Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Way We Are: The book that everybody ELSE has read


Has there ever been a book before that you haven't read, but everyone else has? And I mean EVERYBODY. And you're sure that it's a perfectly fabulous book, because so many people love it. 
By Moses (The Crowd For DMB 1) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
But you haven't read it yourself, because it's just not your cup of tea. And since EVERYBODY has read it, everybody talks about it, but you don't get any of the references. And everytime you hear it discussed, you think "I've really got to read that book! If for no other reason than being able to get the stinkin' references!" But then all these other books that are so new and shiny and that are books you ACTUALLY WANT TO READ entice you, so you never really get around to reading the book that everyone else has. Or that author that everybody talks about.

... and time goes on, and you never quite seem to get around to it.

Anyone? Anyone?

Have you ever read a book, not because it appealed to you, but because you wanted to be in the know? Is it worth it?

Because dang. There's some references I'd really like to get. There are some books I have no desire to read whatsoever, and I'm happily fine to never get the references. But others I'd love to understand why they're loved. In fact, I'd really love to love a few classics written by a beloved author (*cough* JaneAusten *cough* I can't believe I just admitted to not having read her stuff ), but I can't seem to make myself sacrifice the really great stuff in my TBR pile.

If you did read one of those Everybody's Reading It books... were you glad you did? Or do you recommend just staying happily in the dark? (And you can tell me what books you're having a hard time reading. I obviously won't judge. (I mean come on! Look what I just admitted to not having read!) Maybe if you're on the fence and it actually is a *really* good book, someone in the comments will talk you into it. ;))

33 comments:

Iain said...

There's a trilogy of books doing the rounds at the moment about a man with odd tastes in pleasure. (I'm not actually going to admit I read any of it. lol)
I only read the first quarter of the first one before wishing that I'd stayed blissfully ignorant.
I couldn't get past all of the errors in the writing style that I'd worked so hard on removing from my own ms.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have yet to read Hunger Games, Twilight, or Shades of Gray. And no, I don't live on an island without access to stores.

JeffO said...

Not so much with books, but I feel like I'm the only person of my generation who has never seen (and maybe won't, just on principle) the movie, ET. *Every*body saw it, *every*body was talking about it, *every*body loved it...except me.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Jeff-- WHAT?! You haven't seen E.T.? But EVERYBODY has seen E.T.! (Great point. I'm that same way with the movie Peggy Sue Got Married. I've never seen it... Even though it has my name in it, and it's the reason I've been asked "Is your middle name Sue?" 347,000 times in my life.)

Jenilyn Collings said...

I'll usually give books a chance when everyone is talking about them, but I don't often finish them. There are so many books that I want to read that it's not worth my time to read something that I know is not for me. :)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Of course! I am very un-hip with popular culture. And, I'll give you examples. I have only read the first 3 Harry Potter books. I have never read any Twilight books or The Hunger Games. I'm probably one of the only ones to never watch "Titanic" either.

Still, I spend hours each day reading for pleasure and am never without a book. There are just so many good ones out there.

I am kind of interested in the Shades of Gray series though; I might try one of those.

Kathy M.

David P. King said...

That was me and Hunger Games for a while. When I finally read it, I liked it, but I wasn't raving about it (and even less so with the movie), but then, I may just not be the audience for it (granted, I'll watch anything with Woody Harrelson in it. :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

There is a YA trilogy out there that everyone raves about. A sci-fi, which I don't really read anyway. I read the first book and really ... didn't like it. A few people thought I was weird, but it just wasn't my thing I guess. And I have a really hard time with classics. Although I did like Pride and Prejudice, but I watched the movie first. ;)
Also, ET scarred me for life as a child. I hate that show! Probably the only one who hates it! :)

Libby said...

Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray. Not my cup of tea, but apparently I'm the only one!

Carrie-Anne said...

