Falling Victim to the Hype Machine

Before I started book blogging, I wasn’t really exposed to that much hype surrounding new releases. Sure, there were books like The Hunger Games that seemed to reinvent YA fiction, but if it wasn’t a New York Times bestseller that my library ordered in, I wasn’t likely to know that it existed.

Now, however, my wishlist is overflowing with titles that have been praised by book bloggers and authors alike. Having access to heaps of praise and positive opinions surrounding a work can be both a blessing and a curse: on one hand, it has led to the discovery of titles that I absolutely adore and likely wouldn’t have picked up otherwise (like Angelfall and Eleanor & Park). On the other hand, after waiting months for a book to be released and getting progressively more excited as the time passes, it’s incredibly disappointing when the book doesn’t live up to your expectations — especially when trusted reviewers have read and enjoyed it.

When reading a book that everyone seems to love, I always find myself looking for the parts of the story that are going to amaze me, instead of becoming immersed in the story and allowing it to amaze me on its own. And, as a result, I often end up feeling whelmed by it.

I’m not going to completely avoid the books that the book blogging community adores, but I’m going to try to avoid reading too many overwhelmingly positive reviews prior to opening the book myself so that I don’t go into it with too many preconceived notions. Hopefully that will help me have more realistic expectations and give me a better reading experience!

Your turn: have you fallen victim to the hype monster? How do you manage your expectations in the face of such high praise?

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4 Comments

  • I hate hype but the other end of the spectrum is missing out on something good just because everyone is raving about it. I’ve learned to just read what I want to read. I try to avoid reviews when possible because I hate spoilers. I like to make my own decisions on what I think is good and I try to not go with or against the hype.

  • I’ve been a victim myself. I noticed the more the hyper, the worst the book is. I read Divergent series because of the hype and I did not like them at all. Khaled Hosseini is one of my favorite authors but when i read And The Mountains Echoed i was beyond disappointed. I’ve read so many other books due to the hype and most of them haven’t lived up to the hype and I realize I’ve just wasted my time, a term I’d never use for reading. But I also found some good books like Eleanor & Park, one of my most favorite ones. I still have no idea how to tackle the situation. I am trying to go with my gut feeling about books again than the hype. Let’s hope I read some good books. πŸ™‚

  • I have a problem with this as well. I do like to read a few reviews of a book before I read it, but sometimes that can negatively impact how I feel about it. I totally get what you mean when you say that you end up looking for the parts that are hyped up rather than simply enjoying the story for what it is. I still read popular books, but I make an effort to keep in mind not to pay too much attention to all the hype. Great post!

  • I have definitely fallen victim to the hype machine. I think most recently, it was Throne of Glass. Everyone had been RAVING about that book and I went into it thinking it would be the best thing since sliced bread and I was very ‘whelmed’. Although, funnily enough I loved the sequel and the prequel novellas, haha.

    I try to ignore hype sometimes, because I find that often I am not all over the books that everyone else loves, and I prefer to go into books knowing only the barest basics of what the book is.

    The hype machine can be great for books, but not for readers …

    Also, I wonder HOW books get hyped? I mean we all like different books, hence being whelmed by hyped books, but how can SO MANY people love the SAME book? It kinda blows my mind, to be honest. :O

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