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What are book genres?

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Quick Answer

Genres, such as drama, historical fiction, horror, short story, essay and autobiography, are used to categorize books. These categories help readers and literary analysts understand the purpose of the book and how its contents should be interpreted.

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Fiction books are categorized based on narrative style, plot, setting, characters and various other factors. For example, mystery novels contain a suspenseful plot as the characters solve a crime. Science fiction is characterized by unrealistic or futuristic laws of science, strange characters and an unusual setting, such as another planet or dimension. Fantasy often includes magic, animals and other worlds. Historical fiction has a realistic setting with fictional characters.

Nonfiction works are informative and include historical or scientific data to reinforce the content. A biography tells the story of another person's life, often an important or infamous figure. The narrative nonfiction genre is based on telling a true, historical story in a narrative format.

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