I've studiously avoided the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, and also refuse to read Hunger Games. Though I've also avoided Lord of the Rings, it's possible I might finally crack and attempt to read them. Even though its fans can be very annoying, esp. when they find out you've never read their beloved books, at least it's stood the test of time. If HP doesn't end up in the bargain bin someday, as I've always predicted, I might try to read one of those books, but I'm still considering that series a fad, not timeless literature.

Hunger Games is one of the books on the list of sci-fi/fantasy books on my YA Lit syllabus, but I've chosen other books from that list. Besides the fad aspect and the oversaturation, my brain freezes up at first-person present tense.

Kate Fluckiger said...

Never read the Hunger Games series, Shades of Gray books, or Twilight series. People think I'm crazy/just "misguided" but really, I have plenty of other things to read, like Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. Now THAT'S something worth reading! :) (Yes, I have read Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, several Jane Austen, and working on Georgette Heyer. They were awesome.)

Patti said...

There are a few that I've read because of the hype and I've kind of regretted it so I've tried to be more picky about what I read.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I didn't discover Jane Austen or Anne Shirley until my kids put me on to them--and Austen was introduced to be by an adult daughter via the Colin FIrth series. Been a fan ever since. lol

S.P. Bowers said...

Like Carrie-Ann, I really don’t like present tense. The only book where it isn’t like fingers on a chalkboard is Hunger Games.

And Like Chantelle, ET freaked me out and I don’t like it.

Generally if a lot of people are talking about it I’ll give it a try. If I don’t like it I’ll stop (aka Girl with the Dragon Tatoo) Sometimes I won’t bother starting them (50 shades of gray)

I will admit to being a huge Jane Austen fan. My favorite is Persuasion. You have to remember that she wrote humor. It’s supposed to be funny, it’s just a dry, understated British humor. Which I enjoy. She often has me laughing out loud.

Jessie Humphries said...

Yeah, I admit to reading things just because of buzz. I want to know WHY these books are doing so good..so that I can do it too!

Delia Moran said...

I have read Jane Austen. I just didn't like her. *sigh* It's amazing the flack I take for that. And for Little Women, because seriously.

prerna pickett said...

not even going to touch 50 shades with a stick.

Kelly Polark said...

I read Hunger Games because of the hype even though I did not think I'd like the premise, but I ended up loving it.
I also read 50 Shades just to see what everyone was talking about. Is it the best written? No. But I am glad I read it.

Gabriel C. Taylor said...

I am a very slow reader (100 pages in a day of dedicated reading is super fast for me), so I tend to avoid books in a series because it means that much more reading. As a result, I didn't allow myself to get pulled into the Harry Potter books until book 4 was old (book 4 was also the first one that I read). I've read the Lord of the Rings books (took me over a year to finish) but never touched any of the Wheel of Time. I don't doubt they're great books in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, there's just too many of them. Sorry Robert Jordan (and now Brandon Sanderson whose writings I love).
As to your hint to never reading any Jane Austin, my parents were great at getting me to read at least one classic for every modern one. I forced my way through Pride and Prejudice and haven't looked back. I think Emily Brontë did a much better job at capturing class struggles and relationships than Ms. Austin. Sadly, Emily only wrote one book whereas Jane wrote a library.
Other recent books I've never read: The Hunger Games, Twilight, 50 Shades (no desire...and I'm male), Percy Jackson, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (again, apologies to Brandon Sanderson).
And for the fun of it, here's the short list of books I've read multiple times because I found them to be so exceptional: Ivanhoe, Wuthering Heights, The Prince and the Pauper, The Mistborn Trilogy (there you go Brandon, didn't think I'd forget about you, did you?), and The Magic School Bus books.

J. A. Bennett said...

You know I read Wurthering Heights because of buzz and I totally hated it. Not every book is for every person. But... if your looking for a love story to end all other love stories (and one that almost every other love story is based off of) You should read Pride and Prejudice, or at least watch the BBC mini-series. In fact I recommend watching it first. I own it on DVD so maybe we can have a late night P&P party at Storymakers next year ;)

Donna said...

