

Disabled Protagonist: the protagonist of the story is disabled.

Dragons: a main character is a dragon or it is a main theme of the novel.

Drama: character or characters are in conflict at a crucial moment, often revolving around family or romantic relationships.

Dying Earth: a subgenre of science fiction that focuses on the impacts of climate change as an apocalyptic cataclysm

Dystopia: explores social and political structures, a portrayal of a society that conflicts with the protagonist’s moral values.

Edwardian Era: a subgenre of historical fiction set between 1901 and 1914.

Elves: a major character is an elf or they are a main theme of the book.

Epic Fantasy: a subgenre of fantasy. This genre of fantasy shares many elements with the subgenre of fantasy, “High Fantasy,” in that it takes place in a world other than Earth and has paranormal or magical elements. It also hinges on the traditional fantasy book tropes of a Chosen One hero, Fate of the World, and Good versus Evil, though not all of them need to be present at once.

Erotica: graphic sexual content that is a main theme.

Fae: a major character is a fairy or fae creature or they are a main theme of the book.

Fairy Tales: stories about magical or imaginary creatures or lands that are usually also classic literature and retellings are often based on these original fairy tales.

Fantasy: novels featuring magical or supernatural elements that do not exist in the real world.

Feminist: literature which supports the feminist goals of defining, establishing, and defending the equal civil, political, economic, and social rights of women.

Futuristic: at the time of writing the novel depicted inventions that did not exist.

Ghosts: a main character is a ghost or it is a main theme of the novel.

Gilded Age: a subgenre of historical fiction set between 1870 and 1900 specifically in the United States of America and was an era of rapid economic growth.

Gods: a major character is a god or they are a main theme of the book.

Gothic: classic literature, usually from the 20th-century, that fills the reader with dread. This literature is not necessarily written to cause fear and doesn’t feature gore.

High Fantasy: magical or supernatural elements in an imagined world.

Historical: the setting takes place in a specific time period in the past.

Historical Romance: a romantic relationship that takes place in the past during a historically significant event.

Holocaust: a subgenre of historical fiction set between 1939 and 1941 specifically centering around the events of the holocaust.

Horror: intended to frighten readers.

Inspirational: stories that are written to uplift and inspire the reader. Typically faith-based fiction.

LGBTQ+ Author: the author of the novel is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ Character: a major character is a member of the LGBTQ+ community or it is a main theme of the book.

LGBTQ+ Protagonist: the protagonist is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Low Fantasy: magical or supernatural elements are written into our world.

Magic: a main character has magical abilities or they are a major theme.

Medical: a major theme of the novel is depictions of medicine throughout history or in a futuristic or fantastical sense.

Medieval: a subgenre of historical fiction that takes place in medieval times

Mermaids: a major character is a mermaid or they are a main theme of the book.

Military: a main character is in the military or is a military veteran

Military Romance: a main character is or was in the military and the book centers around their romantic relationship.

Monsters: a major character is a monster or they are a main theme of the book.

Music: a main theme is music or a character’s musical abilities.

Mystery: follows a crime from the moment it is committed to the moment it is solved.

Mythology: is inspired by or includes elements of myth, legend, folklore, and fairy tales.

New Adult: Features a protagonist that is an adult in their early to mid 20’s. Can and is likely to contain adult content including explicit language, violence, or sex.

Novella: tells stories that are related to main novels but does not have its own distinct plot.

Own Voices Author: the author belongs to a minority which they depict in their novel.

Paranormal: features characters or creatures who are vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies, aliens, monsters, ghosts, or otherwise or phenomena such as time travel.

Paranormal Romance: depicts a relationship between one or more main characters that are paranormal or phenomena that is paranormal brings the characters together and the plot depicts their relationship with each other as a major theme.

Philosophy: books from this genre tend to debate the fundamental nature of knowledge, existence, and reality and the ethics therein.

Pirates: a major character is a pirate or they are a main theme of the book.

POC Author: the author is a person of color.

POC Character: a main character is a person of color or it is a main theme of the novel.

POC Protagonist: the protagonist is a person of color.

Poetry: literary work in which the focus is on the expression of feelings and ideas through a rhythmic style

Politics: a main theme centered around politics exists.

Polyamorous: the main character has a relationship with more than one partner at once.

Post Apocalyptic: the book takes place after an apocalyptic event.

Race: books centering around race as a central theme.

Realistic Fiction: the events could happen to a real person in a real place

Regency Era: a subgenre of historical fiction set between 1811-1820.

Retellings: a classic story, legend, or mythology is rewritten.

Reverse Harem: a woman has a relationship with more than one partner at once.

Romance: a main theme is the romantic relationship between two or more main characters.

Science Fiction: typically deals with imaginative or futuristic ideas that explore social transformations through imagined elements that could become real in the future.

Self Help: stories that are written with the intention of instructing the reader on solving personal issues.

Shapeshifters: a major character is a shapeshifter or they are a main theme of the book.

