Nonfiction books come in all shapes and sizes and if you are an author or meaning to become one and publish your book then it is very important for you to know the types of non-fiction books commonly in circulation.
That is why we bring you this blog where we help you learn about nonfiction books and all the common types of nonfiction books along with examples of nonfiction books.
While we do not have any specific section for nonfiction books’ meaning and general history but non-fiction books in general are books that are based on fact and data.
The more we explain and define these types of books, the more you will be able to understand this category of books and all its genres
So, let us look at the different genres and subcategories of non-fiction looks.
These Are the Types of Non-Fiction Genres
We are going to break down nonfiction genres into two primary categories and that is going to be narrative and expository non-fiction.
Biographies, Autobiographies and Memoirs
This is going to be the first category of narrative nonfiction simply because this is primarily narration rather than stating facts.
There is going to be a single person who is going to narrate a lot of things about their life or even talk about the life of someone else in narration.
This is still considered nonfiction simply because it is fact-based and talks about something that really happened in reality rather than imagination.
If we talk about narrative nonfiction then this is probably the first thing that will come to anyone’s mind and let us talk about a popular example.
- “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
If we talk about this genre then we have to talk about one of the most impactful and one of the most renowned autobiographies ever created in the world.
You probably know about this but it is an autobiography about Anne and she is a Jewish girl who is hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation.
Crime Literature Books
Crime literature or true crime literature as it is popularly known as, is about criminal cases and it is about journalists trying to uncover the truth behind different crimes.
While it might be expository in nature stating facts but it is presented in a narrative structure with the journalist following different investigations and legal proceedings.
There is definitely storytelling in play and it can definitely be something like Sherlock Holmes but only based on reality and something that actually happened.
- “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote
If we talk about true crime then we have to talk about this because it is one of the pioneering works of narrative non-fiction crime novels.
It talks about specific crimes and also explores the justice system and delves deep into the trial of the criminals.
Capote uses extremely good storytelling and produces something that is a hallmark when it comes to this genre.
Travel Literature Books
Travel literature is also a quite popular genre of book and especially the narrative type of nonfiction literature.
When we talk about travel literature we do not just mean travel guides because these guides do not have a lot of narration in them and only talk about practical travel tips and much more.
But travel literature is just like travel vlogging but in a book format and is an acute record of travel experiences and narration about the experiences and self-reflection and much more.
- “The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux
If you like trains and if you like to know what it was like to travel from Europe to the Middle East and even India and South Asia then this is the perfect novel for you.
This book has everything from culture to encounters with incredible people and very deep and personal observations.
This is truly one of the most captivating examples of travel literature in the world.
And finally, we have environmental literature which talks about environment preservation and different issues regarding the conservation of nature.
While it is a rare genre in the category of non-fiction but it is still a remarkable category of literature simply because it talks about very important issues.
That is why if you care about the environment then you should truly check this out if you manage to find a good book about it.
- “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World” by Peter Wohlleben
The name can be a mouthful but if you explore this novel then you are going to learn so much about trees and how they communicate and how ecosystems form.
This is a book not just for anyone interested in the environment but really for everyone because this book is a treasure trove of knowledge about our environment.
The best thing about this book is that it looks at trees from the perspective of living things that interact with each other just like us.
When we talk about historical expository nonfiction we do not mean textbooks because sometimes they can be confused with historical nonfiction but we mean books that dive deep into sociological as well as political context of history.
These can be history books about historical figures and they can be history books about different situations of the past as well.
This is properly the most popular kind of non-fiction book because it deals with facts and deeds and that is why they are highly regarded.
- “The Guns of August” by Barbara W. Tuchman
This is a very important historical non-fiction book that talks about the events that led to World War 1.
This is the kind of book that talks about the political situation of that time and also talks about the different ideologies and the different structures of power in Europe before World War 1 and how everything led to the Great War.
Well, there is not much to talk about essays because you know how important they can be to literature because they can be about every topic possible.
They help in stabilizing arguments and they help inform society by talking about different topics in an analytical manner.
In fact, essays are one of the oldest forms of nonfiction and they can be informative but at the same time persuasive as well.
