We would like to stress that even though some of these genres are written for juveniles, there is no such thing as certain books for certain people. There are many adults who enjoy what is classified as children’s literature. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a wonderful example of that. By the same token, there are many children and teens who enjoy what would be considered adult literature, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Following the explanation of each featured genre, we supply a basic list of books that represent most aspects of the subcategories, to get you started. These lists are by no means the be all and end all, they are merely a suggestion.
These books are called classics because they have stood the test of time and are still standing. Many classic works of literature have been made into movies, many of which are much beloved, but the movie never tells what the book does. If you enjoyed Gone with the Wind, for example, why not try reading it the way Margaret Mitchell intended for the story to be told, instead of Hollywood’s version? These books often are the base of other great pieces of literature. Other popular classics are:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Fantasy is characterized mainly by the presence of things that could never happen in real life, such as magical beings and talking animals. Today the most popular fantasy books are J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, a series of seven books about a young wizard named Harry Potter and his adventures.
Some great fantasy novels are:
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie
The Shannara series by Terry Brooks
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Ye Gods! by Tom Holt
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real and drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons, but the principal characters tend to be fictional.
Some recommended and popular historical fiction titles are:
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener
The Wishing Game by Patrick Redmond
Sharpe by Bernard Cornwell
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Laura Blundy by Julie Myerson
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The Earth’s Children by Jean M. Auel
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
Horror’s primary trait is that it provokes a response, emotional, psychological or physical within each individual which causes someone to react with fear. One of the most famous horror writers is Stephen King. Nearly all of Stephen King’s horror novels have been made into movies, and if you have seen the movie and enjoyed it, the book is, by far, much more scary. If you are ready to delve into the world of the creepy, scary, and monstrous, here is a list of works to get you started:
It by Stephen King
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
The Store by Bentley Little
The Keep by F. Paul Wilson
Fear Street series by R. L. Stine
The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
Mystery is a loosely-defined term that is often used as a synonym for detective fiction or crime fiction—in other words a novel or short story in which a detective (either professional or amateur) investigates and solves a crime.
To begin your journey into the world of murder, suspects, and be-cloaked heroes who claim that their deductions were “Elementary, my dear Watson,” try some of these titles:
The Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
The Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell
Gone, Baby, Gone, by Dennis Lehane
Romance is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."
Many people today glean a lot of pleasure from reading these novels. It is possibly the most popular of all adult genres. Come join Sebastian and Miquela along with all our other heroes and heroines in the bodice-ripping world of romance novels by trying a few of these popular titles:
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devaraux
Sizzle by Julie Garwood
Sweet Starfire by Jayne Ann Krentz
The Tawny Gold Man by Amii Lorin
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Science fiction is a genre of fiction, usually set in the future, dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).
There are many different branches of science fiction, as with most genres. If science fiction sounds like something you would enjoy, and you don’t like the first book you pick up, don’t give up. Try another - this genre in particular is extremely varied, and most people, even if they aren’t fans, can find something they like.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
1984 by George Orwell
Planet of Exile by Ursula K. LeGuin
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Timeline by Michael Crichton
Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson Tucker
The World of Ptavvs by Larry Niven
The suspense novel, sometimes called a thriller novel, is mostly characterized by an atmosphere of menace, violence, crime and murder by showing society as dark. These movies heavily rely on literary devices such as plot twists, red herrings and cliffhangers.
Just like the science fiction genre, suspense novels also have a variety of types to attract its readers. Just because psychological thrillers aren’t your cup of tea, maybe a good crime novel by the well-known Agatha Christie is.
No matter what your taste in suspense may be, try these novels to begin your journey:
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John LeCarre
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (the first of the James Bond novels)
Sphere by Michael Crichton (this isn’t anything like Jurassic Park, but you could read that, too.)
The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Whiteout by Vicki Delaney
The First Rule by Robert Crais
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Because children’s literature is so different in that it is written in different forms and at different levels, this article will discuss four kinds of juvenile fiction.
Here are some wonderful examples of books for younger readers.
Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
The Littles by John Peterson
Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar
Me First by Helen Lester
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester
The Faithful Friend by Robert D. San Souci
The Dumb Bunnies by Dav Pilkey
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Since the `70s, the non-fiction novel has somewhat fallen out of favor, but that does not mean you should not read non-fiction for pleasure! There are plenty of non-fiction novels, biographies, and memoirs to keep your interest!
The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell by John Crawford (Iraq war memoir)
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (Manson family murders)
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (education of girls in the Middle East)
The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
Because of Romek by David Faber (Nazi concentration camp memoir)
Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. by Luis Rodriguez (memoir of the author’s gang days)
Jarhead by Anthony Swofford (Gulf War memoir)
Of course, there are hundreds of biographies and thousands of other books, covering sports, art, cooking, religion, hobbies, history, and many other topics. The non-fiction section of your local library holds a wealth of information for you!