Sunday, 22 July 2018

Chuckles Chat #74 Scenarios We Love And Hate in Contemporary

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

NB: I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus, or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account.   

Over the weeks I'm looking at our book buying life. By this what I mean is, what are the scenarios in a book blurb that make us really want to pick up that book and start reading? What do we love about the genre and what puts us off?

What is contemporary? According to the dictionary 'belonging to or occurring in the present.'  On various book sites I have sometimes seen this expanded to meaning from the 1960's onwards but I just stick with the idea of reasonably recent novels! I have to admit that this is one genre that I very rarely read now. I have experimented with the genre on and off through the years but I don't dabble much in it anymore. I am more comfortable with other genres and tend to stick to them these days.

Back around 2009/2010 I used to read novels set in Asia, Africa and Europe which were about the lives of ordinary people in all kinds of situations, books like The White Tiger, The Cellist of Sarajevo and The Kite Runner.
I also went through a spell of going for the really sad books that depressed me and made me cry. I did love these in a way but bad spells with my own depression started to make these books feel a lot more painful to read and harder to shake off. In the end I had to stop reading them completely as they affected my mood too much. The books I read then were ones like The Five People You Meet In Heaven, The Notebook, Nights in Rodante, The Book Thief. The Notebook was the one of these selections that did disappoint me but I liked the others when I read them.

I have tried some YA contemporary over the years but although I found the odd good book, I found a lot of clangers. As a kid I read good ones like Queen Rider. The Fault In Our Stars and Ways To Live Forever were amongst the very few that I did like though I doubt I'd read them again. I didn't like things like Speak, When Mr Dog Bites, Before I Die, The Virgin Suicides, The Shock Of The Fall, The Honest Truth, I Was Here, Girls Like Us, Paper Towns, Will Grayson Will Grayson, Looking For Alaska, The Lovely Bones and Wonder. I did find things like Entangled and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time more interesting. I think the problem is that my waning interest in YA and it's tropes and teen angst have made it harder to find the good ones in this genre that I might like.

I also looked at adult books that were on subjects like The Crowded Bed, Notes on a Scandal, Never Let Me Go, The Time Traveller's Wife, The Silver Linings Playbook, American Wife and Still Alice. I had a bit more success with these books, also finding some good ones about missing children like The Weight of Silence and Unstolen. I think what that tells me is that things with a gritty plot or mystery might appeal more to me than other types of book in the genre. The trouble is, I don't want to hunt through an entire genre to find the few that I might like, unless I spot something on another blog that catches the eye! I think the kind of books I'm looking for are more likely to turn up in the mystery-thriller genre and that is a topic for another day!

One thing I will say about YA contemporary is that the authors seem to be tackling a lot of subjects that might have been avoided in the past. I see a lot of books on abuse, teen pregnancy, racism, school shootings, sexuality and so on. When I was at school the only books we found on teenage issues were Judy Blume and similar authors, and there was not a lot of it around. Now, I am pleased to see such a range of books where kids can read about things that interest or concern them, even if I won't be reading them personally. 

What kind of contemporary do you read? What topics do you enjoy reading about in the genre? What topics do you avoid reading? Which topics would you like to see more books on?


  1. I read contemporary fiction. It’s not my favorite genre because the romance tends to take over the entire plot. I don’t care if the characters get together, but romantic angst alone won’t hold my attention for hundreds of pages. A lot of other stuff needs to be happening.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Yeah I agree with you. There needs to be something good to hold a plot together in most genres if romance is also introduced.

  2. I do read contemporary's and usually they are really from "this time" frame. It is usually love stories and horror - present day. Well, I won't shy from a book if it is in anytime frame but I like more recent reading.


    1. I prefer books in a modern setting too. It has to sound great to make me want to go far back in time.