When I Don’t Love A Book Everyone Else Loves..

When I don’t like a book that everyone else does or not AS MUCH as everyone else does my brain starts running through all the reasons why that could be.

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Is it just a case of it wasn’t my thing? Where there glaring problems I saw? Did my own values and experiences influence it and make me see it differently? But there’s one thing I always come back to and that’s the hype monster – which is both a good and bad thing for different reasons.

As a blogger I’m often reading books early before they have a chance to be hyped. It’s sometimes like I’m reading it in my own little isolated bubble or vacuum. I have few opinions to influence my thinking and really NO expectations to live up to. It’s a book that I may or may not enjoy and that’s all I know about it aside from the premise and the author.

But then let’s take the books that I’m late to the game on…books that people RAVE about and seem to be universally loved. Let’s just say it was a case of that I LIKED it but not as much as everyone else did — I didn’t get that OMG FAVE BOOK, life-changing experience that so many trusted people talked about. All those REASONS that made this book their favorite for all these years. I sit there and wonder that,  if I had been in a “reading vacuum” and never heard anything about this book — like in the case of those books I read early — if I would have felt differently.

So I sit there all…”ok, book, would I have liked you MORE had I read you back when you just came out and there was relatively no hype or I wasn’t involved in the blogging community where I’m always hearing opinions about books? Or would it have been the same? Maybe you really just weren’t an amazing book for me?”

And obviously I don’t have the answer to that. I can’t go back in time or  read every book in a vacuum where I hear basically nothing about it. But I feel sad for the books I could have probably LOVED if I hadn’t such high expectations of them because of all the hype. It’s one of the few downsides I see to blogging sometimes. I’m SO inundated with opinions that give way to expectations that it’s hard to read without being influenced by them. I JUST WANT TO BLOCK THEM ALL OUT WHEN I READ so I can have my own experience that is free of any hype.

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So let’s talk: Do you ever think about this? Are there any books you think you probably would have LOVED more if there wasn’t that dreaded hype monster or any sort of built up expectations because of people’s opinions – like if you read them early on or in a “vacuum” so to speak? Or do you think you were always destined probably not to LOVE those books? How do you keep those expectations and hype at bay to let yourself not be so influenced?

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 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 gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. I love this post. I feel like so often people read books because of fandoms and then praise them because other people thought they were good and so that’s just the “smart” thing to say — that it was a good book.

  2. I always enter late in the game and read books months or even years after others hyped them. It took me forever to read Divergent because I was worried it wouldn’t match the hype. Thank goodness I was wrong and found Divergent to be fantastic!

  3. Okay so I bought Frigid by JLA on a whim. I was hoping to love it as all the ratings were high and a lot of people gushed about it. But it was a big fat FLOP for me. To the point where I had to FORCE myself to finish it.I felt like the black sheep. Now I am EXTREMELY tentative to try anymore of JLA’s stuff even though I know she’s got a ginormous fan-base.

  4. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    OMG — it’s happening again!! We are on the SAME PAGE (ha ha bookish pun!) yet again :). This has happened to me with way too many books this year (The Madman’s Daughter, The Beginning of After, Eleanor + Park and Code Name Verity to name just a few). While I did like the books, I didn’t love them as much as I had initially expected to because of all the hype. (I like your expression “hype monster” by the way — SO TRUE). I wondered after the fact if I would have loved the books more if I hadn’t heard of all the positive buzz, but then another part of me wonders if I would have picked up the books in the first place if it wasn’t for the bookish buzz.

    I’m not 100% sure that last part even makes sense — it’s late and I’m a tired momma!

    • That last part definitely made sense! It’s how I feel about over-hyped books as well. It’s disappointing when you don’t enjoy a book as much as everyone else, but at least I can now contribute to the conversation about it instead of wondering what I’m missing out on :)

  5. I know how you feel!! I always end up adding books people LOVE to my TBR list and when I finally get round to reading them, sometimes, I really can’t see why people loved them so much! For example, I read Legend by Marie Lu. Now, EVERYONE seems to love this book and be so excited for the last book in the trilogy to come out…..everyone but me… That’s because when I read Legend, I really couldn’t bring my self to love it… It was just ok. Plus, I felt like there was insta-love but everyone else seems to love the romance….Basically, I’ve become the black sheep in the Legend world..
    Great Post!!

    Rita xx

  6. I definitely understand where you’re coming from. The book I most recently reviewed was Anna and the French Kiss and I came away feeling very disappointed. I’d read SO many good (scratch that, great) things about the novel that I think my expectations were just unrealistically high. That book has such a huge buzz around it and so many overwhelmingly positive and passionate reviews that I think I was expecting a flawless read. It’s pretty much impossible to live up to those kinds of hopes! The hype totally ruined it, unfortunately.