I tend to rely heavily on word of mouth for ideas of what to read. I like book clubs because they generally force me to read some things that I would otherwise not read. However, I have found that many times I do not care for the books that others are crazy about (and vice versa). I will typically not enjoy autobiographical especially when it is all about how awesome the author is - and there have been a few of these in the last couple years that have been HUGE and I despised them. I am also very impatient and want a series all at once so I often start later than other people so that I don't have to wait between books and by then the hype is so high there is no way I could resist. If there is anything that Goodreads has taught me it is this: Everybody has different tastes.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I used to be swayed by all the buzz and hype, but I've learned to trust my gut instincts and read what I want to read and not be persuaded. That said, I did get nudged into reading The Hunger Games books--and I enjoyed them.

Aldrea Alien said...

Hunger Games - Maybe one day. I have seen the movie though.

Harry Potter - I've seen the movies. Couldn't get into the books.

Game of Thrones - Tried. Grew sick of it.

Twilight - Eh. I have all four on my shelf (allover cost $8), but just cannot bring myself to go beyond the first page.

Shades of Grey - I seethe everytime I go past the local bookstore, they have it on their front display.

And I was scared off ET when I was 3.

Z said...

I avoided Harry Potter like an elitest snob...until I caved and became a junkie.

I tried with Twilight, I really did. While I think it's amazing the success Stephanie Meyer has had (and I have to admit to a little jealousy at her immensity) I couldn't stand the books. But hey, I don't have to love everything, right?

I LOVE Austen, but I generally prefer British humor to American. I get a kick out of how laugh out loud funny Austen can be, no matter how many times I've read her.

Um, ET is a well-beloved-but-unwatchable-because-its-scary film I like to think I remember being very brave through.

For me, the really big pop phenomenon I wished I could have totally participated in was the movie Titanic. My friend saw it in theaters 13 times, but my parents wouldn't let me see it because it was rated PG-13 and I was only 12. I saw it eventually, loved it, and was SO excited to see it when it came out in theaters again this year...except then I didn't get to see it because it only played for a short time and I had too much going on (and hubby refused to go with me so I was limited to time frames where he was absent...which equals matinee performances during which I typically work). Sigh.

Books which are popular, but not really my "thing" are a lot of the biographies or memoirs hitting the shelves. I think they're great, I just haven't unearthed a passion for that genre just yet.

John Waverly said...

Sure. I've read books just because they were popular. Some because they have historically been popular like Jane Austen, and some because they are the hot new thing like Twilight, Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, etc. I didn't read them because I wanted to be cool or because I wanted to fit in. I read them because I'm a writer and it's important to learn from other's successes. To be fair, I've loved some and others I didn't, but I've felt each read was worth it.

BECKY said...

Great post, Peggy! I've NEVER read a book that didn't sound like it would appeal to me, no matter how many people I knew, friends and family had all read it, blah, blah, blah! Life is way too short to spend it doing ANYTHING you don't want to do, especially reading BADLY WRITTEN, or just not your style books!!

roro said...

john green , cassandra clare, lauren oliver, veronica roth

i read the hunger games but it was meh

Nicole said...

I'm usually not swayed by the buzz too much...but I'll admit I was WAY behind on Harry Potter when it first came out. I was glad I joined the "everybody's reading it" train on that one. :)

bethchristopher.com said...

I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only person in the entire universe who hasn't read Jane Austen! ;-)

Angela Cothran said...

When people rave about books they rarely live up to expectations. I would rather have someone say "Hey this book was good" instead of "this book changed my life."

But I do like to read classic because they have so much cultural weight.

Susanne Drazic said...

Yep, there are books that I haven't read that seems like everyone else in the world has read. I figure there is no way I can ever read them all.

Diana said...

I've never read Girl with a Dragon Tatto, but I caved on 50 Shades and I was glad I did. All the hype I was hearing was mostly bad, so I decided to see what the fuss was about. Yes there's some....intense scenes, but the overall story is what I love.

Jeff Hargett said...

Too many to mention, unfortunately. :( For me, it usually comes down to priorities and time. I have too much of one and not enough of the other.