Last Updated on April 19, 2022
Reading is magical! I can’t talk enough about how magical reading is. I discovered the beauty and magic of books pretty early in life. I was seven when I started to read, and I immersed myself in this world of words, and I have never looked back. So, because I have this history of reading, I can comfortably attest to the awesomeness of each genre that you can read. Like everyone else, I have a genre that I am drawn to, but I consider myself polyamorous when it comes to books.
So you want to start reading, to disprove the harmful and racist stereotype of Africans not reading. When it comes to reading, you have to keep an open mind. There will be books that do not work for you, and that’s okay. Never let anyone shame you into reading something you don’t want. This is the quickest way to give up on reading.
Let’s see about finding you a good book, shall we? Starting with the type of book you should read. The genres can be a little bit confusing. What’s fiction and what’s creative nonfiction? What’s a thriller, and isn’t it the same thing as a mystery? And fantasy and sci-fi are the same thing, right? Well, this article is going to endeavor to answer these questions. Here are the most popular types of book genres;
Let’s start with FICTION. I personally prefer fiction books because of the different lives I get to live and the different worlds I get to explore while I am reading these books. As George R.R. Martin once wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once. ”
Fiction is defined as something that is untrue and invented by a person’s imagination. There are various genres of fiction. Some of these genres have subgenres. Let’s look at some of these subgenres.
These are books that have been around for decades, even centuries. These books were often considered groundbreaking at the time of their publication and have stood the test of time. They have affected generations and continue to do so even after the death of the authors. The books written by Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, John Steinbeck, and Toni Morrison can all be put under this category. The goal of most authors is to enter this category because one would be immortalized when their work is considered a classic.
All fiction is set in an imagined world. But some of it might be set in the real world, like Yaa Gyasi’s HomeGoing, which is set in the time of the slave trade in Africa and takes the reader through a snapshot of history. But fantasy books include elements of world-building, magic systems, mythology, and the supernatural. An example is The Song of Fire and Ice books by George R.R. Martin, who still hasn’t completed a book and yet we have been anticipating for decades that they are in the fantasy genre. We can also look at The Gilded Ones by Normina Forna, and The Children of Blood and Bone series by Tomi Adeyemi.
There are subgenres that are now widely recognized under the term “fantasy.” These include afrofantasy, africanjujuism, a term coined by Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, and African fantasy.
Action and Adventure
This is one of those genres that crosses into other genres like mystery, crime, fantasy, and sci-fi. In these books, the main character’s goal is to achieve a goal (The Bourne Series) or take a Mcguffin to a certain place (Lord of the Rings), and they are always in high stakes situations. It is constant, blood-pushing action from the first page to the last. These books will keep you on the edge of your seat.
A Detective and Mystery
These books, popularized by James Patterson, Dan Brown, and John Grisham, revolve around a crime that has to be solved by the main characters. Or some other big catastrophe that has to be stopped, and the race to stop it.
Suspense and Thrillers
These books and mystery books are often put in the same category because of the emotions that they evoke. In this genre, the main character attempts to defeat a villain who has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime or do something wrong. Sometimes, we follow along as the main character starts to figure out something. Books such as My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle, Red Ink by Angela Makholwa, and I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
Graphic Novels vs. Comic Books
I’m just getting into this genre. These books unfold their stories through sequential art and dialogue that is presented in word balloons next to the characters. I started by reading the Black Panther comics written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, and they were amazing. From what I’ve been told, once you get into comics, it’s hard to go back.
These are books that have stories that are set in a specific time period of the past. Oftentimes, the books are set against the backdrop of real historical events. Books such as Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved that are set in the past are all considered historical fiction.
Romance. Romance books are that genre of books that are the best there is. While you know the outcome of this story, the journey to that inevitable ending of the two characters getting together is a beautiful one. In the romance genre, we have multiple subgenres. There is dark romance, historical, paranormal, contemporary, and erotica. Books like Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola, Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo, and Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi’s Americanah are all romances.
Literary fiction is broad. Oftentimes, this genre can be misconstrued as boring. But it isn’t. Literary fiction has prose that is designed to make the reader think critically about the issues the author is writing about. Books like Kintu, Things Fall Apart, Nervous Conditions, and The Book of Memory can all be considered literary books. Though it can be seen as a broad genre that encompasses many others, literary fiction refers to the perceived artistic writing style of the author.
