When you spend a lot of time around new books you begin to pick up on some trends. One or two popular books focus on a certain topic, or provide a comparable reading experience, and before you know it publishers are churning out piles of similarly-themed books. In recent years, we’ve seen a few notable trends: non-fiction self-help with censored swear words in the title (thanks to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck); he says/she says domestic thrillers (thanks to Gone Girl); and psychological suspense featuring an unreliable narrator battling substance abuse issues and/or psychological breakdown (thanks to The Girl on the Train).
The following are a few literary trends that I predict we’ll be seeing more of in 2019 and beyond.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang appears to be a novel of contemporary women’s fiction (read: chick-lit). Chick-lit has a particular “look” so I believe the book’s marketers knew what they were doing when they gave this book a sweet, illustrated cover design and charming title. The Kiss Quotient, however, is straight up steamy romance! It follows a successful, autistic woman who hires a male escort to teach her how to be good in bed. Think The Rosie Project meets Erotica. Hoang has another, similarly steamy book titled The Bride Test coming out in 2019. Her books cover off a few emerging trends: steamy romance packaged as chick-lit, mainstream romance featuring characters who are minorities, and romance featuring characters who are on the autism spectrum or are somehow differently abled.
Locked Room Mysteries
Agatha Christie did it best, but now locked room mysteries are back in full force. From Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood to Shari Lapena’s The Unwanted Guest, this theme is suddenly becoming very popular and shows no sign of letting up. A new one that people are talking about is The Hunting Party, which is about a group of old friends trapped together at a hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands. A historic blizzard rolls in, one of the friends turns up dead, and suddenly no one can be trusted.
Diversity in Picture Book Biographies
The advent of the Internet nearly spelled the demise of juvenile non-fiction…but juvenile non-fiction adapted! Now instead of books about general information, you are seeing a lot of narrative non-fiction in children’s literature, specifically narrative biographical non-fiction. In other words, books that are non-fiction but tell an interesting story, not just offer dry information about a subject. This new breed of books tend to have gorgeous, creative illustrations and often focus on important historic figures who have been traditionally overlooked because they were women and/or minorities. A couple super popular options include Fierce: Women Who Shaped Canada by Lisa Dalrymple and Shark Lady by Jess Keating
Expect to find escapism in literature during times of political unrest? Not anymore! It seems the literary market is only becoming a continuation of the cuckoo news cycle. The President is Missing by James Patterson (and co-authored by Bill Clinton) was one of the bestselling books of last year. The Hellfire Club by CNN’s Jake Tapper was another popular one.
Narrative True Crime
Netflix is all about True Crime these days, the podcast world has been all about True Crime for several years now…and this no doubt spells a trend for the literary world as well! I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, for example, was one of the most popular and talked-about books of last year. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann was huge in 2017. These books are true crime, but a new breed of true crime; one that is read by a more general audience (not just crime serial killer buffs), critically acclaimed, and are said to have literary merit. I expect we will see more of this kind of thing in the future.
Any of the books mentioned below can be reserved from your branch of the County of Lennox & Addington Libraries or online at www.CountyLibrary.ca.
Originally published in The Napanee Beaver.