Booking Through Thursday - Peer Pressure

Booking Through Thursday 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?

When I walk into a big chain bookstore, one of the first things I see is also the thing I hate most - the Must-Reads display. This is where you will find the newest Oprah/NYTimes/hot-shot reviewer picks, whatever new diet book is the fad of the week and whichever books got tossed into a hat and chosen (by who knows who) to be the "#1 Book Of The Year".  Now normally I will end up reading these books anyways, but I really dislike having them forced upon me. Of course, most people will say "but you don't have to look at the display, just walk right by". And most of the time I do, but it is the folks who buy the displayed books without a second thought that ruin it for me, the ones who read it immediately and then ask me if I have - ready and seemingly happy to banish me to "not a true book lover" status when I say "nah it just didn't grab my interest".

What I choose to read is primarily chosen on whim, what genre I'm in the mood for, what author I have gotten into recently or because of a recommendation from a friend (recommended based on the fact that they truly believe I will enjoy it).

Stephanie Meyer's newest novel is a good example here. I have read all the others in her series and enjoyed them. However I have not really been in the mood for paranormal romance lately, so I chose to wait and read it when the fancy strikes me. I know (for sure) that I will at some point in time pick this up and read it, but not right now. In my opinion this is a very responsible choice for me to make as a reader, for if I read something at a time when I am not "into" the genre/topic I most likely won't enjoy it fully, which creates a possibly skewed view of the work.

As a reviewer I do not believe it is my duty to keep up on current/popular reads. I believe completely and whole-heartedly that for every 10 people reading the newest, hottest book, there are probably 1000 people reading books not even published in the last decade. Once a book has been reviewed once, twice or even ten times, it does not mean that a new review is unnecessary. So I review whatever I read, regardless of whether it's a bestseller, an old favourite or an unknown indie.

I despise peer pressure in any and all forms. People should make their own choices and never be made to feel inferior because of them. To me the books you read are as much a personal choice as the clothes you wear, and people should feel free to read (or not read) whatever they think is right for them at the time.


This could have been a simple answer for me to write but I felt the need to babble today - lol - please excuse my rantings :)

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

No need to excuse the ranting - I for one enjoyed it! Particularly as someone who works in a bookstore, I wholeheartedly concur that I hate the marketing side of books. I dislike this in-your-face side of books mostly, because as you've put it, because it only embraces the Oprah/NYTimes/etc. picks.

Chris said...

I review a lot of older books on my blog because I love classics. I do find that the more obscure the book the less comments the review gets. I keep on reading them though ;)

Smilingsal said...

Marketing will get ya!

Marie said...

Great answer :-)
I review everything I read (or everything I finish!) and it doesn't matter if it's the latest-and-greatest or if it's 50 years old- it's always fun and worthwhile to me, if not to anybody else :-)

Cathy said...

I take great delight in walking into a chain book shop and looking the other way as I walk past the Hype Section. :o)

Melody said...

I hear you, Joanne! :)
I agree reading is all for pleasure, definitely not something to be pressurised to.

"Once a book has been reviewed once, twice or even ten times, it does not mean that a new review is unnecessary." And I like your view on this! :)

marineko said...

good answer :D
i do mini-reviews for our store newsletter, and i almost never choose big titles. instead, i usually go for the good books that people overlook because they immediately go for the popular books, and it makes me happy to see the books i choose sell well!

jlshall said...

I really enjoyed your post - and I prefer to choose my reading material "on whim," too. Even if the book isn't popular or "hot."

Jeane said...

Like yourself, I pick up books to read purely on a whim or what subject I'm interested in at the moment. If a very popular book does catch my eye, I usually wait and read it later. I enjoy reading old books that are not well known, and showing their forgotten faces to the world of readers again.