Book Genres – A Review of Fiction
Book Genres can be confusing. Here, Steph Nickel takes a look at a selection of fiction book genres.
Sub Genres of Fiction
There are several genres and sub-genres of fiction.
Today, I’d like to review a few of those that are sitting on my bookshelves, many volumes of which are waiting to be read.
Most of my books fall in the broad category of Christian fiction, but not all of them do.
As you know, I have eclectic interests. So, these examples will cover a wide range of genres. Please note, that the definitions of these genres are general and far-reaching. They will simply give you an overview of a number of fiction genres.
As I’ve mentioned, I don’t read a lot of romance. But when I do, it is either overtly Christian or falls in the “clean” category.
In a romance novel, the couple must get together by the end of the story. It is one of the tropes of the genre that readers will not forgive the author for not including.
As you would expect, the developing relationship is the central theme of the story.
If reading this genre causes me to become discontent with my life—or more specifically, with my marriage—it is best left unread.
Another broad genre is women’s fiction.
There are countless sub-genres, but in general, women’s fiction addresses issues of particular interest to women and features a female protagonist—or main character.
There may or may not be a romance sub-plot, but it is not the focus of the book.
If reading a women’s fiction novel causes me to consider God’s plans and purposes for me as a woman and seek to live them out, that’s good thing. If, however, I develop a skewed view of my place in the world, it’s best to set the book aside.
Mystery and Suspense
I’m a fan of Christian mystery and suspense.
While mystery includes a crime or puzzle to solve, suspense is more ongoing, putting readers in the midst of the action.
I have a few favourite Christian mystery authors, among them Sandra Orchard and Emily James. I have referred to Emily James’s “Maple Syrup Mysteries” and the spinoff series, “Cupcake Truck Mysteries,” in previous reviews. I have also referred to Sandra Orchard’s “Port Aster Mysteries” and “Serena Jones Mysteries.”
I’ve also read some secular mysteries that aren’t particularly gory or gruesome. Still, they do include elements that some believers may not be comfortable with. That is something to consider when reading books that aren’t distinctly Christian.
I have a number of Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee. Depending on your personal perspective, you may categorize them as suspense, fantasy, or psychological thriller. If you aren’t used to reading what some would refer to as dark allegorical stories, you may even categorize their work as horror, which I don’t read.
These aren’t the type of books you want to read when you’re preoccupied, tired, or particularly empathetic to the characters’ situation.
While a good book draws you in and keeps you turning pages, from my perspective, it doesn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.
I know this isn’t the authors’ intention in this case, but if you pick up their work, you must be willing to immerse yourself in their stories—while not drowning in them.
As Ted Dekker says, we don’t recognize the awesome brightness of the light if we don’t also recognize the incredible depths of the darkness. Still, not everyone picks up a book to take that journey—from darkness to light.
And speaking of fantasy …
I have recently completed both the prequel and the first book in Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series. While my family has read this lengthy series, I am listening to the books on Audible, an endeavour that will take over a year, if I listen to one book each month.
Fantasy typically takes place on another planet and includes creatures that are not human. It often includes magic, which Christian readers may shy away from.
If these elements don’t interest you or you feel convicted about steering clear of such things, I encourage you to do so.
Science fiction is closely related to fantasy but focuses on the What Ifs? and Could Be’s of scientific development. I don’t read sci-fi, but I do watch both science fiction and fantasy movies and TV series.
That is just a sampling of fiction genres. There are Christian authors who write in all these categories—and many more.
Do you read fiction? What’s your favourite genre? Are you interested in branching out?
I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me through my contributor’s profile on the HopeStreamRadio website.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
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Images courtesy of:
Woman Reading – Free-Photos
Romantic Couple – panajiotis
Mystery – jplenio
Sci-Fi – Yuri_B