To decide which books we should read, we might begin by trying to understand what types of books exist.

One way of categorizing books is by writing genre. Writing genre puts books into categories based on writing technique, tone and content.

Within the broad categories of fiction and non-fiction, there are a sizable number (around 30) of genres and subgenres.

Based on the books I read in 2015/16, the main genres and sub genres in my reading list were:


  • Classic
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction


  • Biography
  • Narrative non-fiction
  • Self-help

The next step is to think about the distinguishing features of each type of genre, to help prioritise which books to read or not read.