Book genres are generally tricky to define, partly due to different people’s preferences, and partly due to the fact that a lot of books sit across a few genres instead of neatly being contained in one genre, the mischievous little things. This is a guide to my personal way of defining genres, so be aware; you may not agree, but if you want a blind date book I’d hope you would be up for a bit of a surprise anyway. I also try to find books that are less well known rather than sending people copies of books they are more likely to have read, which means you may get a book by an author who is generally considered to be of a different genre than you chose – if that is the case then it will usually be different than their other works. I also try to send books which are by women, authors of colour and/or LGBTQ authors, doing my part to try to increase their visibility.
Classic; Any of the Penguin Classics and authors of a similar nature from other publishers, we’re talking Bronte, Austen, Wilde…
Modern Classic; Any of the Penguin Modern Classics and authors of a similar nature from other publishers, Daphne du Maurier, George Orwell, Audre Lorde
Fantasy; Magic, non-human sentient beings, often contains some kind of war and an outcast who becomes a heroine who can also spout witty one-liners at the drop of a hat. Usually comes with a sassy best friend.
Horror; Gothic, creepy, possibly supernatural, slightly gruesome or just scary through implication, but heavy on the fear and less so on the reason for it
Crime; Well, there’s a crime that has been committed hasn’t there? And usually some kind of detective person, either officially or due to unfortunate circumstance has been thrown into the role.
Thriller; Psychologically scary but light on the gore, usually ends with an explanation or discovery of why scary things were happening
Historical: Any novel which has a backdrop in a specific period of human history, usually around an important event which directly influences the characters and story arch. Can be ancient or modern, in any part of the world.
Romance; Any novel that centres around the romantic relationship of two characters – most likely to be a cross genre novel!
Short Stories; Any genre, but wrapped up into a procession of neat little mini tales for your enjoyment.