In the world of literature, the term “contemporary” is often used to describe books that are written and published in the present day. But what does this label really mean, and why is it so important? In this article, we’ll explore the meaning of “contemporary” in the context of books, and why it matters for readers and writers alike. Whether you’re a bookworm or a budding author, this guide will give you a fresh perspective on the power of contemporary literature. So, let’s dive in and discover what makes these books so special!
In the context of books, “contemporary” refers to works that have been written by authors who are alive today and that reflect the current time period in which we live. These books often explore themes and issues that are relevant to contemporary society, such as technology, politics, and social justice. They may also reflect the concerns and experiences of people living in the present day, and may be written in a style that is more accessible and relatable to modern readers. Contemporary books can include a wide range of genres, from literary fiction to popular YA novels, and they are often considered to be important cultural artifacts that help us understand and navigate the world around us.
Definition of Contemporary
Fiction set in the present day
Fiction set in the present day, also known as contemporary fiction, refers to stories that take place in the current time period in which they are written. This means that contemporary fiction is set in the world as we know it today, with all its modern technology, social norms, and political landscape.
Contemporary fiction often involves real-world events or issues, which makes it particularly relevant to readers who are interested in exploring the world around them. This type of fiction can provide a window into the lives of people living in different parts of the world, with different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.
Contemporary fiction can be found in a variety of genres, including romance, mystery, thriller, and literary fiction. Some popular examples of contemporary fiction include:
- “Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight
- “The Light We Lost” by Jill Santopolo
- “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
- “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty
- “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
Overall, contemporary fiction offers readers a chance to engage with the world around them and explore the human experience in a way that is relatable and relevant to their own lives.
Authentic portrayal of characters and settings
When writers describe their works as contemporary, they are emphasizing the authentic portrayal of characters and settings in their stories. This approach involves several key elements:
- Depicting the current culture, language, and behavior of characters: Contemporary writers aim to create realistic and relatable characters by capturing the essence of modern society. This includes incorporating the nuances of contemporary culture, such as fashion, music, and technology, as well as the social and political issues that shape people’s lives.
- Incorporating the nuances of modern society: To provide an authentic portrayal of contemporary life, writers must stay current with the latest trends, issues, and events. This requires a deep understanding of the complexities of modern society, including its strengths and weaknesses, as well as its impact on individuals and communities.
- Balancing relevance and timelessness: While contemporary writers strive to create stories that reflect the world as it is today, they also recognize the importance of timeless themes and issues. By incorporating universal themes and human experiences, contemporary writers can create stories that resonate with readers across generations and cultures.
Overall, the goal of contemporary writers is to create stories that feel authentic and relevant to readers, while also providing insight into the complexities of modern society.
Examples of Contemporary Books
- Young Adult: “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
- “Eleanor and Park” is a young adult novel that was published in 2013.
- The book follows the story of two teenagers, Eleanor and Park, who fall in love in the 1980s.
- The novel deals with themes of first love, bullying, and self-discovery.
- “Eleanor and Park” received critical acclaim and was a New York Times bestseller.
- Romance: “The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne
- “The Hating Game” is a romance novel that was published in 2018.
- The book follows the story of two enemies, Lucy and Joshua, who work together at the same company and are forced to compete for a promotion.
- As they compete against each other, they realize they have feelings for each other.
- “The Hating Game” received positive reviews and was a New York Times bestseller.
- Mystery: “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware
- “The Woman in Cabin 10” is a mystery novel that was published in 2016.
- The book follows the story of a woman named Lo Blacklock, who is a travel writer.
- While on a luxury cruise, Lo witnesses a murder and must solve the mystery before it’s too late.
- “The Woman in Cabin 10” received positive reviews and was a New York Times bestseller.
A memoir is a non-fiction literary genre that reflects on events and experiences from the author’s life. It often focuses on a particular aspect or period of their life and aims to convey a unique perspective on personal growth, transformation, or self-discovery. In the context of contemporary books, memoirs are written by individuals who have experienced significant events or lived through remarkable circumstances.
Example: “Educated” by Tara Westover
“Educated” by Tara Westover is a contemporary memoir that chronicles the author’s journey from a remote and isolated childhood in rural Idaho to her eventual enrollment at Cambridge University. The book delves into her complex relationship with her survivalist father, who kept his family isolated from mainstream society, and her decision to pursue higher education despite the odds.
Social issues are a category of non-fiction books that address contemporary problems, challenges, or controversies faced by society. These books aim to raise awareness, spark conversation, and encourage action towards resolving the issues addressed. Contemporary social issues books may focus on topics such as poverty, inequality, discrimination, or environmental concerns.
