Literature can be divided into two principle segments: nonfiction, which is reading material that states facts, and fiction, or reading material that is not true and is written for entertaining readers. Nonfiction and fiction can be further divided into sections called genres. Genres are types of books that are described by style, form and content.
A biography, a nonfiction genre, is the life story of an actual person written or told by another person. Biographies are a way to immortalize the person being portrayed. A biography is written or told in chronological order, usually begins with the person's childhood and ends with the adulthood or death.
An autobiography is also a nonfiction genre. It follows the same basic principles of a biography with one exception: An autobiography is written or dictated by the person being portrayed.
A mystery, a fiction genre, is a realistic, suspenseful story that introduces a crime or unexplainable happening at the beginning and solves it at the end. Mysteries are a lot like puzzles, the reader is given clues that are collected mentally and starts to piece them together to find out the ending. A mystery book does not let the reader know too much too soon, keeps the reader's interest piqued and rewards the reader for her patience with an unbelievable ending.
Fantasy books, a fiction genre, express the imagination of the author. A fantasy creates a world far different from the real world. However, the rules of the world created by the author must be followed in order to make the reader accept it as real, if just for a moment. In a fantasy, anything is possible. For example, people could fly, animals could talk and be fashionable and money could grow on trees.
The formula for the creation of a science fiction book is an extreme imagination mixed with actual science facts or imagined scientific phenomena. Science fiction, a fiction genre, engages the reader by testing the boundaries of the reader's intellect and the world as it is known. In a science fiction book, unknown worlds can exist, technology can be more advanced and time travel can allow the reader to explore the past and the future.
Historical fiction, a fiction genre, is a story that uses historical events, historical settings and historical people. However, the main characters are fictional. An author can give a reader a detailed walkthrough of history using the feet of a fictional character, therefore giving the reader a literary look at what it was like while entertaining them.