The Hype Monster!!

In my review of Delirium on Thursday, I talked about the Hype Monster. This was the experience I was starting to have:

I could feel the Hype Monster breathing down my neck so I didn’t pick it up right away. I try not to let myself be swept away too much into the hype of a book and make a valiant effort to keep myself grounded while I begin to read it. I want to allow myself to experience the book without the echos of its proclaimed greatness weighing heavily on my mind.

You’ll have to read the review to find out if it lived up to the hype or not..but it made me think seriously about “hype” in the book word..or any realm for that matter…movies, music, etc.

On one hand, I hate the hype. When something is far too hyped up I’m expecting something that is going to knock me off my feet. When I see a slew of rave reviews saying “OMG..best book EVER in the WORLD” or “If you only read one book”..I’m expecting to be wowed and dazzled. It builds up certain expectations in my mind and most of the time, the book ends up falling short. And then I sit there wondering– is it my fault as a reader for letting myself be swept away in this hype that lead to some unrealistic expectations? Would my feelings have changed about this book had I not heard tons of hype about it? Or would I still feel the same way about the book as I do now? Because there is always that reality..that the book just wasn’t THERE for you…despite the hype.

On the other hand, I understand the good in hype. You NEED to get people excited about your book as an author and a publisher. There needs to be outpourings of support and emotion from people who loved the book and want to share it. Hype makes being  a part of this book community fun. I looove the hype..especially when I’m getting to loudly proclaim that I loved a book. I do try to be cautious in how I’m labeling the book–if I really don’t think it was the best book in the whole entire world..I’m not going to say that. I would find other ways of explaining how much I love this book and think people need to read it. But that’s just me!

But as a reader and a blogger and a supporter of the authors I love…I have such a myriad of emotions when it comes to hype. I love it and I detest it all at the same time. Maybe it’s just me though..maybe I need to learn better how to separate the hype from my reading experience.

What do you think? Have you ever been victim to the Hype Monster? Which books were ruined for you and do you think you would have enjoyed them more had you not had those expectations? Also, how do you keep yourself from giving into the hype and letting it sour your reading experience?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Hype Monster totally ruined my reading experience with Matched. With the hype and awesome synopsis I was having high hopes, but ended up being really disappointed even though the book itself isn't that bad.

  2. I have been the victim of the Hype Monster many a time. It gets to the point where if EVERYONE is saying how much they loved a book, I probably won't like it as much as I would had I not heard the hype. This just happened to me with The Sky is Everywhere, which is excellent, but not life changing in the way everyone else seems to make it out to be.

    And yes, I also thought Delirium was far too hyped. I didn't think it was as good as everyone is saying, and in fact was a bit predictable.

  3. Cat the Librarian says:

    I know just what you mean! Angelfire was a recent one for me, so many people loved it and I was completely ambivalent to it… I started avoiding reviews until I've read a book just to avoid it.

  4. Julia :) says:

    Hmmm I've definitely been a victim of the hype monster. I was super hyped about Matched but it ended up disappointing me. I still loved it but it just wasn't what I thought it would be. With hype I always like to look at things objectively and not build something up in my head. That way when I read the book I am not thinking "Wait this was supposed to be like this" and its not.

  5. Rachel @ Bookshelf Lust says:

    I bought "The Passage" the day it came out last summer. I was even going to go to a signing that night. Needless to say, I took the book with me to the beach that afternoon, and could just NOT get into it. I ended up staying out with my friends the entire day and night and skipping the signing, because I was so turned off/bored by the first half of the book. It was not the world changing vampire book I was led to believe it was. I mean the book had a movie deal before it was even released. Which, honestly, is insane.

  6. The only hype that has ever REALLY hurt my reading experience is my own hype… thinking that a book is going to be so perfect/brilliant/etc, that I'm going to love it so much and then being disappointed. This has happened with one book in particular, a second book by an author whose debut I absolutely loved. I think it made me harsher on the book than I should have been because I was expecting so much.

  7. I'm trying to wait awhile after the hype cools off to read popular books. Sometimes I do it because I feel like the blogosphere doesn't need another review while the book is at its most popular. I'd rather be the blogger who, a few months later, reads and reviews the book and says, "Hey remember that book? Well it still holds up."

  8. I'm always the victim of the hype monster, and I have learned my lesson. Every time I see numerous 5 star rating reviews on one single book, I try to skip them and just read them after I finish the book, because it will ruin the experience for me. High expectations are the key to a disaster, as they say.

