Friday, October 15, 2010

Does Hype Affect Your Reading Enjoyment?

A few months ago, I read a highly-anticipated novel that shall remain nameless. I was super excited about NAMELESS, and the minute I got my hands on the ARC, I dove into it. The narrative/plot immediately sucked me in. But then NAMELESS started to go off the rails… and it made me upset. Overall, I enjoyed about 50% of the book. A few friends who’d read it said the same thing (they were also lured by the hype).
Last month, I decided to read a book that no one liked. HATED BOOK had gotten so-so reviews, and all my friends who’d read it didn’t like it, but I read the first few pages at the library and got hooked. I took it home, emailed my dad that I was reading it, and he wrote back, “I just finished HATED BOOK! I’d never heard of it and then I found it on the new shelf at the library and it looked interesting. I loved it.”
Well, I ended up loving HATED BOOK, too. But, it made me wonder, because I went in with such low expectations, was I expecting terrible and thus pleasantly surprised when I found out it wasn’t?
I just don’t know.
When I was teenager, a teacher forced me to read Ivan Turgenev’s FATHERS AND SONS. When I saw it was about Russian nihilism, I thought I would die. Just die. But I ended up adoring the book.
Reading is subjective, but I really do wonder if pre-conceived notions affect enjoyment.
What say you?


E. Kristin Anderson said...

I have a sinking suspicion that hype effects some readers experiences. But that is only because there are a few NAMELESSes out there that I absolutely abhored. I mean, I disliked the writing style, thought they had major plot holes, the characters were annoying...on and on...and yet, everyone is stark raving MAD about these books. So either I'm crazy, or hype affects some readers. And/or reviewers.

Oh wait, I AM crazy. Crap.

Kate said...

I think hype effects things a lot. Sometimes when I read an over-hyped book I find myself almost wanting to hate it.

Another interesting book is FUTURE-STAR. That is the unknown book that I read and love, then like 2 years later the movie comes out and everyone is gushing about it, and I'm like yeah, I loved that book 2 years ago where were you. And I almost feel bad for loving it. Like I'm suddenly caught in the hype and no longer thinking for myself.

coffeelvnmom said...

I don't think hype affects my enjoyment, though it does affect what I willing to spend my money on. Usually, after much research, I make good choices on what to buy, but not always. The hard part is figuring out what hype to listen to, and what hype to ignore. I think that takes time. The more you read reviews, the more you'll know what kind of books those particular reviewers like. =)


Miranda said...

Kate - I know exactly what you're talking about with FUTURE-STAR! Sometimes I find myself actually getting mad when people jump on the bandwagon years later. I want to yell, "Hey, I've known about this book for years. So, ha!"

Which of course makes me sound petty. And what's the point? I guess that's what human beings do though...

rickischultz said...

Hype actually turns me OFF from reading certain books. I just assume I won't like them because they are *too* hyped.

Now, this doesn't mean I don't read them later...I do--and many times I do love them (not always). But by the time I get to them, I feel like it's more *my decision* whether or not I like them. If that makes sense?

And, yes, I have liked books people have disliked.

I try really hard not to let reviews influence me, but it's difficult when there are SO many.

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