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In the Top Ten Tuesday this week readers were asked to share some book turn-offs. I noticed that a lot of people had pop culture as a huge pet peeve of theirs. This has been a topic that I have wanted to discuss lately, so I figured this was the best week to do so.
Does pop culture belong in a book?
Ultimately, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. In my opinion, I don’t really like reading books with strong pop cult references, but it is most certainly the author’s right to include it in their novel.
What’s your opinion on the matter?
When does pop culture work in a book?
I know I just said that I don’t like pop cult in a book, but I think that sometimes it adds to a story. When references are current I will probably read right over them without thinking about it. If the reference isn’t in-your-face-obvious, I think it is much easier to pull off and much more appealing. I do think there are certain genres that call for the occasional pop cult reference, like contemporary. Then, pop cult can support and help the world-building/setting. Also, novels set in later decades (like Eleanor & Park) should reference some pop cult to make the story more convincing and to help the reader picture the lifestyles of people in that time.
Do you think that certain genres lend themselves to including pop culture references? When does pop cult work for you?
When doesn’t pop culture work in a book?
The downside of including relevant pop culture allusions is that one day they will be outdated. When I am reading a story and there is talk of a show or celebrity that was big at the time but isn’t so anymore, it pulls me from the story. This is especially true when I am reading a paranormal novel. Like, how can Miley Cyrus exist in a novel full of ghosts and vampires and supernatural powers? For example, when I read Onyx the Jonas Brothers were mentioned. It was just too weird to be reading about aliens and then have the characters talk about the Jonas Brothers (which is also coincidentally a dated reference). I mentioned in my review of Being Jamie Baker that there were some dated and odd pop cult references that didn’t blend well with the story. It seems as though I can find more reasons as to when pop culture doesn’t work than when it does.
Do we share any opinions? Can you think of other examples?
Are you a fan of pop culture in a book? Why or why not? Any other thoughts on the topic you want to share? Any and all discussion welcome.
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