Fabulous Fiction Firsts #27

One of the hottest trends in reading is urban fiction. It’s a sure sign that it is no longer just a fad when The New York Times wrote about it. Alternately called street lit, hip-hop, gangsta lit, or urban fiction, it depicts life on the mean streets, and often prides itself in the authenticity and gritty details of drugs, crimes and violence. Lurid book jackets, profanities, explicit sex, and the lifestyle fueled by easy money add to its appeal.

I met T.J. Williams this week. A Princeton University student, he is not your typical street lit author writing in prison, but maybe that is why his debut novel 5 minutes and 42 seconds was so accessible for my first dip into this genre.

Oh, have no doubt, all the gritty elements are there (the drug-dealing, the illicit sex and the street culture) but it is also a thoughtful and often humorous exploration of the meaning of family and sexuality. Give it a try and check out this reading list for other suggestions.