Short Stories: has its own independent plot but is shorter than a novel.

Slasher: stories that feature male serial killers, or other psychopaths, as an antagonist.

Space: takes place in space for some or all of the plot. Often a subgenre of science fiction or fantasy.

Space Opera: features warfare that occurs in space. Often a subgenre of science fiction or fantasy.

Spirituality: typically involve journeys of finding and believing in something greater than one’s self and becoming linked with that thing.

Steampunk: a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates retrofuturistic technology and aesthetics inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered technology.

Superheroes: a major character is a superhero or they are a main theme of the book.

Supernatural: features characters or creatures who are vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies, aliens, monsters, ghosts, and otherwise, or phenomena such as time travel.

Suspense: anxiety is developed from an unpredictable mystery that keeps the reader on edge.

Thriller: dark, and suspenseful plot-driven stories

Time Travel: one or more characters move through time or it is a main theme of the book.

Urban Fantasy: magical or supernatural elements are written into our world.

Vampires: a major character is a vampire or they are a main theme of the book.

Victorian: a subgenre of historical fiction set between 1837 and 1901.

War: a part of the plot centers on warfare or strategy with the main character playing a role.

Werewolves: a major character is a werewolf or they are a main theme of the book.

Western: a major character is a cowboy or they are a main theme of the book or the book takes place on the western frontier in the old west.

Witches: a major character is a witch or they are a main theme of the book.

World War 1: a subgenre of historical fiction set between July 28, 1914, and November 11, 1918, specifically focusing on the war.

World War 2: a subgenre of historical fiction set between September 1, 1939, and September 2, 1945, specifically focusing on the war.

Young Adult: the main protagonist is in their teens.

Zombies: a major character is a zombie or they are a main theme of the book.


Nonfiction:

Adult: anything that includes graphic sexual content, violence, or language. Usually centered around a protagonist older than their 20s.

African History: the setting of the events is in Africa.

American History: the setting of the events is in the United States of America.

Antarctica History: the setting of the events is in Antarctica.

Anthropology: books centering around the study of human societies, cultures, and their development.

Archaeology: book centering around the study of human history through the analysis of artifacts and human remains.

Art: book centering around the study of creative expression.

Asian History: the setting of the events is in Asia.

Asian Studies: book centering around the study of Asian culture, language, history, and politics

Autobiography: a reflection of the author’s real-life story.

BDSM: writing that is about BDSM or features BDSM as a major theme

Biography/Memoir: a reflection of someone’s real-life story.

Biology: books centering around the study of living organisms

Brazil History: the setting of the events is in Brazil.

Business: written about the management, running, and financial aspects of a business

Chemistry: books centering around the study of chemicals and chemical reactions

Classics: has withstood the test of time and is taught as literature.

Cold War: setting of the book is during the Cold War.

Comedy: stories that are intended to be humorous

Contemporary: stories that could happen to real people in real places with characters coming to understand themselves.

Contemporary Romance: romances set at the time of the writing that could happen to real people and real places with themes of coming to understand themselves and their significant other through their relationship.

Cults: books centering around the social enigma where a group of people worships a certain leader or set of beliefs to an extreme degree.

Cultural: explores the elements of a culture.

Disabled Author: the author of the novel is a member of the disabled community

Disabled Character: a main character is disabled or it is a main theme of the novel.

Disabled Protagonist: the protagonist of the story is disabled.

Economics: focusing on issues around wealth in a country or the world.

Education: books that are intended to teach such as self-help books or that focus on issues around education in a country or the world.

Edwardian Era: setting of the book is during the Edwardian Era which took place between 1901 and 1910.

Environment: focusing on issues around the environment in a country or the world.

Essays: a short piece of writing on a particular subject

European History: the setting of the events is in Europe

Feminist: literature which supports the feminist goals of defining, establishing, and defending the equal civil, political, economic, and social rights of women.

Finance: books centering around advice on how to spend and save money.

Food and Drink: discusses food and drink as a main theme.

Geography: books centering around the study of the way the globe is divided between distinct populations of people.

Gilded Age: the book takes place during the Gilded Age which took place between 1870 and 1900 specifically in the United States of America and was an era of rapid economic growth..

Health: a main theme is how to improve one’s health or why we are unhealthy.

Historical: things that could happen to real people in real places in the past.

Horror: intended to frighten readers.

Humanities: books about anthropology, archaeology, art, geography, history, languages, law, literature, philosophy, and politics.

Indonesian History: the setting of the events is in Indonesia

Language: a central theme is learning how to speak languages or about linguistics in general.

Law: books centering around the system of rules used to govern humans.

Leadership: discusses how to be a leader, themes of leadership, or the dynamics of leadership which often includes corruption and manipulation.

LGBTQ+ Author: the author of the novel is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ Character: a main character is a member of the LGBTQ+ community or it is a main theme of the novel.

LGBTQ+ Protagonist: the protagonist of the story is LGBTQ+ community.