General fiction reading guide

General fiction genre guide

Literary fiction, classics, humour, and the stories of realistic people and places.

General fiction is a broad category in which you'll find writing that doesn't fit into any particular genre. Usually it deals with real, contemporary settings and recognisable characters.

General fiction sometimes explores issues related to power, politics, the environment, relationships or the struggles of everyday life. General fiction can be light-hearted, upbeat or satirical, or more serious, thought-provoking or emotionally powerful.

Whatever your preference, our lists below are full of award-winning reading from New Zealand and the world.

General fiction reading lists

General fiction - eBooks & eAudiobooks

From literary award-winners, cult classics, and mythic fiction, to comedies, chick lit, and uplit – this list has it all!

General fiction sub-genre lists

General fiction - Social Commentary

These books dissect society's quirks and injustices, serving up thought-provoking tales that'll make you ponder, laugh, cry and question.

Sad Girl Reads

You've heard of hot girl summer but have you heard of hot sad girl reads? Cool, aloof and unapproachable women in bleakly humorous stories.

General fiction - Nice reads

Good reads that aren't too thick and are smart, irreverent and entertaining. Titles you can immerse yourself in during a summer break.

General fiction - Humour

Whether your preference is dark and scathing, satirical, political, serious or farcical, there's something here to tickle every funny bone.

General fiction - Award Winners

Outstanding writing, well-drawn characters and compelling plots - read winners from NZ and around the world.

Christian Fiction - Inspirational and uplifting

Thought-provoking reads about human nature and the challenges we face throughout life (with no violence or profanity).

General fiction - Life & Love

Lots of character development, and mostly relatable, everyday people dealing with raw feelings and real domestic issues.

General fiction - UpLit

For times when you need a bit of a lift - well written stories that often feature characters that are slightly outside of the mainstream.

General fiction - Contemporary

The realities and moralities of modern life explored by the best writers of our generation, including major award winning titles.

General fiction - Mythic Fiction

Fiction inspired by folklore, myth, indigenous traditions, or early literary works - re-imagined plots and characters.


21st Century Classics

The most-read and most-loved novels of the 21st century so far, full of heart-wrenching themes and unforgettable characters.

LGBTQIA + Fiction - Classics

The 'classics' - these books paved the way for the LGBTQIA+ fiction we know and love today.

Classic Novels - Teens

If you need a 'classic' read for NCEA or just want some great books that have stood the test of time - all published before 1960.

Cult Classics

Lesser known classics, divisive titles, and local classics - books that have a passionate readership, are genre defining, or genre defying.

General fiction - 19th century classics

If you have already read your way through better known 19th century novelists why not try some lesser known literary classics?

General fiction - 20th Century Classics

If you are looking for elegantly crafted fiction or even a life changing masterpiece, try one of these classic authors.

Reading in many languages

Borrow fiction and non-fiction books or eBooks in dozens of languages.

Find fiction in the catalogue

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