Contemporary: A gem hidden in plain sight

Whenever I mention that contemporary is one of my favourite genres I always get asked why contemporary? It really isn’t the most popular genre and many people find it cringe-y. Today I am here to talk about why I think contemporary is a gem hidden in plain sight. Not that I need to justify myself, I just feel it would be enlightening.

I understand where the despise of the genre comes from because some contemporary novels, particularly YA ones, can be very cliché and eye-roll worthy however finding and reading contemporary novels that are original and beautifully written is a game-changer. And let me tell you, they do exist.

For me, the thing about contemporary that makes me love it is that it gives hope. Every single time I read a contemporary novel, I feel hopeful for the future and these novels have on many occasions helped to restore my faith in humanity. This life can be so hard and stressful and with the news getting worst and worst by the hour, holding on to hope can feel like holding onto water. Reading something that allows you to hope again is one of the most refreshing experiences.

I am the kind of person who finds it easier reading about real life compared to fantastical worlds and contemporary is perfect for that. They are educational as well as inspiring and hugely entertaining. They often contain strong characters who have taught me to have courage, be brave and to believe in myself. Any book that can do that is a good book in my opinion.

I feel like there is a massive misconception about contemporary that needs to be cleared up. The general opinion seems to be that all contemporary books are fluffy love stories jam-packed with clichés. All style(read: fluff) and no substance. This could not be more wrong. Take it from a bookworm who has read more contemporary than anything else, contemporary novels that are done well have substance, grit and strength with just the perfect amount of fluff. Even though contemporaries are primarily centered around love stories, most of them include many important themes and contain discussions about topics that are not only relevant to our times but also interesting. Just to name a few: mental health, suicide, grief, friendship, illness, building relationships, racism, sexism.

A topic I really love reading and learning about is human nature and life itself. Humans fascinate me. I have found contemporary novels to be the best genre in terms of showcasing humanity(along with Historical Fiction). Reading contemporary allows me to learn about emotion, the way people think, the reasons behind why humans do certain things and about the things they have experienced. In a nutshell, contemporary novels have given me a greater insight into the human condition than my own life experiences(mind you, I am only 18). They have helped me become a more mature, communicative, open-minded and confident individual.

When I think back to the little girl I used to be who lacked self-confidence and self-assurance compared to the women I am today, who is sure, confident and willing to go after what she wants, I am shocked. I find it hard to believe that I have grown so much yet here I stand. I believe that a large part of who I am today and the kind of women I have become can be attributed to the books I’ve read. I could even say that they have changed my life. It seems quite dramatic speaking about books in this way but as readers we all know that the books we read have the ability to shape us into the people we are and contemporary books have played a part in shaping me into who I am now.

I think that contemporary novels are majorly underrated as a whole. Whilst they can be cliché and a bit silly many of them are truly great. You just have to be willing to look for the life-changing ones.

So tell me, have I convinced you to pick up the next contemporary novel you see or are you still wary of the genre?

Thank you for reading my impassioned ramblings about contemporary. If you’ve read all the way through, well done! Until next time. . .




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