- “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois
Now this is one collection of essays that is truly magnificent in dealing with topics like racial identity and equality for African Americans in the USA.
This is a collection that has been so influential that nearly every influential American has read it in some form or another.
This is the essay book that American presidents read and it is something that you should read as well.
In our quest to find expository non-fiction genres, we bring you one of the most popular types of nonfiction novels.
Science novels or popular science as it is also known are slowly but surely becoming one of the most popular categories for young people all over the world.
This is because these novels talk about some of the most complex and perplexing ideas about the universe and science in a non-scientific way that is understandable by everyone.
These novels or books should not be confused with textbooks because they are not.
- A Brief History of Timeby Stephen Hawking
If we want to talk about science novels then this has to be the first and one of the most influential examples in the world.
This book deals with black holes and the Big Bang and the origin of time and space and so much more.
It definitely helps to have a degree in quantum physics if you want to completely understand this book but you can still try it out and it will be just as interesting.
When it comes to philosophical non-fiction books, this is quite a genre because the legacy of non-fiction philosophical books goes back centuries if not millenniums.
Every thinker of every generation who has ever written a book falls into this category.
You can expect everyone from Marcus Aurelius to Nietzsche in this category of nonfiction books and you should definitely give them a try because they have the power to change the world and if not the world then at least your perspective on life.
- “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius
If we have to talk about philosophical non-fiction books then we have to talk about this book that talks about the belief system and reflections of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.
This is the perfect example of a book that talks about deep reflections that are stoic in nature.
This is quite a popular category when it comes to nonfiction expository books because religious books are always in demand.
You can find these kinds of books from every major faith in the world and they are sometimes written by the preachers of the faith.
These books can be sometimes written by someone outside the faith who is trying to learn more about that religion. You can even categorise these books into motivational books and self-help books as well.
- “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion” by Sam Harris
If you want to explore spirituality without going into religion and power and politics then this is a very good book to read.
If you are an atheist then you are going to like this book even more because it talks about spirituality from a very scientific perspective without the involvement of religion.
Sociological And Political Books
While these can be categorized into philosophical books but they are a little bit different from physical books.
This is because sociological and political books go deep into society in a more political and even economic context and explore different situations in societies.
These kinds of books are more academic in nature and they can be released by independent organisations and researchers and sometimes even by government institutions to help understand different issues in society.
- “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
You don’t have to agree with this book to read this book because this is one of the most influential books of the 20th century for better or worse.
This book is primarily a sociological book that talks about society in general and while this book also goes into philosophy but it is very much a sociological and political book that talks about class divide and important issues.
When we talk about nonfiction books we simply cannot ignore the impact of motivational books and self-help books.
These kinds of books can also be classed into the category of philosophical books but they should have their own class in our opinion.
These kinds of books are primarily written for motivation and to help individuals improve their life and their outlook on life and much more.
While it is debatable how effective they are but they are definitely popular and people do read them.
- “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear
This is a fantastic book and if someone really follows this book and its guidelines then they can definitely bring a positive change in their life.
And even if you do not agree with the ideas in the book you can simply pick up a copy of Atomic Habits from your nearest bookstore and just give it a read because it is a good read.
We thought this had to have its own because they are definitely one of the most read genres if you can even call it that.
You can even call textbooks it’s on sub-category because there is so much that you can include within this category of books and it can be anything from the book of a toddler to the book of a PhD student.
This is probably the most popular and the most readily available type of book in the world because this kind of book is not for casual reading.
- Anything that you might have read in school can be categorised as a textbook and if you are still in school then you need to open your backpack and take out anything and it will be a textbook.
This is one of the oldest and one of the most traditional types of non-fiction expository books out there in the world.
These kinds of books can be just about recipes and they can also be history books that talk about society as well as the origin of recipes and food.
This is a rabbit hole because cookbooks are a treasure trove of information and may start with a recipe and end with the political situation or the societal situation of an empire or civilization.
They are highly influential and you can get them in every language in the world.