These books are meant to cause fear, tension, and discomfort in the readers. They use supernatural and paranormal elements as plot devices. We all know that the king of horror is Stephen King, whose legendary books include IT, Cujo, and Carrie. However, there are other writers other than Stephen King in this genre. Writers like Octavia E. Butler (Fledgling), Helen Oyeyemi (White is for Witching), and Dr. Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death)
These are stories that are somewhere between 3000 and 10,000 words, which is shorter than novels. Wikipedia defines a short story as a piece of prose fiction that can typically be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of evoking a single effect or mood. These stories encompass multiple genres, and they can be a gateway into reading longer books.
Look for books like Manchester Happened by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, That Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola, and What It Means When a Man Falls from The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah. You can also find short stories on websites that are dedicated to them. There are literary magazines in Africa where you can find good short stories, such as Brittle Paper, Ibua Journal, Lolwe, Doek, and Kalahari Review.
Sci-Fi (Science Fiction)
Sci-Fi and fantasy are always lumped together. However, science fiction differs from fantasy in that it relies heavily on future science and how technology affects the characters. Books like Frank Herbert’s Dune use both fantasy and sci-fi devices. Dawn by Octavia E. Butler. Apocalyptic, afrofuturism, and dystopian books can be found in the sci-fi genre. Books such as the Rosewater trilogy by Tade Thompson and the Binti trilogy by Dr. Nnedi Okorafor fall under the umbrella of the science fiction genre.
Nonfiction books give factual accounts regarding real life. These books can be presented objectively or subjectively. According to Wikipedia, nonfiction is one of the fundamental divisions of narrative writing (specifically, prose) — in contrast to fiction, largely populated by imaginary characters and events, though sometimes ambiguous regarding its basis in reality.
These are the few types of genres under non-fiction:
These are books that contain a collection of recipes that may be of a particular theme, culture, or cuisine. These may be written by professional chefs, TV personalities, and celebs. The very first recorded cookbook that is still in print today is Of Culinary Matters (originally, De Re Coquinaria), which was written by Apicius in the 4th Century AD Rome and contains more than 500 recipes.
Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoirs
This genre of nonfiction is an official or unofficial account of the events or details of a person’s life or a specific period of time in the person’s life. While biographies and autobiographies both tell the story of a person’s life, they are different. A biography is an account written about a person by an author. An autobiography is when a person writes his or her own life story.
While memoirs are a type of autobiography, they are more flexible. They are not extensive. Rather, they focus on key moments in the author’s life.
Maya Angelou famously wrote seven memoirs covering various periods of her life. Autobiographies include Vanessa Nakate’s A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis, Clemantine Wamariya’s The Girl Who Smiled Beads, and Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom.
These books are written about a specific period of time, about a specific people or geographical area. These are meant to educate the readers about history. Through these history books, we get to learn how past societies, ideologies, governments, monarchs, cultures, and technologies were built, how they operated, and how we, as modern society, can learn about that. Books such as Modern Africa: A Social and Political History by Basil Davidson, The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas, Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen by Linda M. Heywood, and Uganda: The Dynamics of Neoliberal Transformation by Jorg Wiegratz are all historical accounts of particular figures or areas in their lives.
In these books, writers use personal experiences to speak on a theme that they find particularly interesting. Essays are also collections of social commentary from the writer’s perspective. They can be written in the first person or in the third person. Panashe Chigumadzi employs these essays in writing about the political situation in her country, Zimbabwe, in “These Bones Will Rise Again.” Other books in this genre include: Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction curated by Basit Jamiu.
Poetry uses very few words to evoke emotions in the listener or reader. This message can be straight forward or be hidden with the play of words. In Uganda, Kitara Nation holds the crown for most published books, with titles including The Headline That Morning by Kagayi Ngobi, Light by Begumya Nkabafunzaki Rushongoza, and Don’t Love Me in English by Bridget Ankunda. Other books include Emonevate by the late Joel Nevender Ntwatwa and Streetlights at Noon Eclipse by the Lantern Meet Foundation.
These books take a look at a crime that actually happened and bring together accounts from different professionals, people that were involved, and the events that happened into one coherent story. True crimes can include serial killings and murders, as well as kidnappings and conmen who got away with it. These books are much like true crime podcasts and documentaries based on true crime. Books such as Last Call by Elon Green, The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman,Beneath The Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and The Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram by Isha Sesay, and Grave Murder: The Story Behind the Brutal Welkom Killing by Jana Van Der Merwe, are all examples of true crime books.
