On Trend

I was putting on a matte bright pink lipstick the other day, which is perfectly on trend for this fashion season, when I thought about book trends. While some of us switch out our wardrobes, hairstyles and makeup at the dawn of each new season, we often stick to what we know and love when it comes to books.  But there are trends out there…both reading trends and writing trends….and the question is, should you read to trend?

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Every few years, the book world is blasted by a “brand new” trend, whether it is vampires or zombies, space ships or chick-lit, and everyone clamors to read. We see this quite a bit at the library. A book becomes a best-seller, and suddenly, not only does everyone want to read it…there are dozens of copycat books just waiting to replace it on the shelves. Authors are cautioned not to “write to trend”. It takes so long for a book to hit the shelves from inception to production that by the time a writer finishes a book written on a hot topic, the trend might be cooling.  It would be a big waste of time.

But how about reading on trend? Right now, we’re seeing lots of different trends for different readers.  In the juvenile world, fantasy has given way to the dystopian worlds that teens have been gorging on for the last few years.  And funny books are the be all and end all right now, especially funny books for boys! It seemed like no one was writing books for boys in the 8 – 12 year old range, and now that’s one of the dominating forces on the lists we order from.

In the young adult area, teens are starting to read more sci-fi and contemporary fiction. While thrillers and series are still in high demand, we’ll probably see re-runs through this age group as younger readers start to come up and want to read Hunger Games and many of the other dystopian series that were so popular for so long. Even the adults are starting to drift out of this section now.  Thank goodness there is something emerging called New Adult! (A transition from young adult books into adult fiction where the main characters are either in college/university or just starting out in the world. It’ll be interesting to see how popular this becomes.)

A few years back, the adult shelves were stacked with chick-lit….funny or irreverent fiction where the main character has a witty or sarcastic voice and gets into all kinds of wacky trouble. These days, we rarely see these types of books even cross the desk. While mysteries, thrillers and literary fiction are as popular as ever, we’re seeing more people reading historical fiction, probably due to the popularity of programs like Downton Abbey.

And I must say, our non-fiction bins are full of biographies by aging rock stars.  Not sure why.

So, if you don’t read the trends, why not?  And if you do, like changing your wardrobe…does it make your reading life more interesting?  I might try it!

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