Sep 4, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Peer Pressure

Today's BTT question is a good one:

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?

I can say wihout hesitation that No! I do not cave in to peer pressure when choosing books to read. The example of the Twilight series is a good one. I know everybody and their brother reads those books, however I'm in the minority because books in that genre simply don't appeal to me. That can be said of Dean Koontz and others as well. My BFF would love nothing more than for me to read Koontz's latest book, but its just not one I think I'd enjoy. (not to mention the fact that clowns freak me out! Sorry B) There are too many other books I'd rather spend my time with. Nothing against those writers, I'm sure they are great books. Given the large number of people who camp out on the night a very popular book like that is released, its fair to say their readership is not suffering. There are so many wonderful books out there, a lot of which don't get the exposure they deserve. I would rather read a book that I am drawn to than one that I should read because everyone else is reading it. Typically, I don't gravitate to the 'mainstream popular titles'. Some of the best books I've read don't make it to the number one spot on The New York Times list.

With that being said, I do take recommendations from fellow readers seriously. But first and foremost the theme of the book needs to interest me. I think that sometimes a book is labeled a success based on the number of copies sold, rather than the content of the book. You can sell a million copies of a bad book and consider it a succcess, but at the end of the day, you still have a bad book.

As a reviewer, I don't feel pressure to be 'up' on current reads. As I mentioned, there are too many books out there to choose from that deserve attention, not just a select few. As a review, I evaluate each book for its content, not comparing it to the latest popular trend.

Granted, when I choose not to read a book that is very popular, I'm not able to participate in discussions, but on the other hand, I'd be spending my time reading something else that is equally as good, but overlooked by some. And by reading it, I could introduce it to someone who normally wouldn't know about that book.

This was a great BTT question! What are your thoughts?


  1. I agree with you, although I have given in when I was younger. I posted about that.

  2. I think my response was very similar - I will read popular books if I think they sound interesting, but I won't read anything just because everyone else is.

  3. I agree.

    I've never read the Twilight series and can't imagine I ever will.

  4. Sad but true, many books that make bestseller list (even international bestseller) are bad or poorly written. As a reviewer, I should give impartial comment on what interests me to read.

    Everyone is reading Eat, Pray and Love which doesn't appeal to me so I just skip it.


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