Tag Archives: hype

50 Shades of Grey and Decency

I read a mention of this article from the Boston Globe, about reading 50 Shades of Grey in public, on Bookriot yesterday and it got be thinking about the decency of making your reading of Shades of Grey public.

I’m not sure I can even remember the last time people were telling me about a book this much outside of the book blogging community. My boss has told me I should read it because I “like reading books”, people are on about how much they love Mr Grey all over the place on facebook. Amazon keeps deciding I must want to read it because it’s so popular. Even a friend who I would have said would be the last person to read it has read it- on the kindle, when it was still free.  I’ve even seen people reading it out and about. Including a whole host of staff in HMV who were trying to find out if it was really worth the hype (apparently not).

Now usually I would be all for it. I wish more people read but there is something a bit seedy about being so open about your reading of erotica. I mean it’s not designed for reading pleasure exactly, is it? Of course at first when it was only on kindle it was a bit more discrete. Nobody could tell you were reading it unless you told them, and you could tell whoever you wanted to tell. Yes the book has a level of discretion too, but because everyone knows what it is it looses the discretion of those covers. I suppose what gets to me is that you wouldn’t tell an acquaintance about some great erotica you had read online, or post some amazing porn you had watched on facebook, why has it become acceptable to do that with Shades of Grey?

Plus when it comes to reading it in public. Well either that’s adding an extra thrill or just a bit uncomfortable and inappropriate surely. I would certainly rather feel embarrassed for the person that imagine that it might be giving them sort of thrill to know I know what they’re reading!

So, no I haven’t read it (but would I tell you if I had?!). There is a small part of me which is interested, but from the little snippets I have read/heard I don’t really think it’s worth it.

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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.


Filed under Musings