Reading is fun: Genres

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Reading is fun. It’s as simple as that. Reading the ideas and stories written by another person was the first step that human beings took to realise their own greatness and untapped potential. The fact that we could share our experiences and knowledge with another person, in another part of the world and in a different time, was our TIME MACHINE.

A time machine that could transport anyone anywhere. From the comfort of your home, to the middle of a battlefield or into the arms of a fictional sweetheart. From the tensions of our lives, to the grace and warm glow of a power greater than us.  The written word has been the single greatest invention of man. Every other invention since then has helped us craft better stories, explore the world around us and finally, understand the human mind, body and the soul.  Yet, every breakthrough, every revelation, and every invention is only known by the rest of the world, due to the written word and an inexhaustible curiosity of every human to know more about all these miracles from our past.

Reading, in today’s world, has become a challenging activity and it can be fairly difficult to get started with reading, and then to sustain the habit. And then, when we are able to sustain this habit, we are confused about what to read. The informational overload we receive these days, and with every literate person suggesting books for us to read, we are left helplessly lost and confused with millions of books to choose from.

The first step to clear this confusion is to understand what genres and types of books we like. Every recommendation made by a well-intentioned friend or elder is not necessarily the best fit or relevant for us. Understanding ourselves can be an easy task if we can make a list of the kinds of channels, shows, videos, conversations and even advertisements make us stop, pause, take notice and wonder. There are many types of groupings and genres that we can explore. In literature, there are a lot of books that are counted as classics, or are some of the most loved and admired books ever written.

For anyone who is planning to start reading and is still a little confused about which ones to choose from, here is our list to help you along this journey:

  1. Romance. These stories are about a romantic relationship between two people. They are characterised by sensual tension, desire, and idealism. The author keeps the two apart for most of the novel, but they do eventually end up together.  There are many sub-genres, including paranormal, historical, contemporary, category, fantasy, and gothic.
  1. Action AdventureAny story that puts the protagonist in physical danger, characterised by thrilling near misses, and courageous and daring feats, belongs to this genre. It is fast paced, the tension mounting as the clock ticks. There is always a climax that offers the reader some relief.
  1. Science Fiction.This genre incorporates any story set in the future, the past, or other dimensions. The story features scientific ideas and advanced technological concepts. Writers must be prepared to spend time building new worlds. The setting should define the plot.
  1. Fantasy. These stories deal with kingdoms as opposed to sci-fi, which deals with universes. Writers must spend plenty of time on world building. Myths, otherworldly magic-based concepts, and ideas characterise these books. They frequently take cues from historical settings like The Dark Ages.
  1. Speculative Fiction. These stories are created in worlds unlike our real world in certain important ways. This genre usually overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.
  1. Suspense/Thriller. A character in jeopardy dominates these stories. This genre involves pursuit and escape. There are one or more ‘dark’ characters that the protagonist must escape from, fight against, or best in the story. The threats to the protagonist can be physical or psychological, or both. The setting is integral to the plot.
  1. Young Adult.Young Adult (YA) books are written, published, and marketed to adolescents and young adults. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of 12 and 18, but adults also read these books. These are generally coming-of-age stories, and often cross into the fantasy and science fiction genres. YA novels feature diverse protagonists facing changes and challenges. This genre has become more popular with the success of novels like The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, and Twilight.
  1. Horror/Paranormal/Ghost. These are high-pitched scary stories involving pursuit and escape. The protagonist must overcome supernatural or demonic beings. Occult is a sub-genre that always uses satanic-type antagonists.
  1. Mystery/Crime. These are also known as ‘whodunits’. The central issue is a question that must be answered, an identity revealed, a crime solved. This novel is characterised by clues leading to rising tension as the answer to the mystery is approached.
  1. Police Procedurals are mysteries that involve a police officer or detective solving the crime. The emphasis rests heavily on technological or forensic aspects of police work, sorting and collecting evidence, as well as the legal aspects of criminology.
  1. Historical. These fictional stories take place against factual historical backdrops. Important historical figures are portrayed as fictional characters. Historical Romance is a sub-genre that involves a conflicted love relationship in a factual historical setting. 
  1. Family Saga. This genre is about on-going stories of two or more generations of a family. Plots revolve around things like businesses, acquisition, properties, adventures, and family curses. By their nature, these are primarily historical, often bringing the resolution in contemporary settings.
  1. Women’s Fiction. These plot lines are characterised by female central characters who face challenges, difficulties, and crises that have a direct relationship to gender. This is inclusive of woman’s conflict with man, though not limited to that. It can include conflict with things such as the economy, family, society, art, politics, and religion.

.After understanding these various genres, there is a very high probability that looking for your next book is going to be child’s play for you. These, and many more tips are waiting for you at Pep Talk India. Join us, to see the new you!

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