Contemporary vs. Classic: Writers Debate Which Books Reign Supreme


Lila Brodner, Sage Ponchock

Writers and readers Lila Brodner and Sage Ponchock engage in one of their infamous face-to-face, cover-to-cover battles over literature. Their friendly feuds started when Brodner enrolled in Mrs. Ponchock’s class in sixth grade.

I believe that modern romance books like Ugly Love and November 9th by Colleen Hoover are better than classics. They are more interesting, up to date, and people understand them better. New stories are just so much more enjoyable to read. Each book has a different plot, and it could be about real life lately, unlike classics, which have ballroom dancing. For example, the book, November 9th, is about Fallon and Ben. The two meet and fall in love at first sight, but Fallon is moving from California to New York. So every Nov. 9th, they meet at the same time and same restaurant, but they do not give each other numbers, emails, or any way of communication. As the book goes on, conflicts happen, and make the book so much more interesting and intriguing. Modern romance books are so much better than classics.

The reason classics are considered classics is because they are such phenomenal books that some have withstood hundreds of years of cultural and societal changes, yet they still manage to retain relevance and large audiences. The argument that modern romance books are more relatable and pertinent to our time period is narrow minded. Firstly, most modern romance novels such as those written by Colleen Hoover are far less sophisticated than classical writers from, say, the nineteenth century. The books lack the depth of an excellently written novel and focus nearly entirely on trivial and frankly ridiculous relationships and scenarios. Unlike modern authors, classical romance novelists such as Jane Austen and Emily Brontë include prominent societal expectations and inequalities. For example, Jane Austen combats the inequality of a man’s inheritance in her book, Pride and Prejudice, and Emily Brontë emphasizes the extreme desire to please society when she has the protagonist, Kathy, in her novel, Wuthering Heights, marry a wealthy, respected man, instead of the one she truly loves. If Colleen Hoover is so fantastic, will her books be able to withstand decades and centuries of changes like the greats? Do her books include enough depth to be taken seriously?

Yes, even though the classics have been through decades, people read what’s up and coming, not what was popular years ago. Colleen Hoover is an up and coming author, so more people will read it. Colleen Hoover understands peoples struggles now and how life works now. She is taken seriously by everyone. Her work is understandable and relevant. Her plots are all different in many ways, and people never get old of her work. Colleen Hoover is going to become one of the most well known authors. She will be known for decades, even though she is a starting author. 

This is entirely untrue. Though Hoover’s books may be popular for a few years, maybe a few decades, they lack the substance to make them truly remarkable books. Colleen Hoover will certainly not go down in history with the names Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, or any of the Brontë sisters. She is, at best, an average writer with an active imagination. Her stories are interesting to an extent, but, as I have already stated, lack any significant substance. The idea that Colleen Hoover is “taken seriously by everyone” is frankly ridiculous. I have never heard this name arise in an intellectual conversation, and her books will never be studied in a classroom or taken seriously by any scholar. Most modern romance books are popular for attractive men and unrealistic, though admittedly interesting, story lines. Stating that Hoover’s books are more relevant because of their realistic aspect is absurd. In your example, November 9th, two people who are supposedly in love do not give each other any method of reaching the other. Two people truly in love would not heed a mother’s inconsequential rule not to date until 23 years of age, and they certainly would not willingly go an entire year without seeing each other. This proves that the people of this book, though attracted to each other, are not actually in love. It is an illusion caused by Hoover to make an unrealistic and ridiculous plot seem like it has meaning. 

I believe that you have to understand her writing style. Some people like classics, because of its styles, how it is dated from centuries ago, and others like how its dated to the present day. Even if you do not think Colleen Hoover is a great author, a lot of people do think she is a great author. Her books have great plots, even if they are unrealistic, they are interesting, and keep the reader reading. The books’ styles are both great in different ways, it just depends on the people reading them.

The statements of this argument are contradictory. It is stated that the books are more realistic and pertinent earlier, yet in the paragraph above, the plots are “unrealistic.” It is safe to conclude that writers who have been loved and admired for decades for their fantastic style and storyline will remain superior to average modern authors. 

Modern literature is much better than classics for multiple reasons, including plot, relatable, and much more.