Friday, 1 April 2011
A little hype goes a long way
The question for this Literary Blog Hop is, this: Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon?
This is fascinating to think about, which is another way of saying I don't have a straight answer.
I think (hell, I know) the most important factor in picking up a book is enthusiasm. I really love to hear someone being enthusiastic about a book; nothing else will get me hungry for it asquickly. Add a declidicous cover to that book and I will have much trouble trying to put it down in a shop.
But when everyone loves a book -- eh. That can annoy me. I know it's mostly snobbery-related, but it's true. One person telling you 'you have to read this book!' is great; 100 people telling you that is not cool. I'm stubborn, and I don't like to be led, even when I know it's for my own good.
There is also a second factor at play, here; expectations. When you read a massively hyped book, you are expecting it to be great. So if it turns out to be really good, instead of great, part of you will process that book as a failure (as if 'failure to live up to expectations' has anything to do with the book itself).
I am slightly (and deliberately) confusing hyped books with classic books, here. I'm not sure if a classic is just a book where the hype reached escape velocity, or the opposite; where the hype never got so high as to provoke a backlash.