Hyped books and literary snobs

Since joining the online bookish community I’ve been feeling pressured to read as many hyped books as possible. I feel left out of so many conversations! But I’ve come to terms with it and realize that I can enjoy them as an outsider. The truth is, I don’t want to read what everyone else is reading just for the sake of feeling a part of the conversation. I pick hyped books that actually call to me or are recommended to me by people I trust. To this, my past self would tut-tut in disapproval. I was, not for long, a literary snob. I only read books that were, according to me, respectable. Luckily, something good came out of that shameful time and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today: How my past as a literary snob changed the way I see hyped books.

I think most readers have found themselves with the hyped books dilemma. Are they worth it? Should I read them? Social media keeps telling us to pick them up, but most of us grow wary. We don’t trust the hype anymore or we just don’t get the appeal of some books… but then, other times, some sound really intriguing and we end up reading them. Some people, though, tend to disregard all hyped books without taking a second look at them. This is where Literary Snobs come in.

Small guide to identify literary snobsHow come I was a literary snob?! I think it’s a stage some readers go through and, sadly, that some never come out of. I used to think that reading what everyone else was reading was just following the other sheep in the herd, that it made me have no personality and no opinions of my own. Classics, underrated novels, and more unknown books were, for me, the only respectable literature. Everything else was silly, so the people who read it were consequently silly too. It was dreadful because I felt a terrible pressure to read only certain types of books, which was really boring and it almost killed my joy for reading. Thank goodness it didn’t last long. Now that I can see the error of my ways, I realize that’s where my love for reading as many different things as possible comes from!

My past self would have never read a hyped book or series. I would have rejected the books just for being popular and I would have missed great books by doing so. I wasn’t really enjoying reading as a snob anymore because it was a constraint. By stepping out of that I came to appreciate what each book, popular or not, is able to bring to a reader’s life. Now I can recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly of a hyped book without judging the readers or authors. The good is something everyone should keep in mind when hearing the buzz about a new popular book, the bad is the inevitable, as nothing can satisfy ALL readers, and the ugly is what I think we should all avoid.

The good bad ugly hyped books.jpg

I’m now a big supporter of read what you want, though I also like to push people to read outside of their comfort zone from time to time, so this is where my biggest dilemma comes from:

What about people who only read hyped books?

I would say that if that’s what makes them happy, let them do it! Why shame people for their reading tastes? Why push them towards something they won’t enjoy as much? It’s their entertainment, it shouldn’t be controlled or mocked. Then, I think of how they might be missing other amazing books that aren’t as popular and I start to get afraid of my snob-self coming back.

I’ve concluded that as long as you’re not judging others for their reading habits, you shouldn’t be judged either. I will always recommend people to read something completely different to what they normally read (that’s why I’ve started my Genre Exploration series), but I would never pass judgment on someone because they enjoy picking only hyped books or because they read only romance or new adult novels.

I think we should always keep in mind the good and bad side of reading hyped books and be critical about them, but never get on the ugly side of the scale. I won’t give in on the pressure because that would only taint my reading experience, but I will continue to pick hyped books that sound awesome and ignore those that I honestly don’t have any interest in, even if I miss out on conversations. Most of all, I will continue to read anything I want and judge no one by their reading habits, saying goodbye to my past literary snob-self for good.

Do you consider yourself more of a snob or a free reader? What’s your stand on hyped books? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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36 thoughts on “Hyped books and literary snobs

  1. Great post! I love it. I would say I’m more towards a free reader, I mean I like to read what other people are reading but when I’m buying books I usually always go for what I think I will enjoy and I’m not really thinking about anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m just now realizing my reply never went through for some strange reason. I’m glad you enjoyed the post 😀 I think focusing on our own taste and liking is the best thing when buying books, so it’s great that’s what you do!

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  2. I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle of a literary snob and free reader. I stay away from romance, especially contemporary romance, I feel like they are too close to reality. I’ve never read anything by Morgan Matson or Colleen Hoover, and don’t intend to. When I read I like to be taken away from reality. I have been reading more historical fiction lately and I’ve been really enjoying it.

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    1. I also tend to avoid romance, but I don’t mock or judge people who do read it. I think that makes us free readers 😉
      I’ve also been in the mood for historical fiction lately! Do you have any recommendations?

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      1. I’ve had Beloved on my TBR for a long time, I think it might be time. And Madruder’s Curiosity Cabinet sounds really cool, thanks!!

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  3. I’m a really free reader, however, I tend to gravitate naturally toward really heavy books. But once upon a time I was a YA fiend, so I can’t necessarily judge people who continue to be. As for hyped books, I do feel the need to read a couple to bring blog traffic every so often =\

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    1. I totally forgot to mention that, thanks for bringing it up! I’m afraid of reviewing less popular books because people won’t read them, but I think we have to find a balance sometimes – picking books that we actually read or have interest in, or else is just for the views.

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  4. I’d like to call myself a free reader. I don’t really mind hyped books. I usually look them up on Goodreads and see if they’re for me, and if not, then I won’t mark them as To-Read. But if I feel like I’d want to read it, then I do. I don’t read hyped books because they’re “hyped,” but they do help me be aware of the books I haven’t heard of before. I’m the kind of reader that reads any book as long as I find it interesting or has a synopsis or genre I love.

    Oh, but I do tend to stay in the YA circle though. Sometimes I’ll branch out to MG and NA, but I’ve never read any classics or Adult books. >.< I've tried reading classics before, but it didn't end well. Sigh. Maybe someday I'll try again…

    Great post, Esther!

