Literature has always been a reflection of its time, a response to the author’s world. There was Charles Dickens who helped expose the wrongs of child labor through Oliver Twist. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee explored to issue of racial injustice. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was a response to McCarthyism. These authors wrote books that were politically motivated, yet they are all books I love.
However, I find myself annoyed with politically motivated books today. Even though I loved The Hate U Give, I felt like parts of it were too preachy. And while reading This Is Where It Ends (a book about a school shooting), I felt like it used both tragedy and the political climate to make a sale.
But what I find interesting is that I have more patience for politically motivated works in classic literature than I do in modern literature. Perhaps it’s because I feel so separated from the politics in classic literature–I wasn’t even alive during the time they were published. Perhaps it’s also my general aversion towards politics. After all, I’m definitely the type to zone out and remain silent in political discussions. Or perhaps the authors we remember are the ones who did it better.
Or maybe I feel overstimulated because we live in a world dominated by social media and political commentary, so I want my books to be an escape from the “real world”.
But then, there’s a part of me that thinks it’s actually quite difficult to write a book concerning a political issue without it being “preachy” or an attempt to make money off of a real problem. There’s this fine line that I feel like many current authors are falling off of. Or at least, they’re tripping here and there.
Anyway, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Do you read books that are more politically centered? Do you avoid them? Why/why not? Sound off in the comments below :).