Modern Books and Political Agendas

We are a couple days post-midterm election and I thought this would be an applicable time to share my opinions on politics in Fiction.

The majority of us love to read simply to escape the daily demands of reality for a few short hours. When the world is constantly demanding our attention and needs us to make choices, it’s nice to free our minds with books. Unfortunately, in today’s opinionated world, this form of escapism is becoming more challenging to obtain. I have been noticing a trend in new releases becoming overtly political with their messages. I should mention, the majority of books I read are Fiction, Contemporary Romance or Thrillers, so I rarely expect subliminal messaging in the novels I’m picking up. To be honest, I’m finding myself in less of reading slump and more of an inescapable trench.

We live in a heated political world and my opinions are as strong as the next person, possibly even stronger, but I find it disheartening to be invested in a story, only to later have politics thrown in my face. I believe it’s the author’s right to freely express themselves in any way they choose, and distancing themselves from their personal views and passions is not always possible, but maybe we could think to include these details in blurbs. Instead of springing heated and controversial topics on unsuspecting readers, wouldn’t it be more forthright and honest to give readers a bit of a heads up? I feel these messages of politics are less about passion and more about persuasion. Oftentimes, I believe these one-sided beliefs are added to novels in a way that seems almost devious. If more readers knew what the book they are picking up contained, they might be less likely to read it. Personally, if I wanted to read a political book, I would strive to find one more in line with my own values.

People are expected to only feel one way in today’s society, with little room for gray area. Opinions are attacked rampantly, to the point I have been finding it more challenging to review modern books and mention my distaste for topics I do not agree with, for fear of backlash. Instead of trying to force our beliefs and opinions on every reader, shouldn’t we be allowing readers to decide for themselves whether they’d like to read a politically motivated work of fiction? After all, most of us already have our minds made up about which side of the fence we sit on and one book is not likely to make us jump to “greener pastures”.

I’m disappointed in many big-time publishers for the increase in the volume of these type of messages in Fiction and would like to see less pushy politics and more of an opportunity to get away from the influx of media, popular culture, and the divided world we live in. I have to believe these polarizing topics only divide us further and marginalize and dishearten those of us reading with good intentions. Books are meant to bring us together, after all!

I’d love to hear readers thoughts on this topic. Is this a trend you have noticed? Does it bother you?


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19 Comments Add yours

  1. I haven’t noticed a trend in subliminal political messages. It actually doesn’t bother me as I view it as part of the character’s definition. When it differs from my point of view, that doesn’t bug me either. Just another opportunity to consider an alternate position, softly. After all, it’s fiction.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I appreciate your thoughts! Thanks for sharing your point-of-view!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I so agree with this!! It’s fine to write a political book, but I don’t like when it’s shoehorned into something- I especially cos there’s no warning and I feel like I have to mention it in my review to justify my rating… Which is especially annoying cos I don’t want my blog to be political. If it’s too controversial I’ll just have to explain that I don’t want to go into it and ugh why do authors do this to us!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is my EXACT dilemma. I don’t like getting into heavy politics in my reviews because it defeats the purpose of blogging for me. I want to discuss books in the most positive way possible without offending people. When these topics are unexpectedly added, I always feel conflicted about how to review the book. It’s especially difficult when it’s an ARC I’m expected to review.

      I really appreciate your thoughts on this! I’m glad to know it isn’t just something I’m facing as a reviewer, though it sucks that we have this issue at all. I like that you might sometimes say a topic is too controversial and you don’t feel comfortable discussing it. That’s a tactic I might use in the future.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah I totally relate to that and have had this issue come up in ARCs too and it sucks.

        I’m glad I’m not the only one as well! And that’s great that helps as well 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. CVS says:

    I’m happy for you that you are so privileged that you believe that books do not need to be political. But as someone who, every single day, has to fight against the laws of this country to live my life, then I (and many others like me) don’t have that choice. Books need to be political because they don’t exist in an apolitical vacuum

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Anonymous Internet Troll,

      I have a hard time finding your argument valid when you clearly didn’t read my entire post and weren’t brave enough to leave a name. I’m not denying the importance of politics, simply questioning the need for them in every single facet of our lives. We already hold our beliefs near and dear to our own hearts, it gets exhausting having to hear everyone else’s constantly. Books are about escaping that, at least for me.
      I find the overused word “privileged” insulting. You know nothing about my life or my so called “privilege”. Furthermore, I’m sorry you feel wronged by our country, but you are clearly not so impoverished that you didn’t have the time nor internet access to troll my post in a negative way.

      I wish you all the best and hope you find peace in your life. God bless.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Most of the time I just roll my eyes and ignore it. There have definitely been some cases where the political stuff just sticks out like a sore thumb. You almost stumble over it like okay, well that was the author speaking cause it makes no sense otherwise, and I think that more than anything will ruin the enjoyment of a book for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. It has been happening in so many of my ARCs lately and I have to question why it’s even necessary. It only makes me want to pass over the author in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 100% agreed with this. Ignore the judgey people who try to put you down by making assumptions about you and dictating how you should be enjoying your fiction. Personally, my genre of choice is sci-fi and fantasy. The real world is stressful enough, I like to escape in spec fic. It is highly disheartening to see more and more political agendas and blatant commentary on current events inserted into my stories that are supposed to be about magic and spaceships.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this. I’m sad it’s become such an issue, but I’m thankful I’m not the only one noticing it becoming more and more popular. It is exhausting to filter through so much to find a good story. For me, it’s been so prevalant that I’m shocked when it doesn’t happen in a new release. I’m sorry it’s even taken over sci-fi and fantasy. You’d think those would be the genres it couldn’t find a way to infiltrate.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bookapotamus says:

    I totally agree with you. I read a book recently by one of my favorite authors and it had no mention of any sort of political storyline, but it was thrown in my face from start to finish. The authors views mirrored my own, but it was completely irrelevant to the story, so I gave it a fairly bad review. There were other parts I didn’t like as well though, but having it so forcefully added into a storyline just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it incredibly disappointing? Especially when it could be a decent book without the added agenda.
      I think there’s a way to have characters deal with politics in their world, but when the author is deliberately injecting their own views without making it cohesive to the story it is disheartening! I would definitely like to see less of this in the future, but I’m not sure we will.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience on the topic!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Bookapotamus says:

        Totally agree. There should be a warning at least! I understand that everyone has something to say, but I read to escape all that chatter!

        Liked by 2 people

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