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    1. Thanks! Great way to see hyped books, you’re right, though I’m afraid I’ve picked some because I’m curious of the talk and not so much of the synopsis (Raven Cycle, which weirdly I ended up loving). Oh, and classics are another topic entirely, definitely not for everyone! You’ve given me another discussion idea, thank you 🙂

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  5. A seriously great post, Esther! I like to think that I’m a free reader because I tend to read books that I feel like reading at the moment and the ones that got my attention without any pressure from other people. But the hype also affects me, most times lol. And I don’t think it’s snobbery that I mostly read Contemporary books because I just really enjoy that genre and I do read books from other genres from time to time. 😄

    I agree with you, we must not feel judged or pressured on what we should read. As long as we’re enjoying what we are reading, all is good. 💞

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    1. Thank you! And you’re definitely not a snob!! The thing about them reading one genre is that they judge all other genres, which is different that just reading certain things out of personal pleasure. But we are all a little snobbish at times I guess hahah

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  6. Love this post! I think I might be a free reader. Either it be a hyped book or not it would always be best to give it a chance. You might love it more than you have imagined and missed out on a lot of great things if you didn’t give it the time. Also I don’t really judge people on what they read. You can’t make someone like the same things as you. It just doesn’t work that way. 😊

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  7. I’m definitely a free reader. I like everything from classics to fantasy to romance. I read hyped books, but I tend to gravitate more toward books I’ve never heard of. I also try our new authors all the time, and I read a lot of self published books. But I have a set group of authors who self pub that I read. I was never a literary snob, but I think we’re all a little snobbish about certain books or genres or even the way we review our books. I noticed a lot of bloggers don’t review self pub books. One could say that’s being a book snob as well.

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    1. Yes, you’re right. I only read a self-published book now that I’ve starting blogging because I was approach by the author. But I don’t avoid them, it’s just that I never consciously look for them. I’m going to try though!

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  8. Awesome post! I sometimes feel like I’m a literary snob because I was an English major in college and Iike reading classics and literary fiction. I often stay away from hyped books because I distrust them. However, there are hyped books that I do read and enjoy, it’s just a matter of if it appeals to me or not. But I think you hit the nail on the head: as long as you don’t judge people for reading what they do, it doesn’t matter! Lovely post!

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    1. Thank you! I totally get it. Being a Modern Languages major, we read mostly classics and I enjoyed them so much that I felt like reading just that sometimes. I’m glad you enjoyed the post 😀

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  9. Great post!!! I totally consider myself a free reader, I really read a good amount a genres, but somehow the majority of hyped books don’t appeal to me, some definitely do of course, like when I read The Raven Cycle and ended up completely in love with it. I need to read more classics though, Frankenstein is my favorite so far.

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    1. Thank you!
      I have Frankenstein on my Halloween TBR of 2016! I’m so excited to finally read it. Same thing with me and The Raven Cycle, I honestly wouldn’t have picked it up if it wasn’t for you because the blurb was so misleading about the romance. Thank goodness I read them ❤

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  10. Great post! Completely agree with everything you’ve said here. I went through a literary snob phase when I was at uni (I think partly because I was studying English, so most of the books I was reading were classics and I didn’t have much time for anything else), and I never used to pick up YA, at all. But now I read loads of YA and I’m a firm believer that people should read exactly what they want/feel like reading. I completely get where you’re coming from with the ‘feeling left out of hyped book conversations’ though – I feel so much pressure to keep up with all these new releases that everyone is talking about, and sometimes it stops me from reading other books I’ve got on my shelf which are not as well known or new.

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    1. Thank you! I’m glad you understand. Apparently everyone that’s studied English (or Modern Languages in my case) has gone through a sort of snobbish stage. It’s being surrounded by all the classics that does apparently hahah

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  11. Brilliant post! I wouldn’t call myself a literary snob, as I prefer reading all kinds of books, but there was a time when I studied English lit and only read classics, so I completely forgot how much I missed YA. I’m slowly getting back into reading YA, and it’s quite difficult because there are so many hyped books out lately and I’m never sure where to start. I am quite hesitant to read hyped books though – so I’ll make sure that reviewers I trust like the book before I decide to give it a read. I don’t mind reading books that others might not find so interesting though.

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    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀 OMG another comment that points at studying English as causing a sort of snobbery! It’s a fun discovery hahah
      That’s good, having trusted reviewers to look up whenever in doubt.

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      1. Haha well, I think when I studied lit, I forgot to read for my own enjoyment, and I analysed a lot more (naturally).I just completely forgot about YA, and now I’m back to read it 🙂

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  12. I’m definitely a free reader and usually I tend to stay away from hyped up books. It isn’t because I think they’re no good, but just that after trying to follow what books are being recommended from everyone, I’ve usually found that I don’t like them. For the most part, the books I read and review are on the more unknown side, but lately I’ve been really enjoying what I’ve been choosing. It doesn’t mean I’m any less open to hype books as long as someone I know has similar and good tastes recommends them!

    Great post!

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  13. Just found this post and it’s great! In my experience, I end up being disappointed with the hyped book. But not always. Just on the average, so i’m always a bit hesitant to jump into one that “everyone” is reading. I”d like the book to be well written, please, with good dialogue, not clunky cliched stuff. Interesting characters, not predictable stereotypes. I like literary books and “trash” alike, depending on my mood of the day. I don’t expect people to like everything I like and vice versa. I’ll certainly take on recommendations but take the hyped books with a grain of salt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah, some sadly turn into disappointments, but there are always gems. I wouldn’t call it trash, but I understand what you’re saying. I think we all need to balance our reading. A literary one, a fluffy one, then we don’t get stuck reading the same type of books. Also, when someone you trust recommends a hyped book is a dangerous situation haha, because you can love it or be truly disappointed and then it’s all awkward (at least for me) 😛

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