  7. You know, I don’t think the hype around a book makes me like it any more or any less. There are plenty of books that people loved, that I didnt (like Insurgent), but it’s never usually the hype that makes it so – I guess I really just didn’t like it.

  8. I really have my personal opinion really stable on the ground, so it really wouldn’t be affected by other people judgment. So if I’m not influenced by liking or disliking a book… of course if a book is really well considerated among readers, I’m very curious to read it, and if I find opposite reviews compared to mine… well, yes, I tend to sit a moment and re-think about my version of the review. But at the end I understand that is really what I think and I wouldn’t change it at all. Maybe in that moment I’m thinking out of the choir! It happens sometimes for everyone!! Hi from Italy! xoxo

  9. I think about this all the time. I read Divergent and The Hitchhiker’s Guide in the last few weeks and I gave them both 3 stars. I liked the books, but they weren’t favorites. And I don’t get why they are raved about so much.. I think I would have thought the same if they had just come out. What I worry about is: are the books I read previously influencing my opinions? I compared Divergent to The Hunger Games (which I absolutely loved) and thought it was a remake. But maybe I would have loved Divergent if I hadn’t read The Hunger Games first. I don’t really know..

  10. I felt that way with the 5th wave. It sounded amazing, the hype was huge! Then I read the book and it was just SO BORING! It dragged and it was just blah.

  11. This happens to me all the time. I actually didn’t love Eleanor & Park like everyone else.

  12. Geart post! I often think that expectations can change a book and how much I enjoy it. It’s the case with books I heard others rave about and then they fall flat for my, like Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I also have this problem with books from authors I love, I have such high expectations for them and then sometimes it happens that a book doesn’t meet my expectations and while it may still be a good book, it feels like a worse book than when I would’ve read it without any expectations at all.
    I would love to read some books in a vacuum, I think my opinion about a some books would definitely differ if that could. But I also think that some books are just not for me and even if I could read them in a vacuum I still would’ve love them.

  13. This post hit home for me. Usually, whenever I read an “over-hyped” book I don’t care for it and, as a result, try to avoid them. I still try reading a few if I can get them before or just as they are published (I never learn!). Or I read them only if they get nominated for a major book award which usually ends in a good reading experience. The best reading experiences are still from great books that I have found through serendipity while browsing library or bookstore shelves. Thanks for the post!

  14. I’ve actually found my biggest discomfort is when I liked a book a fair amount and then reviews start coming in from other people and they all hate it or at least have major issues. I feel like I’m stupid for not catching offensive things that they point out and feel like I’m not high brow enough :(

  15. I think hype does have a certain amount to do with it… Other times it’s just TOTALLY personal preference. I recently read a book that all of my GR friends four and five-starred and I gave it two. I was SHOCKED and I felt like I was some kind of odd ball… But in a way I actually kind of like being different sometimes. It made me question WHY I felt differently about that book and how I was so far off… But I wasn’t “off”. That was just how I felt. I’m not always going to agree with all the 4 and 5 star ratings out there. Of course, I don’t dislike a book just to be different but I’m definitely not afraid to speak up and say that I didn’t like a book, even if everyone else LOVED it.
    I think it all comes down to personal opinion and feelings — And CONNECTION. I think a lot of it is a connection to the book, actually. Okay, sorry, I’m just repeating myself now. Anyhoo… I get it!!!

  16. The short answer: Yup. I wrote a blog post about this as well. Hype is awesome for authors, but it’s TERRIBLE for us as reviewers. I’m actually kind of grateful when I get to read a book without hype and way before everyone else…but then again, it’s lonely without other people to chat with, and without the hype, I wouldn’t know about a lot of the books that I read (Eleanor & Park is a great example of this – it just sort of blew up in the week before it came out, and I only heard about it then).

    I think my problem is that I sometimes feel like I should give a book a higher rating because of the hype…I’ve kind of overcome that now, but the first time that happened, it was pretty rough.

  17. I feel your pain Jamie. I am right in the middle of Sabriel by Garth Nix which a friend passionately recommended. And I am just not feelin it, at all. I’ve read 2 other books while supposedly trying to read this one, which I had heard for years and years was just amazing. Maybe it was the hype, maybe Garth Nix’s style of writing is just not my thing. Either way I’ve had many of the thoughts you mention and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many more books to love out there so I am moving on.

