There’s fiction and nonfiction. But then there’s also historical fiction and science fiction and memoir and humor and history and suspense and fantasy—not to mention the many subgenres within those categories. Here’s a guide to help you find the right fit and the book you should read next.
Suspense & Thriller
One of the most popular genres right now, mysteries and thrillers continue to appear on bestseller lists and bookshelves across the country. Do you enjoy a good adrenaline rush, solving puzzles, watching detective shows, or playing mind games? If the answer is yes, then this is the genre for you. You've probably heard of the heavier hitters here—THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins, GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll, THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware-but there are so many more you should read! I recommend THEN SHE WAS GONE by Lisa Jewell, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A. J. Finn, THE PERFECT STRANGER by Megan Miranda, FOE by Iain Reid, LYING IN WAIT by Liz Nugent, and GIRL IN SNOW by Danya Kukafka.
Historical fiction is perfect for anyone who romanticizes the past, who wants to be transported to an earlier time period, or who wants to learn more about history but doesn't want to read nonfiction. From ancient Greek history to Victorian Britain to World War II, this genre covers it all. Books like ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr and THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah are cult favorites. You'll also love THE ROOM ON RUE AMELIE by Kristin Harmel, LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly, BACHELOR GIRL by Kim Van Alkemade, THE LOST QUEEN by Signe Pike, and THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead.
Fantasy & Magical Realism
You'll like this genre if you spend your time daydreaming, lost in another world—or if you love watching Game of Thrones or the Harry Potter movies. Great reads in this genre include: THE PHILOSOPHER'S FLIGHT by Tom Miller, THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V. E. Schwab, THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen, or A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness.
Do you love watching scary movies or telling scary stories around a campfire? Does being afraid make you feel a little more alive? Do you enjoy facing your fears? How about staying up all night reading because you're too afraid to go to sleep? If horror is your thing, Stephen King is your dream. He's the master of the genre. If, somehow, you've already read his entire body of work, I also recommend THE CHANGELING by Victor LaValle, INK AND BONE by Lisa Unger, and FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager.
This one's pretty straightforward. You'll love the humor genre if you appreciate a good joke, smart satire, and an easy laugh. Some funny must-reads include: FURIOUSLY HAPPY by Jenny Lawson, DEAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS by Julie Schumacher, CALYPSO by David Sedaris, BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey, and WE ARE NEVER MEETING IN REAL LIFE by Samantha Irby.
Did you watch The Stepford Wives or every episode of The Handmaid's Tale? Are you obsessed with the idea of alternative societies? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about futuristic universes? Read these dystopian novels: AN OCEAN OF MINUTES by Thea Lim, THE POWER by Naomi Alderman, RED CLOCKS by Leni Zumas, WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan, and VOX by Christina Dalcher.
Memoir is the perfect genre for readers who love intimate true stories, getting inspired, or meeting incredible bigger-than-life people. Some of my favorite memoirs are TRAGEDY PLUS TIME by Adam Cayton-Holland, EDUCATED by Tara Westover, SHOE DOG by Phil Knight, THE CHOICE by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, I AM I AM I AM by Maggie O'Farrell, WILD by Cheryl Strayed, MY FATHER BEFORE ME by Chris Forhan, THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls, and TRYING TO FLOAT by Nicolaia Rips.
Spaceflight, time travel, extraterrestrial life, biological engineering, robots, chemical warfare, human evolution. If you're excited by any of those words, it's time to add some science fiction to your reading list. You can't go wrong with THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir, THE COMPLETIONIST by Siobhan Adcock, IMMORTAL LIFE by Stanley Bing, ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS by Elan Mastai, AMERICAN WAR by Omar El Akkad, DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch or UNDERGROUND AIRLINES by Ben H. Winters.
History & Biography
You believe history repeats itself and facts matter. You have great respect for the past. You enjoy learning about the people, places, events, and things that have shaped our modern world. You should read EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON by S. C. Gwynne, THE WRIGHT BROTHERS by David McCullough, THE OREGON TRAIL by Rinker Buck, KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON by David Grann, and INSPECTOR OLDFIELD AND THE BLACK HAND SOCIETY by William Oldfield and Victoria Bruce.
EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON is a stunning historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West. Meticulously researched and thrillingly told, this sweeping narrative is a must-read for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.