According to research conducted by the University of Sussex, reading is the most effective method to relieve stress. Fiction, in particular, has the ability to make us forget our troubles, even for a while – to live the life of another person, even perhaps in another era or another world altogether. Today, we explore the many genres of fiction books you can read.
1. Mystery Books
Mystery books focus on solving a crime or puzzle. They often involve elements of suspense and excitement. Mystery can be further broken down into sub-categories such as noir, spy/espionage, and cozy/traditional.
Next to romance and fantasy, mystery is one of the most popular genres of fiction in the world. It’s not hard to see why – a good mystery book keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last second.
Examples of mystery books loved by many worldwide include the Nancy Drew series, Sherlock Holmes series, and titles such as Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
2. Fantasy Books
Fantasy books are stories which plot is too far-fetched to happen in real life. More often than not, these stories include mythical creatures such as unicorns, mermaids, and other fantastical creatures the writer’s mind can conjure.
As proof of its popularity, the sale of fantasy books has doubled since 2010. You might be surprised to know that fantasy can be branched out into more specific topics like high fantasy, urban fantasy and historical fantasy.
Within the fantasy genre, some all-time favorites are The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis as well as the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
22 years after its initial release, Harry Potter remains a widely-loved series worldwide. More than 500 million copies of books from the series were sold last year. It has also been translated into over 75 languages to date! Such is the power of fantasy.
3. Thriller Books
While similar to mystery books, thriller books are more fast-paced in general. As opposed to uncovering a crime that has already happened, thrillers typically see the hero trying to thwart the plans of the enemy.
Overthrowing governments, mass murders and assassination are just a few common themes used in such books.
In the mood for a good thriller? Go grab yourself a copy of The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, or The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. You won’t regret it – we promise.
4. Romance Books
“Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.” – Victor Hugo
Romance books or novels are just that – all about romance/romantic relationships. Some key elements of a romance book are “happily ever after” and emotional tension between the main characters.
Within the broad genre of romance lies several sub-genres such as young adult, erotic and paranormal. Overall, the industry fetched a massive USD $1.44 billion in 2014.
5. Science Fiction Books
Like its name suggests, the key component of science fiction books is science. Technology is another area of focus. The plots of science fiction books are in the faraway future.
Science fiction is often confused with fantasy. The difference, however, is that science fiction tends to focus on technology which is advanced, whereas fantasy does not.
For example, although Star Wars features mythical creatures and characters, its plot focuses largely on science (e.g. space travel, weaponry and technology that has yet to be invented). As such, it is classified as science fiction rather than fantasy fiction.
Some of the greatest Science fiction of all time are works such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
6. Horror Books
Horror books are written to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle. These feature supernatural beings/phenomena such as ghosts, vampires, and demonic possession/exorcism.
The horror genre builds on the fear of the unknown – fear of what’s hiding in the dark, for example – to achieve its intended effects. Like writers of other genres, good horror writers have the ability to make the audience live vicariously through characters with just words (gets goosebumps).
Die-hard horror fans would swear by Stephen King’s Pet Sematary and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.
Regardless of age, gender, and preferences, there’s a fiction book out there for everyone. Want to start reading, but find physical books to be too much of a hassle? Click here for 10 Best eBooks Apps You Should Have In Your Smartphone.