  18. This post couldn’t come at a better time for me, because I just read The Fault in Our Stars, and while I liked it, it really did not live up to the hype for me. Seriously it seems like every other person on the planet gave it 5 stars, I don’t think there is a more hyped book out there, but it was really just average for me. I felt like someone was going to arrest me for giving it three stars, or send me to social exile.

    I think in some cases hype can definitely set expectations that are too high, which in turn lower my opinion of the book when I do read it, but in most cases, it’s not going to be a book I like either way. Even people with very similar taste are going to disagree on books sometimes.

  19. I relate to this so much! I often pick up books on Amazon through the Kindle Lending Library or for really inexpensive books from indie authors because they have 4+ stars — and then the book is not only something I dislike, but it’s riddled with punctuation and grammatical errors that drive me up the wall! I know every person’s opinion is distinctly their own, but sometimes I’m shocked when I dislike a book so much versus a nearly perfect score out of 40,328 reviews, ya know?!

  20. There are so many books mentioned in the comments that I didn’t like (or like as much as the hype said I should) either: The Fault in Our Stars, Code Name Verity (it was a DNF for me, it was THAT bad), Eleanor & Park. It’s gotten so that I try to ignore the hype, but sometimes I create my own internal hype. Like with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I didn’t love Eleanor & Park by the same author so I shouldn’t expect to automatically love Fangirl but it looks SO good that I’m afraid to read it. I’m afraid it’s not going to live up to my expectations.

  21. This post is so me. I rarely like books that EVERYONE seems to love. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I’m a very different person from a lot of the people I meet blogging. I mean, I love books with “mean” girls and wild party girls and deeply emotional characters because that’s what I relate to.

    I hate hype when it comes to anything. If a book gets a ton of attention, I’ll avoid it. Same with music and movies and television. I know that no matter what, I’m going to have unrealistic expectations so there’s no point in reading or watching it. I’ll wait a few months and if I’m still interested, then I’ll give it a chance. This is the main reason why I don’t read reviews for books I know I’m going to read. It’s going to affect my opinion and I don’t think that’s fair for me or the book.

  22. The hype monster is THE biggest reason why I will/won’t read a book. It has killed several heavy-hitters in YA for me and even on the re-reads, I just couldn’t love them as much as everyone else and I blame hype and buzz. I read extremely early or a while after release FOR THIS REASON. I have learned my lesson. This blog post is exactly me. I was just talking about this with some people on Twitter yesterday, in fact.

    The only book that I can think of that I’ve read immediately around release time that was really hyped and buzzed that I’ve really loved was The Night Circus. Every single other one fell flat or was DNF, including The Fifth Wave and Divergent, and I completely blame hype and over-marketing, which I place in the “hype” category.

    Love your thoughts, lady! xo

  23. Girl, I am SO afraid of hype. It also means I don’t read as many of other peoples’ reviews as I’d like to — until I’ve reviewed it myself or I know definitively that I’m not reviewing the book. I’d even turn off GR’s average ratings if I could.

  24. I totally get sucked in by the hype monster. It’s such peer pressure – I hate feeling left out when people are reviewing and talking about books, and I’m like what? She wrote another book? I feel like I’m out of the loop most of the time, which leads to becoming overwhelmed as a blogger because I want ALL THE BOOKS, so I don’t miss out on a single word. I have a huge list of books I need to review because of all that hype. I’m going back to school in a few months so I’ll be a lot pickier about what I accept and what I ask for because I’ll need to focus on reading for school.

  25. I always feel a little bad when I loved a book and then see on GoodReads it barely has a 3 star overall review. Or when I hate a book and most everyone I know loves it – including the media.
    I’m trying not to let those ideas pull me down. I can like anything I want and dislike a book if I want to. I have discovered if I can give a good reason, this makes me feel better, even if the reason is I just didn’t need this information at this point in my life or because I’m so happy I love everything. And that’s okay too.

  26. I definitely feel the same way! I especially struggle with reviewing books I’ve heard a lot of hype about, because I’m afraid I’m either (a) undervaluing the book because I had really high expectations and they weren’t met, or (b) I’m giving the book a better review than it deserves because I’m trying to negate my feeling of (a). I’m just so thankful my mom happened to find Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before anyone knew who J.K. Rowling was so I could be a bonafide Potterhead. I just know if I had waited for the hype, I wouldn’t have liked it as much because I would have wanted to rail against society haha. Oh childhood angst.

  27. I think often that I am destined not to like that book..and I know sometimes I prefer dark or bittersweet endings to books or series..I know I am in the minority on that!

