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Peer Pressure – Booking Through Thursday

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Suggested by JM:

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

Yes, I do feel the pressure. Some books become almost part of a generation. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are more adult-type books, but Indian in the Cupboard and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe are a couple of books that EVERYONE seems to read when they’re younger…though I never did.

What is weird is that the other day I mentioned to someone that I didn’t absolutely love The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and she said: You never like the good books.

I was really taken aback. I didn’t know that I HAD to like any books, nor did I know I was being judged for my taste.

So the follow-up question I’d like to discuss now, is Do you feel pressure to LIKE a popular book? Have you ever pretended to like a book when you didn’t? Sometimes I wonder if I should pretend to like certain books, just so I don’t have to deal with comments like, You never like the good books.

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| Tags: , , 15 comments »

15 Responses to “Peer Pressure – Booking Through Thursday”

  1. Chris@bookarama

    Not really, if I don’t like it I’ll say so. I didn’t care for Love In the Time of Cholera even though everyone (including Oprah) raved about it. I thought the guy was a creep, not romantic. Of course, I always try to be polite about it.


  2. Barbara H.

    No, I’m pretty open about what I don’t like an why. I don’t usually think, “What’s wrong with me that I don’t like this thing that everyone else loves?” but rather, “What is wrong with the world that everybody loves this?” 😀


  3. Sally

    I’ve actually had someone say, “You never like the good books.” to me. (my granddaughter)


  4. bybee

    I can’t read stuff that’s overly popular. I feel revulsion and aversion coming over me in waves.


  5. Rebecca

    I tend to avoid most books branded with mass market appeal…I figure I’m a more serious reader than most, and I don’t want or need to be reading what 98% of “readers” are into. That might make me a snob, but that’s all right by me.

    “You never like the good books” really translates to “You never like the books that everyone else reads,” which translates to “Congratulations, you have not fallen prey to cheap marketing tactics and crappy writing.” Yay for you!

    I haven’t read The Curious Incident , though, so these comments are not intended to be specific for that book. I will be reading it for an upcoming challenge, so we’ll see how I like it.


  6. Swapna

    Hmm, that seems like a snobby thing to say – just bc you don’t like the books she likes doesn’t mean that you don’t like good books!


  7. Jen Forbus

    I’m the kind of reader who says what she feels about a book. If I don’t like it, I explain my reasons for not liking it. I’ve liked some very popular books and I’ve hated some very popular books (and everything in between). I’ve had absolutely no desire to read the Harry Potter books or the Twilight series…neither is of a genre that has ever been a favorite of mine. But if both series encourage young people (or older people for that matter) to read, then GREAT! As for me, I have a huge TBR list and won’t be running out of great things to read anytime too soon.

    I will often read a book based on recommendations from others, especially people I know share common interests with me. But I NEVER decide if I’m going to read a book based on whether or not it’s “popular.” I wouldn’t discard a book just for that reason and I wouldn’t consider it just for that reason. If I made my choices that way, I would never have read The DaVinci Code, Gone With the Wind, The Thornbirds, A Prayer for Owen Meany, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, L.A. Requiem, Shutter Island…all great pieces of literature. My standards are far more complex than “popularity status”.

    But, in the end, what other people read is entirely up to them. I would never want someone else to dictate to me what constitutes “readable” standards, so I would never impose such a thing on others.


  8. Ladytink_534

    I did read The Indian in the Cupboard when I was a kid but it wasn’t until recently that I read some of the Narnia books. I don’t think I’ve ever been pressured to like something that I didn’t before. I hated The Historian and I’ve let many people know it despite thier glowing reviews!


  9. mellymel

    Didn’t like Love in the Time of Cholera, or the Curious Incident. Didn’t bother with DaVinci Code or the Five People you Meet in Heaven (cringe).
    I did get sucked into Twilight though. Big time. And now I’m working to get my street cred back. 🙂


  10. Matthew

    I realize that the type of books that interest me the most–historical fiction, classics, literary prose–aren’t anywhere to be seen on bestseller charts. So I never feel pressured. Every once in a while I find a good one that is popular, but that’s only because it appeals to me, not because it appeals to a mass or a hype.


  11. Joanne

    Fantastic follow-up question!
    I do feel pressured to like certain books, but that does not change my opinion of them and I don’t feel like a horrible person when I voice said opinions.
    As far as the people who say “You never like the good books”, I find myself trying to find out if they read anything other than what is considered “the good books”. Most of the time they stick to mainstream and then I am amazed by what they are missing out on. Then I wonder to myself whether this persons opinion of me matters – everytime the answer is no.
    I read for my own enjoyment and no one has the right to judge me for my choices.


  12. Cathy

    One thing I’ve been noticing in going from blog to blog reading all our responses to this great question is the number of times “I hated______”, “I won’t waste my time on________” and similar things have been said. I have strong opinions on what I read, and I state them very clearly in my blog reviews, but normally I steer clear of discussions. I’m a diehard believer in freedom of speech and in the belief that everyone’s opinion is valuable, but I just don’t feel right in telling someone else that I hated a book they loved (or vice versa). Especially online, you never know when your words are going to wound someone. If someone loves a genre of books that I loathe (although those genres are few), I’m content to say nothing. That person is READING, and that’s what matters. It doesn’t help that I was worthless in debate class in high school. I’ve always been a proponent of “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but that doesn’t mean I have to drown him out with mine”. Perhaps it was because I spent a lot of time in grade school being picked on that I can’t help but see people who’ve read and adored Harry Potter, The DaVinci Code, Twilight…reading these posts and cringing, thinking, “What’s wrong with me?” The answer to that is: there’s nothing wrong with you at all. Just work a bit on developing a thick skin. Thick skins come in handy on the internet!

    Okay. I’m done waffling now! LOL


  13. softdrink

    I don’t really feel pressure to like a book, but if I don’t like it I will wonder if I’m missing something. Then I just move on and read another book.

    Half the time I’ve completely forgotten about the book being discussed, so I couldn’t offer much in the way of discussion even if I wanted to.


  14. Rebekah

    This post is cracking me up because I’m just about to start reading Book 2 in the Twilight series. I didn’t like the first one so much, but have been facing lots of pressure from blog land to read the entire series to see what the hype is all about. Luckily, they’re quick, suspenseful reads so it shouldn’t be too hard to finish the series.

    I felt a lot of pressure to like the Diana Gabaldon series. After reading Outlander and a few chapters of the second book in the series, I had to put it down and move on. They just weren’t my cup of tea.


  15. Jeane

    I like what Rebecca said! I’ve disliked lots of books that are really popular, and don’t feel afraid to say so. After all, we all have different tastes! If everyone liked the same books, reading book blogs would be so boring.


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