The popularity contest

So right at the moment I am reading a book which has got pretty rave reviews, both from the press and from bloggers. I can’t say that the blurb of the book made me want to pick it up when I first saw it although it also didn’t sounds like the worst possible idea. It was really my fellow bloggers love for it that made me pick it up. If I’d completely hated the idea of it then I still wouldn’t have wanted to read it, but that wasn’t the case. Anyway I’m about halfway through this book right now and I can’t say I’m especially impressed. I don’t like the characters and it has a slightly chick-litty air to it (I have no particular problem with chick-lit, but I don’t read much of it, and really when I read it I want yo know that that’s what I’m reading). Even though I haven’t finished it it seems to have a familiar formula to it and I kind of know what to expect (I of course could still be wrong).

Anyway I’m not posting a review here, hat can wait until I’m finished. It’s just it got me wondering about what effect hype can have on the reading of a book, or even just choosing (or not) to read a book. I mean this book I pretty much picked up because of the hype. It’s something I’ve done before and often I find myself disappointed. I wonder if really the book is at the level I am reading it or if I expect so much from the book that there is little hope that my experiences will meet up to my expectations?

I’ve had experiences of people not reading books because they don’t want to be part of the crowd, and I’ve read and loved books which have later become the big thing. I can’t imagine not reading something simply because it is popular, after all there must be a reason for people loving it. I do wonder if I would still have loved the books I loved and read before the hype- some of my favourite books- if I had been responding to the hype, or are the books really speaking for themselves? After all I have loved books after the hype too.

Of course there is also something nice about being involved in hype. I’m a big Harry Potter fan. I visit forums, I watch all the films, and criticise them. I’ve even met up with fellow Potter fans, and I was only prevented from going to a release party because of illness, it really gives a sense of belonging, is that part of what I love about Harry? I don’t think so but I do wonder.

You may also want to read my past musings on the effects of negative reviews and blogger responsibility.

16 Comments

Filed under Musings

16 responses to “The popularity contest

  1. Good post Lucybird! I am (perhaps shame-facedly), one of those readers who will avoid books because of the hype. I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter, haven’t read any books by Dan Brown (& don’t intend to!). There’s just a certain amount of the cynic in me that wonders how many people have read these hyped up books just because everyone else is, which kinda gives me the Heebie-jeebies. Don’t get me wrong, I read popular books, but tend to avoid the hyped up ones.

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  2. lucybirdbooks

    Thanks 🙂

    I’ve only read one Dan Brown (the Da Vinci Code) before all the hype and it was still bad. I wouldn’t recommend them! As for Harry Potter I started reading him pre-hype. I think as a teenager I would have avoided them if I found out about them because of the hype, and I think that’s probably why I don’t avoid hyped books now, because I loved something that had lots of hype surrounding it before

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  3. Loved reading this post 🙂 I try not to let a lot of hype surrounding books sway me in one way or another. If a book looks interesting to me or I’ve read great reviews, I won’t not read it just because of a lot of hype. There are books that were soooo hyped that I’m just sick of seeing around, so I probably won’t read those for a while, ha!
    When it comes down to whether or not you enjoy a hyped up book, I think it really just depends on your own reading tastes. I’ve read and adored books that a lot of other people have hated. The book I just finished was amazing in my opinion but I’ve read other reviews that kind of trash the book. If I had read those reviews before reading the book, I might have been a little bit put off, but I think I still would have read it.

    Basically, I think it never hurts to read a book, whether because of the hype or because it looks good. If you don’t like it, you can always stop reading it 🙂 Plus, I love reading opposing opinions of books. Everyone has their own opinions and everyone likes different kinds of books and different parts of books 🙂
    I wonder what book you are reading 😉 Happy New Year!

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  4. I always fall for the hype. And I’m rarely ever disappointed. I guess I assume that if enough people love it then chances are I will, too. But that’s just me.

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  5. lucybirdbooks

    Thanks Kelly.

    I get what you mean about hype making you sick of books before you’ve even read them. I feel that a bit about The Hunger Games. I feel I’m missing out on it but it doesn’t really appeal to me. I may read it once the craziness has died down.

    I don’t ever read books just because of the hype, I have to have some interest too, as I do with ‘this’ book.

    You will probably find out what it is soon enough. I have nearly finished….in fact now it seems the inevitable is dragging on a little, or maybe my predictions are wrong?

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  6. lucybirdbooks

    Yeah I get that. I do feel sometimes as if I am missing out if I don’t read something that is hyped, because I want to know what makes so many people love it. I do think that if lots of people love it it must be for a reason, maybe that’s why I’m often disappointed, because I don’t understand what all the hype is about when I read it.

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  7. What a great post. I am SOO curious which book this is!!! LOL

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  8. I think the problem comes when the hype persuades you to read a book you have no interest in. If a book sounds terrible then the chances are you won’t like it. If a book I love the sound of is hyped then I can almost guarentee I’ll love it. Trust your instincts!

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  9. lucybirdbooks

    I tend to get persuaded by hype, although if I really have no interest in the book I’m unlikely to read it anyway

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  10. lucybirdbooks

    Thanks 🙂

    hee hee

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  11. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hype. It also drives me crazy how people hate on books just because they’re popular. It’s so hoity-toity. Any book is a good book if you enjoy it.

    That being said, it always depresses me when a book everyone else loves is a disappointment to me. I feel let down because I want to love every book I read. And I feel like something is wrong with me because I don’t see the same thing everyone else does in the book.

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  12. lucybirdbooks

    Hi Alison,

    I get what you mean. I really want to love a book when other people have because I want to see what they see in it

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