Each month I do a blog post based on a Goodreads group called ‘Play Book Tag.’
The group choose a theme and then people share, discuss, recommend and review books that fit the theme.
Let’s take a look!
Not ‘witches’ which was one of the options for this month’s book theme and the option that I hoped would win. But it didn’t and I’m not bitter.
Still, ‘witches’ may have been too easy an option for me whereas the theme of ’21st Century’ doesn’t feel like an easy one at all. I don’t know why.
We are currently in the 21st Century. It’s the period of one hundred years beginning 1st January 2001 and ending 31st December 2100. I was 16 at the turn of the century and if I live to see the end of it that would mean I would reach 115 years old.
That would make me older than Old Rose from the Titanic movie and frankly that’s a lot of old.
If I dip into my favourite source of info (Wikipedia for those who are unaware) there are large sections relating to the 21st Century which remain unwritten. Isn’t there something strangely poetic about that? That the future is ours to write.
Maybe I think this way because I’m a book reader. Maybe I think this way because I like to think I’m a writer type. Maybe I think this way because of all the sugar from the Coke and Crunchie’s I keep consuming today.
I guess we’ll never know.*
If we look back at the time we’ve spent in the 21st Century so far, the world has seen a lot. Not all good sadly. I won’t go into it all here but you can find a timeline here.
Needless to say the century kicked off with the September 11 Attacks, earthquakes, the invasion of Afghanistan and (not as devastating), the introduction of the iPod.
The Wiki prediction for what will happen at the very end of the century is just as depressing with the estimation that 83% of the Amazon rain-forest may have been destroyed.
Considering as what’s happening right now, this prediction feels like a strange and worryingly accurate one.
Yeesh. This does feel like a strangely maudlin intro to a topic but the 21st Century feels quite…. complicated so far.
On a personal level I’ve managed to cram a lot into this century and I’ve spoken about some of it here on this blog. If all goes according to The Plan I aim to cram a heck of a lot more in too.
*Guys, it’s definitely the sugar.
Now I could play this in one of many ways:-
- Books written/ published in the 21st Century but not necessarily set in the 21st Century
- Books written/ published in the 21st Century and set in the 21st Century
- Book written/ published before the 21st Century but set in the 21st Century
I tried Googling ‘how many books have been published since 1st January 2001’ and do you know what I found? No concrete answer.
This tells me that either no books have been published since that date or that the number of books published since that date are too numerous to count.
Guess which one I reckon it is?!
I’ve decided to break this section into two.
Books Written/ Published in the 21st Century
What I have decided to do is present you with a sexy, sexy slideshow of the number one books on Goodreads for the Most Popular Books Published each year from 2001 – 2019 (obviously 2019 is what’s been recorded so far).
I haven’t gone into detail as to whether these books are set in the 21st Century because dear lord, that sugar crash is happening and I don’t have much time until that nap happens.
Are there any surprises there for you?
I think what didn’t surprise me was the number of YA books on that list (53%) and also the number of Fantasy books (58%). It could be because YA is an incredibly popular category as is the Fantasy genre for all readers or YA and Fantasy are incredibly popular as a category and genre for those readers who use and vote on Goodreads.
But honestly? I prefer the Goodreads lists then all the internet articles entitled ‘Best Books of the 21st Century’ because we’re only 19 years into said century and all the books listed are what I would call ‘literary wank.’
What did surprise me about the Goodreads lists were the ratings. The three lowest rated were; Eat, Pray, Love (3.54), Twilight (3.59) and Allegiant (3.63) which may indicate that popularity doesn’t necessarily mean quality.
The three highest rated were; All the Light We Cannot See (4.33), Educated (4.48) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (4.49). Although high ratings also don’t necessarily equal quality – it really will depend on what you think of those books!
Do I think that the books voted the most popular reflect the 21st Century in terms of collective societal mood?
Not really. On a surface level glance I can’t find anything that strikes me as being particularly pertinent but if anyone wants to add their thoughts I highly encourage it.
Books Written/ Published Before the 21st Century but Set in the 21st Century
This is where our speculative writers really come into their own.
I think it’s great fun when movies or TV shows show what life is going to be like in the future and then bam! We reach the year of depiction in real life and it is nothing like what we thought it was going to be.
(Looking at you Back to the Future. Where’s the darn hover-boards?!)
What’s eerie is when real life turns out to be a bit too similar to what was once fiction. Let’s hope the below doesn’t live up to prediction.
This is based off of the ‘Popular 21st Century Books’ list on Goodreads which contains 56,371 entries. The top ten are: –
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Not surprised but at the same time there are some surprises!
The Most Popular Books Published slideshow doesn’t exactly correlate with the above list otherwise the slideshow would have had far, far more Harry Potter than it did. However, I”m not surprised by the inclusion of the Harry Potter books that are on this list or The Hunger Games books.
I find it a little surprising but not unwelcome that The Hunger Games pipped Harry Potter to the post.
I find it incredibly surprising that The Road made it on here but am pleasantly surprised that The Book Thief did.
If I go by the above list (because I always do) then I would say I agree with a lot of the choices mainly because I’m a Harry Potter and Hunger Games fan.
As I said, I’m pleasantly surprised that The Book Thief is on that list because that’s a story that breaks my heart over and over again and goes to show a book written in the 21st Century doesn’t have to be set in the 21st Century to be popular.
If I go up the list it also provides me with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, American Gods (always a fav), The Shadow of the Wind and A Feast for Crows.
That’s the 21st Century my friends. It looks like we’re doomed to have overpopulation issues, depletion of resources, killer viruses, murderous TV entertainment and the possibility of chowing down on people.
What are some 21st Century books that you love? They can fit any of the categories above. If you have a favourite ‘future to come’ book (or movie) let me know!
Until next time, topic is still TBC!