2015/01/15

Bookish Reflections: Hype

I've been thinking a lot about hype these last couple of weeks, and I thought it was time to pour some of my thoughts out to you.

Hype is a word that often comes up when talking about books. It often affects peoples impression of books, saying that the book was a disappointment because it was overhyped, or a book being a really big surprise because it there hasn't been any hype at all.

Ever since I joined Goodreads, I usually check the rating of a book before I buy it. However, often when I scroll down to read some reviews, the word hype comes up a lot. It sometimes confuses me a little, because the rating may be a little low, but the reviews are pretty good; because the book was good but the hype ruined it. And I think that's kind of sad, because it can both ruin a really good book and it can oversell a bad book - and sometimes it's accurate.

I can think of a couple of books where I've been either disappointed or happily surprised.

A book that comes to mind when I think about overhyped books is "We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart. This was all the rave when it came out, and everyone kept saying it was so goddamn fantastic, and obviously, I had super high expectations when I read it. And the thing was: it was good. But was it as good as the hype claimed? I didn't think so.

I think I would have enjoyed We Were Liars much, much more if I hadn't known about the hype at all. However, I probably wouldn't have found it or even picked it up in a bookstore if it hadn't been for the fact that I'd heard of it. And I'd heard of it because of the hype.

Now, another book that apparently was overhyped a couple of years back was "The Bone Season" by Samantha Shannon. I recently read this without checking out any reviews first, and I thought it was amazing. When I finished it, I went to Goodreads to see what other people thought, and I was so surprised by the rating and the reviews. After reading for a while, I realized why: this book had been published, saying it was "the next Harry Potter".

Now that is overhyping on another level. If I had gone into that book, having that at the back of my mind, I would have been disappointed too. So the book probably wasn't enjoyed so much by other people, just because it was overhyped.

Sometimes, I think it would be better if I just ignored all the hype all the time, but then again; I would miss out on a lot of good books because I don't even know they exist. Hype is sort of a minefield, I suppose. Sometimes you'll pass through without a scratch, sometimes you'll get blown to bits.

What do you think? Should one ignore hype, or is it okay that way that it is?


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