10/7/13

On Bookish Hype

As I posted earlier, I'm planning to write some more discussion-type posts in the future.  I had previously posted about having the blogging blahs, and I think the stress of trying to read and review in order to have content for the blog was really getting to me.  I keep reading all of these GREAT discussion posts (like Cass' Thursday Thoughts and all of the great discussion posts that Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner posts) and I HAVE all these bookish thoughts, just never the guts to post them.  So here goes.

I'm starting to feel like 2013 is the year that I've fallen victim to WAY too much bookish hype. You know, when you start hearing all these rave reviews for books, five star ratings all over the place and it seems like EVERYONE in the blogosphere and the Twitterverse is just spewing bookish love for one particular title.  If all my bookish friends, who have similar bookish tastes, are loving these books, then I just KNOW I'll love 'em!  Right?  RIGHT?

Wrong.  And it makes me SO sad.  I read so many highly anticipated titles this year that just fell flat for me.  It wasn't that they were bad books, don't get me wrong.  It's just that I was expecting MORE.  My expectations were set WAY too high, and no matter how great the book was, there's just no way that it could live up to those impossibly high expectations.

I think this started back in April when I read The Madman's Daughter.  Then, there was Code Name Verity, Eleanor + Park, The Beginning of After, and Something Like Normal.  (Yikes, I didn't realize that there were quite that many until I looked back!)  Not that I hated these books -- I liked them all just fine, but there wasn't that head-over-heels love that I was anticipating.

So how am I fixing this?  I'm not really too sure.  I mean, I'm not really a fan of going into a book totally blind since I do like to pick books that I think I'll like.  On the flip side of this, I've also read some fantastic books lately that I picked up specifically because other bloggers loved them (Under the Never Sky and The Girl of Fire & Thorns immediately jump to mind).

Perhaps this is just the reality of being a reader: sometimes you love a book and sometimes you just don't.  I think, on the whole, I generally read more books that I enjoy than books that I don't, simply because I rely on the reviews and recommendations of my blogger friends.  Maybe it's because of this recommendation/review process that I have created this expectation that I WILL love all of the books that I read, simply because of all the effort that I have put into choosing them.  Whereas before blogging (or, actually, before Goodreads), I almost always chose my books completely at random.  Or worked off those "If you liked ____, try ____" pamphlets that the library has sometimes.

What are your thoughts on bookish hype?  Do you try to choose books that you know you're going to like, based on recommendations and reviews?  Or do you try to go in blind when choosing a book?  Do you find one strategy works better than the other?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

4 comments:

  1. That happens to me so frequently. Eleanor & Park and Code Name Verity are pretty good examples for me too. I read these reviews and I expect to be absolutely blown away,but I don't think any book could ever live up to the expectations I've set for it. I've taken to only skimming reviews for books I think I'll really like just to try to temper my expectations.

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    1. That's what I should do too -- just skim the reviews, or only glance at the ratings. Or just choose a book every once in a while that I've heard a bit about, but not too much. I read Everneath last year and was blown away -- it was an amazing book, but hadn't had nearly as much buzz, and it was kind of fun to go in completely blind and still be amazed.

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  2. I got sucked in by bookish hype a lot in 2012 but this year I've been better at standing my ground (not picking up books that don't sound appealing to me no matter what raves are out there) and not reading too many reviews beforehand, which often unreasonably raises my expectations.

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    1. Wise words! I try to be better at staying away from books that don't quite seem like my thing, or staying away from too many reviews from books that I'm already convinced that I'll love.

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