Merin’s Musings #4: Me and the Hype Machine

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I’m ba-aaaack! It’s been over eight months since I did my last Musings post, which cracks me up a bit considering I said that I was going to aim to have a post of this nature up each week. Yeah, right! So instead I will set a much more modest (and probably attainable) goal of having a Merin’s Musing post each MONTH – starting right now!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday post about Blogger Confessions got me thinking a bit, and actually gave me the impetus to do another of these posts. I’m going to focus in on one of my “confessions” which is this: Books that are over-hyped by the Hype Machine scare me.

Now I don’t mean the whole horror scream scare or anything. I actually own plenty of these books myself. It’s just that, after purchasing them, they tend to sit in a pile for a Really. Long. Time. So I started thinking about WHY that is, and have come to this conclusion: the more hype a book gets, the more reviews I read that say “you’ll LOVE this” and the more push from bloggers I trust to rush out and buy a book on its release date, the more likely I am to buy said book and then glance askance at it as it sits in a pile as if it’s going to bite me.

Yeah, I don’t know, either.

Case in point, here are a few “well-hyped books” that I own and haven’t cracked the cover on yet: Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Unearthly. All three Infernal Devices books. Everneath. Delirium. Eleanor & Park. And a couple new releases as well, like Ruin and Rising and Cress.

And with the latter two, it’s not like I didn’t like the previous books in the series. It’s not even that I’ve necessarily heard terrible things about them (quite the opposite, actually). In fact, I haven’t really heard anything bad about ANY of the books I’ve listed above. And there are even more books that I haven’t even listed that would also fall into the “well-hyped” category. So what is my issue, exactly?

I figure the best way to figure this ridiculous habit of mine out is to break it down. So. Here we go:

1) Everyone loved this book! What if I don’t?!

I know, I know. It’s not like it’s the end of the world. Book blogging is built on the foundation that people are going to respond to books in different ways. Reading is subjective, and just because everyone and their mother loved Fangirl doesn’t mean you will, too (speaking from personal experience here). No one’s going to come after me with pitchforks because I didn’t like something they liked. Obviously, I know this. Obviously, it still worries me on some (stupid) level.

2) You don’t ACTUALLY have to buy said well-hyped books!

Well. I know that. Duh. But somehow I doubt I’m going to listen to this, you know? Probably because I am impatient – which is stupid considering I’m NOT GOING TO READ THE BOOK RIGHT AWAY – and don’t want to wait for the library to get a copy. So, no dice on this one, really. Although my budget would probably thank me. As would my bookshelves.

3) Perhaps you should stay away from reviews and just let the book use its own merits to sell you on it or not.

I actually don’t read full reviews of books I’m anticipating. What I DO look at is the stars it receives on Goodreads, or the last sentence in the review that tells me if they liked it or not. But yeah, okay, maybe I should stop doing that? It’s sort of the reverse of getting approved for a highly-anticipated galley only to see negative reviews/ratings for it. Both have a tendency to mess with my joy.

4) Seriously. Let’s revisit the whole “you don’t need to buy every single well-hyped book” thing. Because your TBR pile(s) are getting out of control.

I love the library. I get a lot of my books from the library. In fact, I actually have a newly-released well-hyped book checked out from the library right now (The Winner’s Curse). I do plan on reading it, but probably not straight off. (See? I have a problem.) And yes, okay, no one is going to leap out and MAKE me read these well-hyped books. Probably if I wasn’t bringing it up right now, no one would even know that I haven’t read said books (or have so many Internal Reading Issues). But, there’s still a part of me that WANTS to. It’s just a matter of getting that want to translate into “I’m going to read this RIGHT NOW”. Because that’s really the crux of this whole issue for me personally.

5) I’m afraid the book won’t live up to my expectations.

This is probably the one that gets me the most nervous, and is at the heart of my issues. I have probably built the book up massively in my head, and I don’t want to be disappointed. This is also probably why I occasionally peek at the end of the book and read that first. (I know, I KNOW.) And even though doing that should probably affect my enjoyment – or make me not want to read the book – it usually has the opposite effect. Even if I don’t like the ending, I will still tend to read the whole book, because at least this way I KNOW to lower my expectations. (And also? I have a really bad embarrassment squick, and oftentimes need to read the end to reassure myself that things really will be okay. Or not. Whatever.) And other times the end is so amazing that I want to zip through and see how things came to be. So maybe I should just read the endings of all those well-hyped books. Then again … probably not.

Okay, enough about me. What about you? Do you tend to avoid books that get massively hyped up? If you do, why? If you don’t, how do you avoid setting yourself up for something the book may not deliver? Inquiring minds want to know!

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4 Responses to Merin’s Musings #4: Me and the Hype Machine

  1. I’ve heard other people say the same thing – that really hyped-up books make them nervous.

    I’m not like that, but not because I love reading hyped up books. I tend to have a pretty good idea of what kinds of books I like. And if I see a book that everyone is raving about and I want to read it too, it’s because I was intrigued by the book itself. That’s not to say that other bloggers don’t influence what books I try out, because they most certainly do, but not really because of the hype, if that makes sense.

  2. I get kind of nervous about books that get uberly hyped up around the blogosphere. Sometimes it even annoys me that a book is SO hyped up EVERYWHERE and it may not have even been in a genre or subject matter that appealed to me previously but now that it’s EVERYWHERE and EVERYONE and their mother is talking about it i feel like I have to read it in order to try and understand WHY it’s so hyped and also to be part of the conversation. That being said, my TBR list is so long I sometimes read these hyped up books so long past their original hype that they’ve lost their “shine” and they end up on the back burner gathering dust. This happens frequently. I also buy most of my books on sale or borrow them from the library so I rarely buy these hyped books up right when they’re newly released, so at least the hype has died down a bit by the time I get to it. But it’s still something that nags at me.

    April @ My Shelf Confessions

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  4. Pingback: June & July Wrap Up | Lose Time ReadingLose Time Reading

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