Example: “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson is a contemporary non-fiction book that addresses social issues, specifically the systemic injustices and inequalities within the American criminal justice system. The book highlights the work of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a non-profit organization founded by Bryan Stevenson, and the impact of racial bias, poverty, and unequal access to legal representation on marginalized communities.
Contemporary travel books document personal experiences, cultural encounters, and transformative journeys taken by the authors. These books often reflect on the significance of the travel experience, exploring themes such as self-discovery, personal growth, or cultural understanding.
Example: “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed is a contemporary travel memoir that recounts the author’s 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. The book delves into her personal struggles, the transformative power of the wilderness, and the connections she forms with other hikers along the way.
Characteristics of Contemporary Writing
In the context of books, authenticity refers to the representation of real-world issues and experiences that are reflective of the current culture and society. Authenticity is a key characteristic of contemporary writing, as it allows readers to connect with the material on a deeper level and provides a window into the world around them.
One way that contemporary writing achieves authenticity is by tackling real-world issues that are relevant to readers’ lives. These issues can range from political and social concerns to personal struggles and relationships. By addressing these topics, contemporary writers are able to create stories that resonate with readers and provide a sense of connection and understanding.
Another way that contemporary writing achieves authenticity is by reflecting the culture and society in which it was created. This can be done through the use of diverse characters, settings, and storylines that reflect the complexity and diversity of the world we live in. By presenting a range of perspectives and experiences, contemporary writers are able to create a more authentic and inclusive narrative that reflects the realities of the world around us.
Overall, authenticity is a crucial characteristic of contemporary writing, as it allows readers to connect with the material on a deeper level and provides a window into the world around us. Whether through the representation of real-world issues or the reflection of the culture and society in which it was created, contemporary writing offers a unique and powerful perspective on the world we live in.
- Emotional honesty in storytelling
- Contemporary writing often delves into complex and raw emotions, allowing readers to connect with the characters and their experiences on a deeper level.
- This vulnerability is a reflection of the author’s willingness to be honest and open about their own emotions and experiences, creating a sense of trust and authenticity with the reader.
- Authors willing to explore raw emotions and experiences
- Contemporary authors are not afraid to tackle difficult subjects and emotions, such as mental illness, relationships, and trauma, in their writing.
- This willingness to explore vulnerable topics allows for a more honest and authentic portrayal of the human experience, and can lead to a deeper understanding and empathy for others.
- Additionally, this willingness to explore vulnerable topics can also create a sense of catharsis for both the author and the reader, as they work through difficult emotions and experiences together.
In the context of books, “realism” refers to a literary style that emphasizes the portrayal of everyday life and experiences, rather than focusing on extraordinary or fantastical events. This style is characterized by a heightened attention to detail in depicting the ordinary, resulting in a sense of authenticity and believability that engages readers and draws them into the story.
One key aspect of realism in contemporary writing is the avoidance of sensationalism or melodrama. Instead, contemporary writers strive to create a sense of reality that is relatable to readers, capturing the complexities and nuances of everyday life in a way that feels authentic and true-to-life. This often involves a focus on character development and the exploration of universal themes and issues that resonate with readers on a personal level.
Another important aspect of realism in contemporary writing is the use of language that is both authentic and accessible. Contemporary writers often employ a conversational tone and colloquial language that reflects the way people actually speak and think, rather than using formal or stilted language that can feel out of touch with modern readers. This approach helps to create a sense of immediacy and intimacy between the reader and the story, allowing readers to feel like they are experiencing the events alongside the characters.
Overall, the realism found in contemporary writing is a reflection of the world around us, capturing the complexities and nuances of modern life in a way that feels honest and authentic. By focusing on the everyday and the ordinary, contemporary writers are able to create stories that resonate with readers on a deep and personal level, providing a reflection of the world that feels both familiar and new.
Why Read Contemporary Books?
Reading contemporary books can be incredibly beneficial as they provide a reflection of the current state of society. These books offer a unique perspective on the issues and events that are shaping our world today. By reading contemporary works, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and develop a more nuanced view of the complex issues that we face.
One of the main advantages of reading contemporary books is that they offer a lens through which to view current events and issues. These books often tackle the same issues that are currently being discussed in the news and in our communities. By reading about these issues in a fictional context, readers can gain a better understanding of the complexities of the issue and how it affects the people involved. This can help readers to develop a more informed opinion on the matter and can even inspire them to take action in their own lives.
