As you might or might not have noticed, I have been going through the different genres we have at the Aurora Public Library District and offering popular authors and titles as a sort of introduction to the genre itself, especially for those who are unfamiliar with or new to the genre. But the concept of books being separated by genre can be a little confusing, especially because, most of the time, many books do not fit one particular mold for only one genre.
A genre is a specific category that fiction books belong to based on the content of the novel. Many times authors will specialize in one particular genre and only write books that fit that mold. But authors can (and do!) cross over into many genres with various novels or with only one novel. This makes it harder for us to determine whether a book should be considered one genre over another, which then makes everything more complicated and confusing than it needs to be. A list of common fiction genres include:
Classic, Crime/Detective, Drama, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Magical Realism, Metafiction, Mystery, Mythopoeia, Realistic Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story, Suspense/Thriller, and Western.
Many of these are self-explanatory, but I bet you can already see how some of these genres can blend into each other and create sub-genres, like Science Fiction and Fantasy. However, there might be a few terms that you have no idea what they mean (don’t worry, I didn’t know either!), so I’ll try to explain them as best as I can.
Magical Realism is basically incorporating fantastical elements into realistic fiction. So, it is a clash between Realistic and Fantasy Fiction. This genre, I’ve noticed, is especially popular with Young Adult and Juvenile Fiction, but there are several titles available in Adult Fiction, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman.
Metafiction is a newer genre of fiction that comes from the Post-Modernism literary movement. Metafiction draws attention to the novel as a work of art as one is reading; the author does not let the reader forget that he or she is reading a book. Metafiction can also deviate from the way in which the traditional novel is written or read. This genre also requires the reader to think, too, as the writing is sometimes not meant to be taken literally. It is somewhat difficult to explain, but the reader will most likely know when they read it. Some examples include The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, and Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt.
Mythopoeia is more of a literary device than it is a fiction genre, but it definitely can be a genre on its own in some cases. Mythopoeia is the imitation, expanding, or inclusion of traditional myths into newer fiction. Mythopoeia also creates its own myths and legends, typically in Fantasy novels. Once again, I see the Mythopoeia genre most frequently in Young Adult and Juvenile Fiction (such as with Rick Riordan’s numerous series), but there are several classics that fall into this genre as well, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.
Genres can still be confusing to navigate, but hopefully they make a little more sense than they did. If you think a book belongs in one genre and I think it belongs in a different genre, chances are we’ll both be right. Let the Aurora Public Library District help you expand your love of reading across all genres!