Thursday, July 17, 2014

Books and Expectations (a ranty-type post)

I want to crawl under a rock and not hear anybody else's opinions on books (especially books that I want to read) for a very long time. 

Sunny, don't you think that's a little drastic?

Nope, not one bit. Being a book hermit is perfectly normal and socially acceptable right?

Ahem. Not really, especially since you are a book blogger. What brought this crazy-speak on anyways?

I'm so glad you asked, inner brain voice, so glad you asked...
I've realized that high expectations are ruining books for me. I consume a lot of opinions about books, especially popular books. I read book reviews, I get recommendations from friends, I check the top books at the library, I check Goodreads ratings, and I work in a public library ('nuff said). All of these opinions are fogging my reading experience. 

So right now I'm reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This book has been praised so much in the book blog world and received very good ratings on Goodreads (4.22 out of 5). A few people have also personally recommended it to me. From everything I've heard, I'm expecting this book to be amazing, something special. 

That's it right there, the expectations like that; it's ruining books for me.

Whether or not I want it to happen, I start to expect something more from this book than the average book I choose (mostly at random) from the library. I'm forming these expectations from other people's opinions. And what makes me so annoyed is that way too often the book doesn't meet those high expectations. 

Even if a book is good or even just okay, it's ruined for me because it wasn't as good or as moving as it was supposed to be. Instead of enjoying what was good about the book, all I feel is disappointment. 

And I don't think that I'm the only person who this happens to. Take, for example, any popular book (Divergent, Hunger Games, Twilight etc. etc.), you always have people who love it and people who hate it. There is rarely a large group who feels like the book was "just okay". Because the expectations for these types of books are so high, when people read them and are disappointed, they tend to have a more drastic negative reaction. 

So you think nobody should ever talk about books they've read?!

No, not at all! Hearing other people's book opinions helps me choose what to read next and what to stay far away from. People sharing their book opinions is how fandoms start and how bestsellers happen. So yes, share your opinions! I certainly share mine. 

Buuuuuut....sometimes, I just get tired of hearing other people's book opinions before I've read the book. Sometimes, I get tired of having book preconceptions and disappointment.

And sometimes, I get tired of ranting.

Reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Watching: Rookie Blue
Listening: Relient K

10 comments:

  1. That happens to me quite a bit, which leads to a love/hate relationship for me with book reviews and recommendations. I love reading book reviews because I get to find interesting books that other people also like, but at the same time, I sometimes get such high expectations that the book doesn't live up to.

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    1. I'm totally with you there! A love-hate relationship is a great way to describe it.

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  2. Hahah this is so true! I think every reader hates it when the book is ruined by their expectations or all the hype. I remember reading These Broken Stars, and only liking it mildly, while everyone else was like THIS IS THE BEST. Now, what I usually do, is when I discover a new book or read a review of a book, I'll wait a long time before getting it, that way I forget what the review or blurb said. It works much better this way for me, because I can now just focus on my own thoughts, rather than others. :)

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    1. Oooo! That's a good idea! I should try waiting for a book's popularity to die down a bit before I read it. I'm going to do that. Thanks for the tip!

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  3. YES. Happens to me with movies all the time. I keep telling myself not to look up reviews because if I think about it, I realize just how much our opinions are guided by what we expect, not what is actually in front of us.

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    1. You're right; it's amazing to see how much our enjoyment is based off of outside opinions. I also find my opinions of a movie/book/tv show that I've already read/watched change if I read a review afterwards. It's like the reviewer points out all these flaws I didn't see when I read the book and then my own opinion gets corrupted. But at the same time, sometimes the reviewer points out some great things that I never noticed.

      What can I say, it's a love-hate relationship. Thanks for commenting!

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  4. Oh, I can totally totally understand that. :| It gets difficult. I want to comment on lots of blogs and read all the reviews and just be...around. But then, on the other hand, I have had book hypes sort of dash my expectations when I get around to reading the actual book. The Winner's Curse failed to inspire me. I was expecting something SO epic from the hype, but nope. I felt very "meh" about the whole thing. Would I have felt different if it hadn't been over hyped?? (I also read like fifty billion reviews on that one.) *sigh*

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    1. Ugh, the dreaded "meh" feeling over popular books that you want to love, but just don't.

      I tend to only read reviews AFTER I've finished a book so I don't spoil anything, but sometimes I'm weak and sometimes reviews are just too entertaining!!!

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  5. I get that too -- I just read Fangirl myself, after being lent it by a friend who told me "IT'S AMAZING!", to which I said "I'M SO EXCITED TO READ IT!!!", but for various reasons I wasn't that keen ..... and now I'm going to have to give it back to her saying "Umm ... welll ..."

    The Fault in our Stars is another book I loved, but even as I was reading it there was part of me that *wanted* to think, "this isn't as good as all the hype says".

    Thanks for the follow by the way! :D

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    1. Aww, you didn't really care for Fangirl? I tried to tune out all the hype for that book and just enjoy it for what it was, and that seemed to work out for me:) It was a solid read.

      TFIOS has definitely gotten a lot of hype. I was in the same situation as you. Although I enjoyed it, after what I like to call a "sober thought" I did have a few issues with it.

      You're most welcome for the follow:)

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