Think about the last book you read that wasn't total torture. Was it a mystery
Classic: Classic books are generally very old and well renowned, like A Tale of Two Cities
Modern Classic: Ooh my favourite! The modern classic genre is a little ambiguous - there is no definitive time period in which classics are considered "modern classics." These stories are very well regarded, and usual have a complex theme. You'll probably recognize a lot of these titles, even if you've never read them (like Gone With the Wind
Fiction: Fiction is more of a classification than a genre, since it is so broad. Fiction stories are fantasy, or imagined. The vast majority of pleasure reading is fiction, like The Giver
Non-fiction: Non-fiction stories are true stories. For example, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, textbooks, history books, etc. Many people are truly fascinated by real life experiences, like those discussed in Tuesday's with Morrie
Memoir: Memoirs are a lot like autobiographies, but much less comprehensive. A memoir can span just a few days, a handful of experiences, or the better part of a lifetime. A memoir doesn't necessarily tell the author's life story, but gives you a few hints and then lets you decide for yourself, like Eat Pray Love
Romance: Romance novels are some of the best selling books on the shelves. These love stories are usually very dramatic, but quick reads nonetheless (like The Notebook
Mystery: Mysteries are great for non readers. They are usually fast paced, very entertaining, and not too challenging. Mysteries range from completely believable to wildly complex, like The DaVinci Code
Coming of Age: Coming of age stories are also really good for non readers. They tend to be slower and deeper than mysteries and romance, but you're usually left with a sense of accomplishment when you finish (and sometimes a warm fuzzy feeling). This generation's favourite is The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Science Fiction: Science fiction can be really cool - even if you aren't into science at all. These are basically believable thrillers, or really exciting fantasy that's explained and reasoned. When the author convinces you (which is the science part) that the plot is possible, the book is instantly much more exciting (and sometimes frightening). A good example of this would be Jurassic Park
Historical Fiction: Historical fiction stories are usually about a certain time, place, or event. Although the characters and storylines are imagined the context is factual, so it's more or less a fiction/non-fiction crossover. These stories usually give you a bit of a history lesson, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Collection: This genre is pretty broad; a collection could be a book of poems, short stories, novellas, etc. This is for the person that has a hard time finishing books. You can usually read one of the works (or more) in one sitting, so you can pick it up and put it down as you please. Try a collection that is published frequently, like the annual O'Henry Prized Stories
As I mentioned before, these are only a fraction of the categories out there. You should also know that most books fall into several categories, after all, EVERYTHING is either fiction or non-fiction to begin with and then something more specific after that. For example, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
I'm a real bookworm. I have done a lot of reading (I mean A LOT) and I'm still finding new favourites (and least favourites) as I go. You may have noticed that I included an example in the description of each genre above - I have read, enjoyed, and would recommend each of those books. I've listed several more books, followed by their authors, below for anyone just looking to browse. This is a fairly eclectic list, so not all titles will appeal to everyone. The names in bold are authors I especially like, or have found consistently wonderful.
Avid reader? New reader? Please share your opinions! Tell us all what books you liked and didn't like, or your best strategy for finding good books. ShopWiki articles can be started, edited, and written by anyone, so start sharing!