Present-Day Paperbacks

Literature audiences are constantly changing, and authors are keeping up with the trends to create new, fresh novels.

Carsten Oyer, Editor-in-Chief

You have probably been reading classic books since the beginning of your education. Books such as “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “A Tale of Two Cities” have been around for long enough, and have discussed powerful topics such as redemption, morality, warfare, loyalty, and justice. Bookaxe defines a classic book as “a book that has stood the test of time,” or one which has retained its popularity for about 20-40 years. However, classic books can seem as daunting as they are exciting. How many times have you thought about reading a book such as “The Great Gatsby,” only to decide against it? Now, modern authors are finding ways to weasel themselves into the spotlight with books inspired for the contemporary audience.

The modern audience is incredibly different from audiences who read and reviewed “Wuthering Heights” or “Crime and Punishment.” People now want a sufficient amount of writing- not too much, not too little. Everyone has always wanted believable characters, but the importance of character connection is even more stressed. Sharp, yet concise dialogue is a huge “must,” and it needs to convey the relationships between characters. No contemporary reader wants circumlocution (saying little with a lot of words) and would prefer that a novel gets its point across clearly and briefly while still maintaining its value. One of the greatest points to be made is showing and not telling; people no longer wish to be told everything that is going on in the history of everything. Instead, novels need to use descriptive language in order to ensure that readers are thoroughly entertained.

That being said, modern authors have found ways to write books that appeal to this audience. One of the most popular examples of these would be the “Harry Potter” series, written by J.K. Rowling. Rowling created a stunning plot complete with amazing imagery and lovable characters. This is why the series has gone on to gain fame all over the world. Dystopian novels such as “The Giver” or the “Divergent” series play at an international desire and struggle for perfect and blissful society, only to reveal a corrupt background. In this way, these novels are more of a contemporary representation of books akin to George Orwell’s “1984” or Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” The genre of mystery has also changed in countless ways since its creation. According to NPR, the first widely-accepted mystery novel is Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” written in 1841. As mystery novels became popular, they reflected the society in which they were written in, such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes,” which provides a firsthand account of Victorian society, according to The genre has changed so much that new subgenres have been produced, consisting of thriller, crime, suspense, true crime, cozy mystery, and noir fiction, as stated by The Washington Independent Review of Books.

Even elementary-level books have changed. Unlike Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat,” a book complete with fun art, nonsensical humor, and amazing wordplay, modern children’s books focus on celebrating different aspects of everyday life with a greater focus on colorful artwork, such as “The Covers Of My Book are Too Far Apart,” written by Vivian French and illustrated by Nigel Baines.

Ultimately, a change in literature has become increasingly evident. Authors are turning from the styles which gave us Alexander Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Cristo” to “The Poppy War,” a novel written by R. F. Kuang and inspired by Asian history. We will continue to hold the classics close to our hearts, but they will always be surrounded by the new releases written just for our generation.