  9. I think the hype monster is something that happens mostly to book bloggers. As a blogger you follow a lot of other book blogs and read about a hyped book again and again while a normal reader who maybe follows 5-10 blogs maybe reads about it once or twice. And there are also so many readers who don't read book blogs at all, so I think that if you are not a book blogger or follow a lot of blogs you won't be victim of the hype monster.

    I tend to overlook multiple posts on different blogs to one book that is about to be released and that's why so far I haven't been victim to hype monster.

  10. The most recent experience I had with the hype monster was with Angelfire. People were raving about it. And while I thought it was an enjoyable read, it wasn't earth-shattering for me. Now, I try to avoid reviews for new YA releases I have waiting for me. I love the hype monster for all the excitement it creates, but it can easily leave you dissappointed.

  11. Yep, the hype monster has definitely struck a few times for me! The most recent one was with Delirium, actually, even though I tried to avoid reviews before I read it for fear of getting spoiled. Still, I knew it was supposed to be *amazing* and I was a bit disappointed when I actually read it.

  12. Midnyte Reader says:

    Usually the hype gets me to buy the book, but by the time I actually get around to reading it, it could be a while and the hype has faded in my mind or just been replaced with something else. I think Raised By Wolves had a lot of hype for me and it just resonate with me.

  13. Michelle says:

    I think we've all been victimized by the Hype Monster. I often comment in reviews that my feelings for it could have beennegatively influenced by higher expectations going in. But I will say that as long as you read books that you're interested in as opposed to those simply to be part of the crowd reading the hottest title out there it's relatively easy to keep expectations and hype at bay.

  14. Just a reminder that the Chick Loves Lit Blogoversary Carnival that you signed up for is Tuesday (March 15)! Please try to have your post up at midnight EST on March 15. I will have a linky on my blog that day where you can link your specific giveaway post URL for all the visitors!

    When you post please include the Carnival graphic (from my blog) and a link back so everyone can find the rest of the giveaways. If you have any other questions please let me know – and thank you for celebrating with me!

    http://chickloveslit.com/2011/02/blogoversary-carnival.html

  15. I don't think the Hype Monster is all bad. Sometimes he gets me into trouble, but he's usually a good guy to have around.

  16. The hype monster is knocking at my door now… I'm listening to Before I Fall on audio & I just don't love it. Kinda frustrating! But, I guess hype can be a positive sometimes too.

  17. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    Yes, I've fallen victim to the Hype Monster. And it has gravely disappointed me and also made me so happy. And the thing that sucks is that I've also been confronted with some crazy people who have chastized me for not liking a certain book as much as they did and insulted me as a person for it. The Hype Monster can make people psychotic, I do believe 😛

  18. The only books I bought into because of Hype were the Twilight books. Definitely not worth the hype, but I do admit to actually enjoying them. I just started the third book last night, actually. Well, I guess Harry Potter too…maybe. I was into the books before the hype started. Or, I was too young to know about the hype.

    Typically, if there is a LOT of hype about a book, I'll put it on my to read list and come back to it later. For example, I own Hunger Games, but I haven't yet read it. I still hear about it at least once a week (even more now because of the movie…), and I don't want to be disappointed if it doesn't live up to the hype.

    In a way, this is kind of a bummer. I've seen a bazillion of posts about Delirium and Whither and well, I think you know them already. While I really want to read them NOW, I probably won't because I don't want to be influenced by the current attitudes toward them. Well, maybe I will read Whither as soon as I get my hands on it, but the others, probably not.

  19. Avid Reader says:

    Hype is such a double-edged sword. It's gotten me to read books I never would have considered, but it's definitely ruined many books for me too. The Postmistress was hyped by everyone and I was so disappointed by it. I think I would have enjoyed it if I'd had different expectations.

  20. My name is Patricia says:

    I agree – Hype can go both ways. I personally tend to ignore the hype in terms of waiting a while to read the book, let the hype settle down. However, there are a few books that I picked up before of the Hype – some my expectations (because of the Hype) were met, while others let me down. But again I usually wait a while. For example, I waited until the begining of this year, 2011, to start reading the Vampire Academy series. While one of the reasons I waited so long was so I wouldn't have to wait for the next book to come out, and I could just read straight through from book 1 to the last book, I didn't want to read a book that everyone was posting reviews about at the moment. I personally tend to skim through the reviews on books that "Everyone" is posting a review on. It can get repetitive sometimes. Another reason, because the Hype has died down – and with the Vampire Academy series, I was not let down at all! I loved it! And I think part of the reason is because the hype died down. But then when this happens, I of course ask myself "Why did I wait so long?" lol – but I would rather be asking that question than having my expecations fall short.

    <3 Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity

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