Curious about what’s trending in the book world? Here are our top 4 current bookish trends that we’re loving. Click the titles for more information and to buy.
1. More diversity in books
This is cropping up a lot lately. I started seeing the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks on Twitter and Instagram awhile back, and authors really seemed to respond. There’s more African- American characters, more LGBT+ characters, and more books by people of color now. A lot of them, such as A Love Song For Mr. Dakota and Rage to Live (both new, $4.99, LGBT+ fiction) are YA. I liked Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (used, YA, $0.99), which has a transgender main character. I also enjoyed Girls Like used, $0.99Me by Nina Packebush (new, $8.99), which features a pansexual character, a transgender character adopted from Ethiopa, some lesbian characters, and a gay character. Another favourite among myself and some of my friends is The Second Mango, by Shira Glassman (new, $8.99); Shulamit, the main character, is lesbian and Jewish.
2. More focus on suicide and mental health
Suicide and mental health have become a pretty big issue lately. It seems like every couple of days, something pops up about somebody’s suicide. Occasionally, in Goodreads groups I'm in, something crops how one of my friends there is suicidal, depressed, or anxious. It’s been really nice seeing so many authors tackling the issue in their books. One of the main characters in Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart(used, $0.99) has bipolar disorder, and there’s mention of a suicide toward the end of the book. Daelyn, the main character in By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters, attempted suicide and is still suicidal, and was bullied for years before attempting it.
3. More “serious” books
For awhile, a lot of the books cropping up on Goodreads, at the library, or at friends' bookstores were lighter stuff. Romance-y stuff. There were a lot of books by Jennifer Weiner and and Jen Lancaster. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I promise not to judge you if you love reading that sort of thing, but it’s not really my cup of tea usually. There’s a lot more books coming out dealing with important issues, though- everything from immigration and the things that cause people to immigrate, legally or otherwise, to domestic abuse and teenage pregnancy. Dear America: Notes From an Undocumented Immigrant by Jose Antonio Vargas (used, $0.99) might just be my new favourite “serious” book; it’s the memoir of a man whose mom arranged to immigrate to America illegally as a kid, and didn’t realise it until he was 16 and tried to apply for a driver’s license. Not Exactly Love by Betty Hafner (used, $0.99) is a memoir about a woman who survived a marriage to an abusive man in the 1970s. He had just gotten back from Woodstock and started a job at Betty's school, where she taught French. She was "woefully single"; he was edgy, handsome, and a hippie. It wasn't until after they married that he got physically violent with her.
4. More books from independent publishers
When I visited Greenlight Bookstore in New York City about four years ago, it was the first time I’d ever seen a bookstore dedicate a part of the bookstore to independent publishers. Granted, it was only a single table, but I still thought it was pretty cool. Later, I started seeing more articles on how independent publishers are pushing the boundaries with the books they publish. I really like a lot of the independent publishers I’ve seen so far; they tend to take more risks with books, publish stuff a lot of bigger publishers won’t, so they often publish edgier, more interesting books. One recent book I loved, published by Lanternfish Press, is The Quelling by Barbara Barrow; sisters Addie and Dorian are beautiful and clever, but have spent most of their young lives in a locked psych ward, diagnosed with a rare disorder. I also really enjoyed the Steel Empire series by J.L. Gribble (available individually for $14.95 or as a bundle for $49.99), about a vampire mercenary, Victory, her daughter, Toria, and the daughter's partner, Kane.