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DESCRIPTION OF BOOK GENRES
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Adventure – Books where there is an element of danger and risk. This category often overlaps the others, so that you have a fantasy novel with lots of adventure, or an adventure story with a mystery.
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Drama – The original term ‘drama’ meant stage drama, and was divided into comedy and tragedy – now we use the term to refer to any sort of fiction that … well, that doesn't’t fit into any of the other categories on this page!
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Espionage or Spy Thriller – These are books about spies and international intrigue.
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Fantasy – Stories that contain elements of what was once called ‘fairy tales.’ Fantasy stories deal with magic or supernatural abilities, magical or supernatural beings, or simply ‘what if’ situations such as alternate universes. Fantasy can be further divided into alternate universe, bangsian, celtic, comic, contemporary, dark, folktale, heroic, high, historical, juvenile, medieval, myth, prehistoric, romantic, steampunk, superhero, sword and sorcery, urban, and wuxia.
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Folk Tales, Tall Tales, and Fairy Tales – Folk tales are stories with no known creator. The authors on folk tale books today are retelling stories passed down from one generation to another. Although, folk tales are sometimes based on real historical figures, there are fictional elements to the story. Tall tales are generally folk tales in which the main character is bigger than life in some way such as Paul Bunyan, Mike Fink, Swamp Angel, etc. Fairy tales were often created to teach children behavior in an entertaining way.
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Gothic Fiction, sometimes referred to as Gothic horror. – This was originally just another way of saying ‘horror’ but now the term is used to mean a story that combines romance and horror.
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Historical Fiction – Stories which take place in a particular time period in the past and describes events and characters’ lives. This category often overlaps the others such as historical fantasy and historical romance.
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Horror – These deal with things that frighten us. Horror can be further divided into body-related (disease, mutation, mutilation, etc), holocaust, ghost stories, natural disaster, psychological thriller, and supernatural. In recent decades, Stephen King has become the most well known horror writer.
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Humor or Comedy – Makes us laugh. Comedy can be further divided into burlesque, comedy of manners, farce, parody, satire, and sentimental.
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Mystery – These books contain a crime, puzzle, or confusing situation. Mystery can be further divided into cozy, detective (amateur, hard boiled, private investigator), medical, police procedural, supernatural, and whodunit.
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Myths – Myths are stories that usually explain something about the world and involve gods and other supernatural beings.
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Non-Fiction – Non-fiction works deal with facts and reality. They impart concrete knowledge or offer you new lenses through which to view the world. Non-fictions cover every conceivable subject. Book types include biographies, autobiographies, self-help books, reference books, such as textbooks, and historical texts relating to a specific period or event.
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Poetry – Poetry is verse written to create a response of thought and feeling from the reader, such as emotion. Poems do not have to rhyme. Poetry can be broadly divided into epic, dramatic, lyric, narrative, and satirical. Specific poetry forms include acrostic, canzone, carmina figurata, cinquain, concrete, elegy, fixed verse, free verse, ghazal, haiku, jintishi, minnesang, murabba, ode, pantoum, quatrain, rondeau, ruba’i, sestina, sijo, song, sonnet, stev, tanka, and villanelle.
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Political – Books dealing with the world of politics and the people who work in it.
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Romance – About love. Romance can be broadly divided into category (series) and stand-alone (single title). Romance sub genres include contemporary, erotic, historical, inspirational, multi-cultural, paranormal, romantic suspense, romantic science fiction, and time travel.
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Science Fiction – Stories which include futuristic technology, a blend of scientific fact and fictional elements. Science fiction must have some sort of logical science inherent to the story, or some sort of logical basis for what is going on. Science fiction sub genres include alternate history, apocalyptic, biopunk, cyberpunk, dying planet, gothic, military, pulp, steampunk, time travel, space colonization, space opera, and urban.
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Short Story – Actually, this is not a genre but a length. A work of fiction is called a short story if it has less than 7500 words in it. Short stories can be written in any genre.
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Stream of Consciousness – Also called free-writing, it is unedited and spontaneous ramblings on any topic.
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Tragedy – Stories that make us cry.
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War Fiction – These books are war and the military.
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Western Fiction – These are books about the American Old West. Westerns are usually adventure fiction that is specifically set in this period of US history, usually (but not always) dealing with the western states and Mexico.
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