Explaining why she first resisted writing her memoir My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff said: “I didn’t want to revisit my twenties.” New Adult books describe the mental landscape of 20-somethings: sexual anxiety, career confusion, money trouble and the urgent need to just figure it out already.
Try: Cora Carmack’s New York Times bestseller Losing It about a heroine so desperate to lose the virgin tag, she ends up in bed with her college professor.
To tell a story in 140 characters is a challenge writers just can’t resist. Sometimes they manage it in one go, like Ian Rankin did for The Guardian (“I opened the door to our flat and you were standing there, cleaver raised. Somehow you’d found out about the photos. My jaw hit the floor.”) or over a series of tweets, like novelist Celeste Ng (@pronounced_ing) did in her sweet library love story for this year’s Twitter Fiction Festival.
Search for: Teju Cole’s short story Hafiz, which he narrated through 31 retweets.
Climate Fiction is set in a world where global warming prophecies have come true. Most are cautionary tales of what will happen if we don’t change course as a species, but rare ones, like Michael Crichton’s State Of Fear, also critique the doomsday proclamations of climate change experts.
Try: Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, which follows a group of people through a world stripped bare by a biological pandemic they helped engineer.
These stories lie in the space between fantasy, sci-fi and horror but are set in a more or less realistic universe. Think of the most lurid horror story you ever heard — now adjust for political correctness, but keep the monsters.
Try: China Miéville’s Three Moments Of An Explosion: Stories. Miéville, whose novels are set in the fictional world of Bas-Lag, is one of the best known in the genre.
This is not a category you’ll find in the bookstore, but you’ve probably seen it plenty on your timeline. They’re usually headlined: ‘Why I Quit This Incredibly Popular Thing In Order To Do Something Low-Key’. It’s soul-searching that takes the form of changing careers, going off sugar, logging out of Facebook or similar life-altering decisions.
Try: Anne Helen Petersen’s essay Leaving Academia For BuzzFeed: Six Months Later, on how her PhD and teaching career primed her for writing about celebrity scandals and Tinder.