While these books may not be critically accepted, they are still one of the biggest sellers under the non-fiction banner. They focus on personal improvement in all aspects of life, including emotional well-being, spirituality, and finances. Books such as Clever Girl Finance, Ditch Debt, Save Money, and Build Real Wealth by Bola Sokunbi,Don’t Settle for Safe: Embracing the Uncomfortable to Become Unstoppable, by Sarah Jakes Roberts, and our book of the month, Luvvie Ajayi’s Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual.
There is a whole world of books for you to discover; a buffet from which you can pick. You will find yourself enjoying any one of these genres. Whether you want to immerse yourself in a different world from the one we know, or you want to get better and learn aboutthe history of the world, there is something for you. So, grab a book, kick your feet up, and get lost in the world of words.
Romance: Romance novels are perhaps the most popular genre in terms of book sales.What should I read if I liked everything everything? ›
- Everything, Everything. Yoon, Nicola. Book, 2015. ...
- All the Bright Places. Niven, Jennifer. Book, 2015. ...
- Every Last Word. Stone, Tamara Ireland. Book, 2015. ...
- The Great American Whatever. Federle, Tim. Book, 2016. ...
- The Love That Split the World. Henry, Emily. Book, 2016. ...
- The Sun Is Also a Star. Yoon, Nicola.
- Science Fiction.
- Historical Fiction.
A heptalogy (/hɛpˈtælədʒi/; from Greek ἑπτα- hepta-, "seven" and -λογία -logia, "discourse"), also known as a septology, is a compound literary or narrative work that is made up of seven distinct works.What are the 7 major story types? ›
- Overcoming the Monster.
- Rags to Riches.
- The Quest.
- Voyage and Return.
The purpose of a genre is to help you figure out how people tend to act, react, and interact in the situation in which you are writing. So if you tell your readers you are giving them a “movie review,” they will have some predictable expectations about the content, organization, style, and design of your text.How does genre affect reading? ›
Genre expectations affect both how individuals choose texts to read, and then how those texts are understood. Therefore, labeling literature as a certain genre affects the relationship between writer and reader.What book genre is popular now? ›
The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre. Religious & inspirational books are the most popular non-fiction genre, whilst thrillers are the most popular audiobooks.What are the 8 types of literature? ›
- Drama. Stories composed in verse or prose, usually for theatrical performance, where conflicts and emotion are expressed through dialogue and action.
- Fable. ...
- Fairy Tale. ...
- Fantasy. ...
- Fiction. ...
- Fiction in Verse. ...
- Folklore. ...
- Historical Fiction.
The Holy Bible is the most read book in the world. In the past 50 years, the Bible has sold over 3.9 billion copies. It is the most recognizable and famous book that has ever been published.
Jazz is the least popular genre of music in the United States. Once very popular in American cities, including Omaha, jazz began to lose its place on the music industry in the 1960s. Rock 'n' roll became the new thing.What is the most sold fiction book? ›
- #1 – Don Quixote (500 million copies sold) ...
- #2 – A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies sold) ...
- #3 – The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold) ...
- #4 – The Little Prince (142 million copies sold) ...
- #5 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (107 million copies sold)
- Seduced by the Billionaire (Billionaires & Babies, #3) Alyssa J. Montgomery.
- Lynne Graham.
- Janice Maynard.
- Pippa Roscoe.
- Penny Jordan.
- Carole Mortimer.
- Jamie K. Schmidt.
- Penny Jordan.
- Overcoming the Monster.
- The Quest.
- Voyage and Return.
- Rags to Riches.
While a book is written on a specific subject without a fixed count for the minimum amount of words to be used, a novel is a book of a story or stories (in the case of the collection of short stories) written in not less than forty thousand words. Any book of stories short of that amount of words is not a novel.How many types of books exist? ›
Answer: There are mainly two types of books- fiction and non-fiction. These types are further divided into various genres.What do you call a 20 book series? ›
A series of 20 books = Icosology.What is the 5 version of trilogy? ›
A pentalogy (from Greek πεντα- penta-, "five" and -λογία -logia, "discourse") is a compound literary or narrative work that is explicitly divided into five parts.What are the 37 plots? ›
- Supplication. ...
- Deliverance. ...
- Crime pursued by vengeance. ...
- Vengeance taken for kin upon kin. ...
- Pursuit. ...
- Disaster. ...