- “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” by Anthony Bourdain
If you have to talk about cookbooks then we have to talk about something by Anthony Boudain, one of the greatest legends in the culinary world.
This is not just a cookbook but it is a book that talks about the entire restaurant industry and behind the scenes of the industry.
This is a very unique category of nonfiction books that not only speaks about motherhood but parenthood as a whole.
These books can be in the form of books on how to be parents and also books on things to avoid as parents.
These kinds of books are not only very popular but actually very helpful for new parents who are trying to figure out what is parenthood for the first time.
- “The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being” by Simone Davies
If you want to learn about the Montessori style of raising a child then this is the perfect book for you.
It will definitely help you understand how to help your child grow in a supportive and educational environment full of growth and understanding.
Business books are exactly what they sound like and they talk about business and economics and other important aspects of knowledge like investing and management etc.
Business books can talk about how to manage businesses and they can also talk about different historical events in the world of business such as the 2008 financial crisis.
Business books can be anything you want and it can be about the global economy or a regionalised economic understanding of business.
- “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek
If you want to understand business and leadership and organisation and if you want to imbibe those skills before you start a business, this is the perfect book for you.
This book will help you understand the relationship dynamic between clients and companies and will also help you understand how to manage employees and do excellent organisation.
Fitness and Diet Books:
The name is self-explanatory but we are still going to help you understand what kind of books these are because these can be books recommended by your nutritionist.
These can be books about exercise and these can be books about healthy lifestyles and so much more. They will help you focus on your health and develop good eating habits and good lifestyle habits.
These kinds of books can also be used by people who are into exercise and fitness and these books can help you gain a deep understanding of muscle development and much more.
- “The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet” by Robb Wolf
You might have probably heard about the Paleo diet because this book is just about that and it will help you understand how our diets have evolved from our ancestors to the modern human being.
This book offers quite a different perspective on diets and health and will definitely help you understand the science behind a good diet and how to conserve energy and lead a healthy lifestyle.
DIY and Crafts
If you are into art and you want to start a business by creating your own art then this is the perfect kind of book for you.
If you are into recycling things that other people throw out such as bottle caps and other household items into art then this is the kind of book you are going to love.
Do-it-yourself(DIY) books will help you with everything and not just make something that looks good but is also very functional.
- “The Big-Ass Book of Crafts” by Mark Montano
If you want a book that has everything about arts and crafts as well as do-it-yourself(DIY) projects and if you are a true crafter then this is the perfect book for you.
It has excellent step-by-step instructions that are surely going to improve your arts and crafts skills by a lot.
Then there are books on learning languages but language learning paperbacks are not as popular because of learning apps and how can we forget children’s nonfiction books?
Then we also have comedy books and books on jokes and so much more. There are so many genres that we need a part 2 to truly explore non-fiction books.
We hope this blog helps you understand everything you need to know about the different kinds of nonfiction books.
And if you are someone who wants to publish fiction and non-fiction books at some of the most affordable rates in the entire Indian publishing industry then we are here for you.
We are Orange Publishers and we are the fastest-growing and most popular legacy publishing company in India and all our operations are in-house. We will help you publish your dream non-fiction book and much more.
We welcome you to publish with us and we would love to publish your fiction and nonfiction books.
Common Non-Fiction Books FAQs
Is non-fiction a genre?
No, non-fiction is not a genre and it is a category of books that are based on fact and reality rather than imagination and fiction.
Within non-fiction, there are many genres and subgenres. And they go on and on.
What Are The Types Of Nonfiction?
When it comes to nonfiction, you basically have two subtypes and they are narrative and expository. Within them, you have a lot of genres.
These can be in the form of historical books as well as philosophical books and biographies and autobiographies and educational books such as textbooks and so much more.
You can have books on philosophy and you can have books on music and art as well as culture and anything and everything you can think of that is based on reality.
How Many Nonfiction Genres Are There?
There is no definite answer to this because some people say that there are 25 genres in nonfiction and others say there are 30.
Some people can categorise both fiction and nonfiction into nearly a hundred genres and this is why the number of genres is just a subjective way of looking at things.
You can have very few categories and you can have a lot of categories.