Monday, June 28, 2010

Musing Mondays: Hyped-Up Books?

This week's musing from Should Be Reading asks...

What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype? (think of the Twilight saga, or Harry Potter, or The Da Vinci Code). Do you read them? Why, or why not?

I actually like a lot of the books that are "hyped-up." With the exception of the Harry Potter series, I used to hate them. I thought popularity meant that they were simple, for simple people who didn't know good literature when they saw it. (This is also how I felt about music.)

A note on Harry: The Harry Potter series is one that I grew up with. I had just turned 10 when I received Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for my birthday, and I devoured it—only to read it several more times before realizing I should move onto other books. There is something really incredible about that series that I will not stop loving.

What's changed? I think that the appeal of these books is more broad. They have themes that appeal to people's understanding of humanity, their capacity for love, and their ability to change. More recently, I've read all three of the Stieg Larsson novels (which were unexpected favorites), the Flavia de Luce books (ditto), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and The Help—all of which I loved and would gladly pick up again. I also hesitated on reading Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle, but I was so happy that I finally did; Walls' writing is beautiful, evocative, and particularly heart-wrenching at times.

However, there are some books that received a lot of hype that I'm tired of. Twilight is like poorly written fanfiction in my mind. I thought the characters' names and plot to be especially trite, and wouldn't waste my time reading any future novels in that series. It's also given way to that atrocious vampire trend. I also feel that Khaled Hosseini's books are good, but depict one facet of Afghanistan that popular culture and media have obsessed over. Time to move on and find something fresher.


  1. I usually fall into the "more apt to hate it because of the hype" category. I did give Twilight a try because so many people were telling it was awesome. And I didn't mind it, at first. Then it was like a steady fall toward hate.

    I read Harry Potter because my sister thought it was cool, got to Dan Brown before the world with Angels and Demons (which is way better than DaVinci Code in my opinion), and read TIme Travelers Wife before it hit its stride.

    My thoughts on most of it is that there has to be a reason everyone is talking about it. So I usually give it a chance.

  2. I will never read some hyped books, just because I am not a trend follower and I like to choose books that interest me. I am not a fan of the vampire fixation, either. Harry Potter is a different matter...I may actually get around to reading that series.

    Here's my musing:

  3. Julia, that's really interesting. I don't know, I find that I resist the books but then end up really liking them! Weird. I also read The Time Traveler's Wife before it got going (and I haven't seen the movie), and I agree that Angels and Demons was much better. I actually liked the movie version of AaD as well. Have you seen it?

  4. Laurel-Rain, that's probably a good policy to follow. The vampire thing is really driving me nuts. There's only so much I can take! Harry Potter is, for me, a comfort. It's like a cup of tea and your favorite food on a cold, rainy day.

  5. I sometimes read them to see WHY it's so hyped, and am often disappointed. It's not completely fair, but usually it's because I've heard that THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING YOU MUST READ IT and then I have this extremely high expectation, which is never really met. Except with The Hunger Games. I was not disappointed with that one.

  6. Ohhh yes. The Hunger Games. I'm currently reading Catching Fire, the next book in that trilogy. Have you read it? It's really great so far!

    I don't know why YA books get such a bad rap. Sometimes they're the best books to read!

  7. Speaking of The Hunger Games

    lol end of the shameless plug haha.

    Loved The Hunger Games