It's no secret on this blog that I have a love/hate relationship with contemporary fiction. Throughout my time book blogging though, I've come to learn that I don't actually hate the genre as a whole. I was simply reading the wrong type of contemporary fiction for me. In the past year, I can honestly say that one of my favourite books was a contemporary novel, and that really means something, considering I used to avoid it like the plague. The key, for me, was identifying the types of contemporary fiction that will and won't work for me. For example:
When I read Hate List, I was absolutely floored by the depth of despair that not just one, but many characters, faced in their lives after the impact of a true-to-life event. The shooting and the list set the stage for a powerhouse drama that makes you search deep within yourself, wondering how you might react in such a circumstance. Sometimes it Happens errs on the side of fluffier relationship dramas that, for me, don't work. In many ways though, it too explores the lives of the characters after a true-to-life event and chronicles the depth and magnitude of it all. But for me, I found that it was much more limited in scope, and the emotional connection just wasn't there.
I've learned that I need my contemporary novels to be gritty, raw and real. I want them to evoke emotions and embrace the reality of life - good or bad. I don't read contemporary for escapism - I have fantasy and paranormal for that. I read contemporary novels to understand myself and the world around me better. This isn't a hard and fast rule though because there are softer stories that work for me, too. However, if you find yourself looking for more realistic contemporary fiction, here are a few of my favourites:
And, as one who doesn't love softer, more heavily romantic contemporary novels for the most part, there are exceptions to every rule! Here are some of my favourites that don't necessarily fit my own self-imposed ideal:
^^^ And yes, there are issues in these novels, too, but the relationships take center stage.
What are your thoughts on contemporary fiction? Is there a specific genre that you, too, struggle to read but have found the exceptions to the rule? I'd love to hear it!