Beyond Genres: What is the Mood of this Book?!

By: Hadia Hajo, Editor and Publications Specialist


In the enchanting realm of literature, genres play a vital role in shaping the reading experience. From the heartwarming embrace of emotional narratives to the spine-tingling excitement of adventurous tales, and the intriguing mysteries woven within dark plots, each genre offers a distinct journey for the soul. Within these literary worlds, readers find solace, inspiration, and a place to ponder life's complexities.

Genres refer to the categorization of books based on their content, themes, and writing style. They serve as broad classifications that help readers identify the overall nature of a book and its intended audience. Some common book genres include fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and many more. Genres provide readers with a general idea of what to expect from a book in terms of its storyline, setting, and tone.

On the other hand, book moods focus on the emotional atmosphere that a book creates for its readers. Moods are more about the feelings and emotions evoked during the reading process. They capture the emotional essence of a story and how it resonates with the reader on a deeper level. Book moods can be described using adjectives like heartwarming, suspenseful, inspiring, thought-provoking, melancholic, thrilling, or uplifting. The mood of a book is often subjective and can vary from reader to reader based on their personal experiences and emotional responses.

A good book is not merely defined by its genre but by the depth of its storytelling and the connection it forges with readers. It possesses the power to transport readers to far-off lands, immerse them in a tapestry of emotions, and leave them pondering profound ideas. A good book resonates with its readers, inviting them to contemplate life's complexities, embrace empathy, and explore the depths of human emotions.

While genres provide a structural framework for classifying books, moods offer an emotional lens through which readers can connect with the story. A single book can belong to multiple genres, reflecting its diverse elements, but it typically evokes a dominant mood that lingers with readers long after they finish reading.

The relationship between genres and moods is not mutually exclusive; instead, they complement each other to enhance the overall reading experience. For example, a book may belong to the mystery genre, indicating a plot-driven narrative with suspenseful elements, while also evoking a moody atmosphere of intrigue and anticipation.

At Qatar National Library, we take immense pleasure in curating a collection of recommended readings based on book mood. Our team of dedicated librarians has carefully selected a range of exceptional books across various genres and moods. Whether you seek emotional depth, thrilling adventures, or thought-provoking reflections, we have something to suit your reading preferences.

To explore our handpicked selection of books, simply click on the book title in the table below it will lead you to the e-copy of the book in our database, granting you access to the captivating worlds crafted by talented authors.

Discover the joy of reading and let the words on these pages illuminate your mind, touch your heart, and leave an everlasting impression. Books have the ability to transport us to places we've never been, introduce us to characters we'll never forget, and impart wisdom that will stay with us forever.

We invite you to step into the world of literature, where limitless possibilities await you. Embrace the magic of books and let your reading journey begin. Happy reading!

Before the Coffee Gets Cold Toshikazu Kawaguchi Emotional In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a cafe that offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles Hiro Arikawa Sad This novel gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road on a journey with no other purpose than to visit three of Satoru's longtime friends. Or so Nana is led to believe.
The Memory Police Yoko Ogawa Dark On an unnamed island, objects are disappearing. Most of the inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few able to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police.
Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro Sad Hailsham is an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.
1Q84 Haruki Murakami Mysterious A young woman follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” 
Think Again  Adam Grant Informative This book examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people's minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life.
Atlas of the Heart Brené Brown Reflective This book takes us on a journey through 87 of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human.
Burnout Emily Nagoski Informative This book explains why women experience burnout differently than men, and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.
The Comfort Book Matt Haig Inspiring This book is for anyone in search of hope, looking for a path to a more meaningful life, or in need of a little encouragement. 
Find Your Unicorn Space Eve Rodsky Inspiring  This book is an inspirational guide for setting new personal goals, rediscovering your interests, cultivating creativity, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space.
The Martian  Andy Weir Adventurous Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
How High We Go in the Dark Sequoia Nagamatsu Emotional In 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika Crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.
Project Hail Mary  Andy Weir Adventurous Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission, and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
Sea of Tranquility Emily St. John Mandel Mysterious An 18-year-old crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal.
Recursion Blake Crouch Adventurous At first, it looks like a disease. An epidemic that spreads through no known means, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. But the force that’s sweeping the world is no pathogen. It’s just the first shock wave.
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn Dark On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is their fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when his clever and beautiful wife disappears.
The Last Thing He Told Me Laura Dave Mysterious Before he disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear,  she knows exactly to whom the note refers.
The Paris Apartment  Lucy Foley Mysterious A locked room mystery, set in a Paris apartment building in which every resident has something to hide.
The Maidens Alex Michaelides Dark A spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession.
In the Woods Tana French Mysterious As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods.
The Book Thief Markus Zusak Sad A foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing books. She learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids in 1939.
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr Emotional The paths of a blind French girl and a German boy collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford Reflective A historical novel told in two parallel storylines, centered around the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to internment camps.
Lilac Girls Martha Hall Kelly Dark Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.
Atonement Ian McEwan Emotional A historical novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness, which follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the 20th century.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone Lori Gottlieb Reflective A memoir of a therapist, who portrays a difficult time in her professional and personal life. The author shows her world as both a therapist and someone receiving therapy. She explores five patients, including herself, and their different scenarios and viewpoints on life.
Tiny Beautiful Things Cheryl Strayed Inspiring A collection of essays compiled from the author's "Dear Sugar" advice column, which she wrote anonymously for an online literary magazine. The columns focus as much on her literary memoir as they do on advice and self-help.
We Were Dreamers Simu Liu Inspiring  The star of Marvel's first Asian superhero film, Shang-Chi tells his own origin story of being a Chinese immigrant, his battles with cultural stereotypes and his own identity, becoming a TV star, and landing the role of a lifetime.
Crying in H Mart Michelle Zauner Sad A memoir about family, food, grief, love, and growing up Korean American. The author loses her mother, and starts cooking recipes from the Korean cuisine to reminisce about her.
Taste  Stanley Tucci Informative A charming memoir from award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci, of life in and out of the kitchen.
Circe Madeline Miller Emotional An adaptation of various Greek myths set during the Greek Heroic Age, such as The Odyssey, told from the perspective of the witch Circe.
Norse Mythology Neil Gaiman Adventurous This book is a retelling of several stories from Norse mythology. The author fashions these primeval tales into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds.
Ariadne Jennifer Saint Sad Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid's stories of heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.
A Touch of Darkness Scarlett St. Clair Dark A dark and enthralling modern contemporary reimagining of the Hades and Persephone Greek myth.
The Odyssey Homer Adventurous The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home, through the retelling of myths and legends.

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