  28. You said you were reading Harry Potter is that the one you mean? I could see if that is it being disappointed, because honestly? I think we are so immersed in the HP world, even someone like you who doesn’t know it, that reading the book for the first time, it would be a let down. Plus, the first book is just the set up. The following books are where the meat of the story is.

    If it is not HP, I apologize for jumping to conclusions and will agree with you. There are so many books out there and it is so easy to follow along with everyone else. You think I should feel this way about this book, and then you read it and think, huh, that is not the way I felt at all.

  29. I totally agree with you. I also hate it when you read a book when it first comes out and love it, and then it gets made into a film and suddenly you have all these people who are like “OMG I’m the biggest fan ever! I love it more then you!!!” And I’m like, “Say What?! I am an original fan, you only like it now because (for example) Robert Patterson is in the movie!!!”
    Although, then again, I refused to read 50 Shades of Grey (because of the hype surrounding it), but now that Charlie Hunnam has been cast in the film I’m like I MUST WATCH THIS! Haha

  30. I recently had this exact experience with The Bone Season. It’s been incredibly hyped – “Shannon is the next JK Rowling!” While I enjoyed the book, it certainly wasn’t up to that hype. I actually felt incredibly sorry for the author. That is big buzz and big shoes to fill.

  31. I literally just read a book that had a 4+ rating on Goodreads, everyone of my friends on there that read it gave it 4 stars or higher, some called it the best book they were read. Um yeah, I read it and all I thought was, what the hell did they see because this book is a mess! I actually felt bad thinking that and giving it such a low rating, but I just didn’t see what everyone else seemed to see that was masterful. I don’t know if I had expectations from all the love on Goodreads or the comments people kept making while I read it or what, but basically my opinion was at the total opposite end of the almost the whole reading world.

  32. Felt this way about Hush Hush and Fallen. For the longest time I wanted to read those books because everyone seems to love them, and then when I finally got to reading them, I hated them. Loathed them like it was nobody’s business. I guess I just have a lot of feelings, but due to the hype I never thought they would drop so low from my expectations. Now I’m careful about reading books that everyone likes.

  33. I think the hype monster is a bit of my own curiosity amplified by my peers reaction. I try to seek out negative reviews more than positive just to try to keep an even perspective but usually the anticipation takes over…like with The Hunger Games and Divergent. I was curious about both enough to seek them out, but they were just about average to me. Cinder on the other hand was something I entirely sought out myself and was extremely happy with; it’s a series I really look forward to finishing and I’m surprised by the lack of hype around it.

  34. I absolutely have this problem as well! But at the same time, the opposite can really be true for me. I sometimes feel like when a book has been hyped up so much, it has no choice but to disappoint me. So if it ends up NOT disappointing me, it’s a happy surprise! It’s complicated, and there’s no telling which way I’ll feel about a book, LOL.

    I don’t have a problem disliking a book everyone else seems to love, though. I mean, I don’t like it when it does occur. But I know it happens, and some books just aren’t for me. Just like some people aren’t going to like books I adore (in which case, they’re WRONG entitled to their own opinion).

  35. There have been several books where I often wonder if I just wasn’t in the right mood at the time to fully appreciate it. I will sometimes put those books on a re-read shelf with plans to come back to it later to see if that was the case. But the hype gets me all the time and sometimes I don’t even want to read books that are so well loved by others because I’ve been on the opposite opinion far too often.

  36. That never really happened to me. the only time I can remember is the spin off series to Vampire Academy. Everybody seemed to love it and I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it’s because VA is one of my favourite series and I set my expectations too high. Or maybe it’s because I get too attached to characters I love to enjoy the story of another character. Probably a bit of both :p

  37. Before I started blogging, I’d just pick up books and read them. After I started blogging, I would check Goodreads for reviews, or get books because of the hype, and now it’s rare where I actually love a book that everyone else loves. Maybe one day I can go back to just picking up a random book and reading it … withOUT worrying what others think.

  38. When I don’t love one that everyone else loved, sometimes it’s a bit of a bummer, but I try not to get too worked up over it. But alternately, when I REALLY love one, and then I see someone who hated it, I do get a little sad.

    I’ve had some good experiences with hype, and some bad experience. I try to go in blind when I can, or with “blinders on” to the hype, and I find that does help some!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  39. I definitely think that hype can kill a book. It’s one of the main reasons I haven’t picked up Harry Potter. I’m so worried that I’ll be the one person that doesn’t like the books… I agree that this is definitely a downside to blogging. Sometimes I feel like it’s the hype, but other times I think it’s just me. Your point about how you were brought up or your own personal values is a good one. Both those things can definitely influence how you feel about a book.

