Welcome to the first LTB in March, everyone! This is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky and Dani on their respective blogs, where we take community suggested topics about books/reading and discuss them and share our views!
Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where they discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.
Prompt for March 5 (Suggested by M.T. Wilson @ The Last Book On The Left):
Have you noticed any trends in the genres/categories you read in the last few years? What seems to be trending now? What do you think the next trend will be? What trends would you like to see? Are trends healthy for the book world?
So I would say my main categories are mysteries and thrillers which are really the only kinds of books I can comment on. However, I don’t always read things in chronological order (of publishing) and there were many breaks in the past as well, so I don’t know if I can say too too much about trends that I see.
I don’t know if anybody else agrees, but I don’t think mysteries and thrillers have changed all that much over time. The idea of a whodunnit is so classic: mysterious circumstances of death, many people with a motive, red herrings optional. A tragic hero rising up to right a wrong or pursue justice. Or a brilliant detective who makes a thorough investigation to uncover the buried truth.
Thrillers also follow common tropes and themes, where it is usually revolving around something that is seemingly perfect. But when the layers of secrets are revealed, something very ugly and sinister always hides behind the façade. Or the protagonist is searching into a mystery that starts to endanger their own life when they come too close to the truth.
So in my opinion, the overall setting of these books haven’t changed too much. I think what has changed and evolved a bit are the characters that are involved. I am definitely seeing more diverse representation and I appreciate that immensely.
Another thing I can kind of see happening in the more recent novels that I have read is that authors can play more and more on “expected” tropes. The evil father secretly pulling the strings, the quiet neighbour you barely heard about half the book, an ex-girlfriend from 10 years back coming to haunt you – for someone who has read many such books, I have come to expect many different “surprising” twists. But authors still come up with many ways to drop false hints, because I’m expecting it to be that guy, or that girl, etc. so it really works both ways. It always amazes me that these authors can still pull new (yet plausible) tricks out of the hat to surprise and intrigue me.
I wish I could have a more clear idea of what trends might be coming up, but one thing I have already seen popping up more is the modern day COVID scene. It just feels so relevant as this pandemic drags on and on. Of course, I read books perhaps to get away from all that, but it is also nice to see books being written to reflect this part of our history as well. Undoubtedly these books will continue to change and adapt to our increasing diverse representation as well as incorporate modern history.
Lastly, I think trends are healthy for the book world. They produce a kind of linear path that people can adapt to (should they so choose) or they can intentionally deviate from the norm to provide a more unique view. Either way I don’t think people should be forced to follow a trend or not, although I’m not a writer, so I can’t say for sure (perhaps editors prefer certain trendy tropes). As a reader though, I think a trend done well is still a good book, and a good book that deviates from the trend is also very special! At the very least, I don’t think trends should do much harm.
What do you all think though? Are trends possibly inhibiting authors from unleashing their ultimate creativity? And how much do trends actually affect the sales or inceptions of books? Let me know in the comments below!