- Falling prey to cruelty/misfortune. ...
A hexalogy (from Greek ἑξα- hexa-, "six" and -λογία -logia, "discourse") is a compound literary or narrative work that is made up of six distinct works.
- 'Rags to riches' (rise).
- 'Tragedy', or 'Riches to rags' (fall).
- 'Man in a hole' (fall-rise).
- 'Icarus' (rise-fall).
- 'Cinderella' (rise-fall-rise).
- 'Oedipus' (fall-rise-fall).
Furthermore, different genres of music affect the brain in different ways—causing differing cascades of hormones, triggering different neurons to fire, calling up specific sets of memories and giving rise to disparate wells of emotion.Why should genres be read? ›
Reading different genres helps with overall comprehension. For example, if it is a fiction book, your brain will be focusing on characters, setting, plot, and theme. If it is a nonfiction book, your brain will be focused on helpful text features and learning real-life facts.Why is it important to understand genre? ›
But familiarity with genres can also make life easier for writers. Genres also provide the writer with general organizational patterns that can help them arrange what they say and when they say it. For readers, genres help organize information so that they can more easily make sense of what they are about to read.What are people's favorite genre? ›
Most popular movie genres among adults in the United States as of December 2018.
|Characteristic||Share of respondents|
Data on the distribution of streamed music consumption in the United States showed that rock music accounted for 17 percent of all on-demand audio and video streams in 2021. The leading genre by streams was, as is almost always the case, R&B and hip-hop.Are novels Losing Popularity? ›
But novels and short-story reading rates have declined, from 47% of the US population in 2008, and 45.2% in 2012 to just 41.8% in 2017.Which genre of books sell the most 2022? ›
Young adults have the biggest market, as young people now know the value of reading as a pastime and an escape from reality. It is still popular among young adults going into 2022. The top genres here include sci-fi, fantasy, and romance.
The percentage of the U.S. adult population reading any books has declined by -7 percent over the past decade. dropped dramatically over the past 20 years. Less than half of the adult American population now reads literature.What are the 13 elements of literature? ›
Recognized by evaluating different elements of the book, including style and language, character, plot, illustrations, pacing, setting, tension, design and layout, mood, accuracy, tone, point of view, and theme.
In the landscape of literature, there are four major genres: poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction.What are the 3 main literature classifications? ›
There is a lot, but luckily they all fit under just three major genres. The rest are all sub-genres, and even the subgenres have subgenres. The three major genres are Prose, Drama, and Poetry.Who is the No 1 book in the world? ›
Having sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling is the best-selling book series in history.Which country read book the most? ›
The country that reads the most books is India! They led every country on the map with an average of 10 hours and 42 minutes. That is a good average amount for a country as a whole.What are the top 10 most popular book genres? ›
- Science Fiction.
- Detective & Mystery.
In simplistic terms, a genre is the category or style of a book – for example, romance, crime or horror. It comes from the French word, for 'type. ' In essence, it describes the type of story being told.Which book is best to read? ›
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. ...
- 1984, by George Orwell. ...
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. ...
- The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. ...
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ...
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. ...
- The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank.
- Edited (non-fiction)
- Reference (non-fiction)
The most read book in the world is the Bible. Writer James Chapman created a list of the most read books in the world based on the number of copies each book sold over the last 50 years. He found that the Bible far outsold any other book, with a whopping 3.9 billion copies sold over the last 50 years.What books do people mostly read? ›
Crime and Thriller
Crime/thriller and romance seem to be the two most popular genres for fiction books. They are always competing for the top spot. It has to do with the emotions they evoke.
Genre consists of four elements or parts: character, story, plot and setting. An equation for remembering the genre is: Story (Action) + Plot + Character + Setting = Genre. This becomes an easy way to remember the elements of a genre.What is the main literary genre? ›
The four main literary genres are poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama, with each varying in style, structure, subject matter, and the use of figurative language.What are the 3 literary genres? ›
Three Genres: The Writing of Fiction/Literary Nonfiction, Poetry, and Drama.What is a collection of 5 books called? ›
A pentalogy (from Greek πεντα- penta-, "five" and -λογία -logia, "discourse") is a compound literary or narrative work that is explicitly divided into five parts.What is a 4 book series called? ›
A tetralogy (from Greek τετρα- tetra-, "four" and -λογία -logia, "discourse"), also known as a quadrilogy, is a compound work that is made up of four distinct works.