In addition to providing insight into current events and issues, contemporary books also offer a reflection of the culture and society in which they were written. By reading these books, readers can gain a better understanding of the cultural and social norms of the time period in which the book was written. This can provide valuable insight into the history of a particular culture or society and can help readers to better understand the experiences of people from different backgrounds.
Overall, reading contemporary books is a great way to stay informed about the world around us and to gain a deeper understanding of the complex issues that shape our society. Whether you are looking to learn more about current events, culture, or history, contemporary books offer a valuable perspective that can help you to broaden your knowledge and expand your worldview.
- Characters and experiences that readers can connect with
- Authentic portrayal of the human experience
- Emotional depth and complexity
- Realistic representation of diverse cultures and perspectives
- Timely themes and issues that resonate with readers’ lives
- Universal themes and experiences
- Love, loss, and relationships
- Identity, belonging, and self-discovery
- Struggle, perseverance, and triumph over adversity
- Emotional connection to characters and storylines
- Empathy and understanding of different viewpoints
- Personal growth and transformation
- Meaningful reflections on life and human nature
- Authentic portrayal of the human experience
Reading contemporary books allows for an increasing representation of diverse voices and perspectives. This means that readers are exposed to a variety of experiences and cultures that may not have been represented as prominently in the past. This diversity in literature provides a more comprehensive understanding of the world and its inhabitants.
One of the main benefits of reading contemporary books is the exposure to diverse perspectives. These perspectives may come from authors who come from different cultural backgrounds, or they may come from authors who are members of marginalized communities. These voices often bring unique and fresh perspectives to literature, and can provide readers with a deeper understanding of different experiences.
Another aspect of diversity in contemporary literature is the representation of different experiences. Many contemporary books tackle topics that were not often discussed in the past, such as mental health, sexuality, and gender identity. These books provide readers with a more accurate representation of the human experience, and can help to break down stereotypes and misconceptions.
Additionally, contemporary books often reflect the current social and political climate. They may address current events, or explore issues that are relevant to society today. This makes them valuable tools for fostering discussions and understanding about important issues.
Overall, reading contemporary books allows for a greater diversity of voices and experiences, which can provide readers with a more comprehensive understanding of the world and its inhabitants.
Reading contemporary books offers a wealth of benefits for personal growth and self-awareness. Here are some reasons why:
- Encourages empathy and understanding
- One of the most significant advantages of reading contemporary books is that they allow readers to gain empathy and understanding for different perspectives and experiences. Contemporary books often explore complex social issues and human emotions, providing readers with insights into the lives of others. By reading about characters from diverse backgrounds and cultures, readers can broaden their worldview and develop a deeper appreciation for the richness of human experience.
- Promotes personal growth and self-awareness
- Reading contemporary books can also promote personal growth and self-awareness. Many contemporary authors explore themes such as identity, relationships, and personal struggles, which can resonate with readers on a deep level. By seeing reflections of their own experiences in the pages of a book, readers can gain a greater understanding of themselves and their place in the world. Additionally, contemporary books often challenge readers to question their assumptions and beliefs, leading to personal growth and development.
1. What does “contemporary” mean in the context of books?
In the context of books, “contemporary” refers to literature that is written by authors who are alive today and that deals with issues and themes that are relevant to the present time. Contemporary books can be fiction or non-fiction and may cover a wide range of topics, including politics, social issues, relationships, and personal growth. These books often reflect the concerns and experiences of the authors and their contemporaries, and may offer unique insights into the world we live in.
2. How can I identify contemporary books?
One way to identify contemporary books is to look at the publication date. Books that have been published within the last few years are likely to be considered contemporary. However, it’s important to note that not all books that are currently in print are necessarily considered contemporary. For example, a book that was first published in the 1950s but has recently been reissued may still be considered a classic rather than a contemporary work.
3. What are some examples of contemporary books?
There are many examples of contemporary books that have been published in recent years. Some popular examples of contemporary fiction include “Reasons to Stay Alive” by Matt Haig, “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, and “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. In non-fiction, contemporary books may include works on current events, such as “The 1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones, or memoirs and personal essays, such as “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion.
4. Why is it important to read contemporary books?
Reading contemporary books can be important for a number of reasons. First, it allows readers to stay up-to-date on current events and issues that are relevant to their lives. Second, contemporary books often reflect the diversity of experiences and perspectives that exist in the world today, which can broaden readers’ understanding of different cultures and communities. Finally, reading contemporary books can help readers to engage with the ideas and concerns of their contemporaries, and to participate in important conversations about the world we live in.