A gripe about hype

I have just abandoned reading Yellowface by R F Kuang. It now joins the other books on my extensive list of ‘hyped reads I was inevitably disappointed with’. Just a few on this list are Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, Normal People by Sally Rooney, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (not reviewed because I abandoned it), The Appeal by Janice Hallett, The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, and Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. For every massively hyped book I’ve encountered and not liked, I’ve read a hundred lesser-known, little-promoted books which I’ve really enjoyed. It seems unfair that certain books are relentlessly pushed upon consumers via social media and in bookshops, to the point where you feel there is something wrong with you if you haven’t enjoyed what all the bloggers and critics are raving about, while brilliant books go under the radar because they don’t have the finances and connections of a mighty publisher’s marketing team. I so rarely like what happens to be the zeitgeist book of the moment that from now on, super-hyped books will be the lowest priority and I will be focusing on reading exactly which titles appeal to me, whether anyone has heard of them or not.

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21 thoughts on “A gripe about hype”

  1. Yes, I’ve been suckered into buying and reading books then wondering what the hell I’m missing because I didn’t see what all the fuss is about. My biggest disappointments were Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber and The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake.

    1. I haven’t read those but certainly heard of them. Most of the books I read are from the library so I always think I should check out the hyped books when they appear in the new releases. I still like to see what other people are reading and raving about though.

  2. I’m the same. I actively avoid books that receive loads of publicity, mainly because I will look to see what they’re about and find they usually sound
    quite unappealing anyway. I could never read a book just to keep up with the Jones”s (I bet that apostrophe is wrong, but never mind 😆).

    1. Yes I know what you mean about the Jones’s and I call these ‘bandwagon books’. Usually if a book has won a prestigious prize I will not read it, sounds awful I know but they never turn out to be my kind of read.

  3. I’ve always avoided hyped books. Now with ARCs, I don’t typically know if they’ll be hyped or not since I’m usually sent them early on. So, I guess I’m part of they hype if I like it 🤣😂🤣 but my feelings are genuine since I’m ahead of they hype.

    I’ve noticed, on Instagram though, indie authors have done a whole thing where they post for ARC teams and send out promo boxes. They found a way to get others to hype their books on there. It’s very interesting and great for indie authors. Though it looks like there would be a considerable expense to it. I have no idea if it pays off for them.

    1. That’s a good point, with an early ARC you haven’t got the hype to influence your expectations. Yes, indie authors could do with all the boosts they can get, however the cost of printing and sending physical ARCS would be beyond most, while many cannot afford a marketing budget at all.

  4. I know Bookish Beck, a book reviewer in England (by way of Maryland, U.S.) had the same feeling about Hamnet, anyway, so maybe her blog would be worth a try? There’s no accounting for taste, but once I found a reviewer whose tastes seemed to jive with mine, I tried fewer books that were complete duds. It is amazing how much money is thrown at those few select “darling” books. Sigh.

    1. This particular book, Yellowface, is everywhere at the moment, there is a big display in the window of my local bookshop, it’s all over social media, but oddly I thought I would actually like the book as it has a publishing / writers’ stolen identity theme. Interestingly I always end up finding other reviewers who agree with me on books that I thought everyone else liked, but always in the minority.

  5. It can be disappointing when eagerly awaited books fall short of expectations, but refocusing on novels that personally resonate rather than following fashion trends can make reading more enjoyable.

    1. Yes, you are right, reading should be enjoyable and not forcing oneself to read the books others say you should be reading.

  6. Interesting thoughts and replies , I find the old celebrity books quite poor and not as good as indie writers

    1. Thanks Morton, it is a subject I often think of. I have read a lot of indie books which were better written than some by famous authors.

    1. Certainly, if you read books before they are hyped and you enjoy them then that’s great. I only requested an ARC of Malibu because I had loved reading Daisy Jones (a rare case of living up to the hype).

  7. i think the value of a book should be determined by personal enjoyment of it rather than by popularity.

    Reading preferences are subjective for everyone……..

    1. It is all subjective, agreed. I don’t think popularity can be measured, how many readers are hopping on the bandwagon because the book is heavily promoted and how many readers would have picked the book up and enjoyed it without the hype?

  8. At the end of the day were all different, and we all like different things, thats what makes the world an interesting place. I do actually love finding a book that is very low key, and enjoying it so much lol! Sometimes, I think, when you don’e expect too much from a book you enjoy it more. I picked up a couple of books yesterday, just because they sounded like a lot of silly fun, I didn’t know anything about them. I’m really looking forward to reading them. I also feel with books that are very hyped almost pressured into liking them. For example, I’ve just finished Fourth Wing, I can see why people are on a hype train, but I’ve read a lot better books, but I still enjoyed it, though I nearly put it down a couple of times. Its not going to be a favourite book of the year. Yellowface I did really enjoy, and Malibu Rising….however Babel, I really struggled, and I had to stop reading it. I will try again another time, but that was another book that was very much hyped.

    1. Good points! Yes it does seem like there is almost a peer pressure in the book blogging world to rave about the same books that are being hyped. I never ‘try again’ with a book I DNFed because there are so many others to read. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  9. UGH I feel this in my bones because it’s almost a death sentence for me to have any preconceived expectations for a book: a hyped book I am all but guaranteed to not have my expectations met. I hope you enjoy those silly books

    1. That is how the hype works, it’s a marketing tool which publishers put a lot of effort into so we see the book everywhere. I like to read books I know little about and then I may be pleasantly surprised.

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