  40. LOVE THIS! I am so back and forth on this to be honest. I love reading a book early and not having people influence me. However, if I’m on the fence about a book, I love reading my friend’s reviews and opinions to help sway me one way or the other. If a friend with similar tastes doesn’t like a book for valid reasons, it saves me time reading it if I probably won’t like it because it’s not my style. Getting to read early thought? Totally clutch. Makes it unbiased.

  41. That’s me with John Green. I’ve read both A Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska and while I thought they were well written I loathed every single character so much that I couldn’t enjoy the books. But from the wank he’s been getting from bloggers and booktubers you’d think they were masterpieces.

  42. The quote on my blog by Angela Carter definitely works with this post!
    ‘Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms’.

    Despite the hype of a book or whatever, I think it’s important that you take away something completely different and new to other people (as does everyone). Everyone reads differently and so what if we don’t all like them. For instance I really disliked City of Bones but meh! We all bring part of ourselves into our reading so try not to let it bother you :).

  43. I recently read ‘City of Bones’ after hearing amazing things and loving the film, but I was underwhelmed. I preferred the film and I’m not sure I’ll continue with the series. I hear The Infernal Devices series is better in some ways though, so I might give that a go.

  44. I totally agree with you on this! There have definitely been a few books lately that I liked, but didn’t love, and I think that’s partially due to the hype-monster. Not that I think I might have love-love-loved them had I not heard so much gushing about them beforehand, but maybe I wouldn’t have felt that “meh” letdown that comes from hoping for soooo much from a book. Case in point- Legend by Marie Lu; I liked it, it was fun, but having heard so much love for it, I was more than a little letdown by it. Then again, sometimes this may be due more to personal circumstance than hype. I read Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night with high expectations, but only liked, didn’t love, them. But, I was also in the middle of a super-stressful, drawn-out, move across town, still working full-time, while doing so. I’d like to think there’s more than a little chance that my life being crazy at the time colored my feelings somewhat, so maybe someday I’ll go back and give them another chance at winning me over more. Plus, by that point, there won’t be so much recent hype for these books in the back of my mind. Here’s hoping!

  45. While hype may get me to buy a book (well… that was more in the past; I’ve been burned too many times now), it generally doesn’t influence how I feel about it. If I read a book that everyone loves — and that I don’t love — it’s not because my expectations were too high. There are usually specific reasons for my dislike, and they would have been the same even if I’d never heard of the book.

    Two books that come to mind are If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. When I read If I Stay, everyone was saying how great it was, how wonderful the characters were, how heartbreaking it all was… But I just found it boring. The plot, the characters… everything. When I read Elsewhere, I hadn’t heard of it, but now I see it turn up on people’s lists of favourite books. But I thought it had bad world-building, unrealistic dialogue, and a relationship that would’ve thrown one party in jail for child molestation (had he still been alive). In both cases, I think I would’ve felt the same way… even if I had read them in a vacuum.

  46. YES! Nothing turns a decent book into a terrible book like hype. I mean, if it’s a great book, it’ll live up to the hype, but with Divergent, for example, I think I would have just disliked it and moved on. However, everyone had told me it was the best YA dystopia in the history of ever, so then I read it and was all WTF IS THIS SHIT? Sigh.

    I do generally like a hype-free experience.

  47. I was just talking about this the other day on Twitter! I always wonder if I didn’t love it because a) it really wasn’t the book for me or b) hype gave me crazy high expectations. For example, I didn’t love Cinder and I think that’s just because of all the hype since I ended up adoring Scarlet. On the other hand, I’m really not a fan of the Jessica Darling series (even though I did read them all) and I think it’s because they’re just not the books for me. When I think that hype has played a role in my feelings, I actually consider re-reading the book at a later date to see if I might be able to appreciate it more!

  48. I feel way too. I really want to love a book because everyone else does but I just don’t. If I think I will like it more if I re-read it I do try that sometimes and other times I just give in and say I didn’t like it. I know it feels like I am the only one but I know it’s not true and it helps to think that sometimes :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] how she differentiates between different genres. – Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner talks about when she doesn’t love a book everyone else loves. – Kristy and Melissa @ Book Nerd Reviews discuss the downfalls to great reads. – Reem @ I Read and […]

  2. […] Jamie talked about when she doesn’t love a book that everyone else loves. […]

  3. […] When I Don’t Love A Book Everyone Else Loves at The Perpetual Page-Turner […]

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