What genre is this?

Circumstances have come to pass such that I find myself the de facto curator of a small, informal, donation-based library. I’m trying my best to get it organized, mostly because it being disorganized is like an itch I need to scratch. It’s been suggested to me that the works of Tom Clancy and John Grisham (neither of which I’ve read) are in the same genre, and so ought to be shelved together.

OK, fine, I like having works of the same genre together. But just what genre is that? If I print out a sign for that section of shelf, what should it say? “Thrillers”, maybe? And what are some other authors who would also belong in that genre?

Most bookstores breakdown “fiction” into categories that give some (broad) indication of the type of work.
Clancy and Grisham are usually in a category called “Thrillers” or “Action”. Other authors (and there are a LOT) would be people like Robert Ludlum.


Or “Thrillers,” I guess, though that’s fairly broad, and within that broad category the two authors aren’t a whole lot alike: Clancy wrote techno/political thrillers, while Grisham writes legal thrillers.

Are you looking for donations? If so, where are you located?

There could be a whole “Superhero Lawyers” section, I guess. :slight_smile:

Thudlow suggested the only category I can think of that unites those two authors: bestsellers. Maybe airport books? :smiley: I don’t think of Grisham’s books as thrillers.

We generally maintain a pretty good equilibrium between books coming in and going out (it’s on an informal basis of “take what you like, bring it back if you feel like it”), so no, I am not actively soliciting donations.

cormac262, we also have a fair bit of Ludlum, so I can certainly put him in there, too. I’ve also been told that Patterson, Custler, and Coonts fit in, too.

And I had sort of figured that they were different genres, myself, but apparently there’s a significant overlap in who reads them.

Since you describe your library as “small, informal”, I’d just file both of them under “Fiction”. “Thrillers” might be the best place for them, but it might not…or it might be good for Clancy but not for Grisham…or maybe for certain novels, but not others.

Keep it simple; make it easy for your patrons to find what they are looking for. I think the ‘traditional’ categories of “Mystery”, “SciFi/Fantasy”, and “Fiction” (which is simply a catch-all here) are a good place to start. Then, if things are too unwieldy, start breaking things down into subcategories: “Thrillers”, “Historical Fiction”, “Crime”, “Horror”, etc.

I’ve heard of “techno thrillers”, and that might include books that are heavy on medical and legal devices.

His first big hit (The Firm) definitely was, and so were several others (e.g., Pelican Brief), but some were not (A Time To Die).

Still, overall, they could easily fit into a Thriller shelf. Categorizations are never perfect. I believe we even have a formal mathematical proof of that, should we accept the Axiom of Choice.

Where’s our “Ask a Library Scientist” thread when we need it?

So far, we have a Science Fiction section (because it’s me doing the organizing, even though Tom Clancy alone has more shelf space than all the SF combined) and a Romance section (mostly paperbacks with a Fabio lookalike on the cover), and I’m thinking we need a Mystery section, too. For whatever reason, we don’t have enough fantasy for a section of its own (just three books, so far as I can tell, two of which are in Young Adult). That still leaves a decent-sized wall full of general fiction, though, in which it is not easy to find things.

So people donate a lot of Tom Clancy books, eh?

Perhaps his category should be Books You Know You’ll Never Want To Read Again.

When I was organizing my digital library in Calibre, I placed these two authors in ‘Thrillers’ with a sub genre of legal thriller and spy thriller.

My category of spy thriller isn’t technically all spies, but includes works which I consider similar to one another…Clancy, Ludlum, Fleming, etc. I know where to go when I want to read ‘bad guys v good guys on a global scale’. That just seemed like a really long tag.

Come back when you’re trying to sort Crime/Mystery/Suspense/Thriller.