A few months ago, I was idly scrolling through social media, nothing registering in my mind, when I came across this question that someone had put up, asking, “Why do we see books that a majority loves as ‘overhyped’? Why is it that if a majority loves a book, their collective opinion is considered untrustworthy?” And this stuck. It got me thinking. Because it’s true. We always say that people are making an unnecessary fuss out of a book, that they are hyping it up, and that they ‘lied’. Why? How is their opinion of something a lie? How can an opinion be a lie?
I myself used to be this kind of a person. Sure, I still get influenced by social media and I still want to buy the books that I see that I find are interesting. The fear of missing out is real, after all. But back then, if I got a popular book that I ended up not liking, I said outright that people were making a bigger deal out of it than necessary. I basically thought that the people loving the book were lying when they said the book was good. And in hindsight, I see how wrong that is.
Because unless a book is actively hurting someone or promoting the wrong things, I can’t be someone to say that someone is lying about it. Moreover, if most readers like the book, then they like the book. They’re people. They have the right to their own opinions. Someone who has a different opinion cannot diss them for their opinion. Talk about the book, talk about how you found it problematic, talk about what you disliked about it. Don’t insult the person who is talking about liking it.
This is, however, easier said than done. Still, I’ve been taking conscious steps over the past however many months. If you watch my videos, you’ll see that I’ve been mentioning that if I don’t like a book that you like, it isn’t a personal attack on you. If you liked it, if it helped you, then perfect! Superb! Fine! But it just didn’t work for me. And yet, the same courtesy is, a lot of times, not accorded to us creators. We’re expected to fall in line with popular opinion and if we don’t, God save us.
I’ve been at the receiving end of a lot of such comments. When I made the rant video for The Subtle Art of Nothing Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, I had people call me names for saying I didn’t like it. Apparently, I have an empty top floor because I hate the book. And then when I posted the rant review for The Starless Sea, there were one or two comments basically saying that I was not an intellectual which was why I didn’t understand the book and which was in turn why I didn’t like it. Just wow. Just… Wow. And then there was my rant about a movie. Oh, boy, that was traumatic! Fans of that particular actor came for me, calling me names and saying things I don’t want to repeat. It’s strange, how people can get protective and not consider for a minute what they are saying.
My point is, I try to practice what I preach. It takes time for my brain to understand some things but when I do, I try to put it into action. And half of these things stick immediately while the others need to be done over and over again. But I’ve understood that I can’t really tell someone when they’re talking about something they love that they’re making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe it meant a lot to them, maybe it changed their life, maybe it helped them in ways I cannot fathom. So instead of dismissing the person and their opinion, just acknowledging their opinion and talking about my own as I speak seems to be the better way out.
The bottom line to this whole blog post is that when we call a book ‘overhyped’, it sort of sends the wrong message, according to me. If a book is popular and you didn’t like it, just because out of 10,000 people, 9,000 people liked it and a thousand didn’t, doesn’t mean that the 9,000 who liked it were wrong. Just don’t diss on those 9,000 people because it didn’t fit your taste. Just don’t.
And on a related topic, please don’t reader shame a person for liking or not liking a book just because you didn’t like it or if you liked it. It’s not a personal attack on you when they’re talking about the book. You don’t even know the person. And if you did, it’s more of a reason to not do it. Don’t reader shame.
(I did a full impassioned video about reader shaming a couple of years ago. If you’d like to go check it out, here’s the link: Reader Shaming – Video. And here’s the blog post: Reader Shaming – Blog Post.)
In conclusion, to generalize a book as overhyped or to say that people were ‘lying’ to you when they said the book was good is just another form of reader shaming. If they said the book was good, they were giving you their opinion. Which is what reviewers do. It’s their job. Let’s talk about books openly and honestly, but without insulting each other. Let’s take ‘overhyped’ out of the conversation and add respect to it. After all, we deserve respect, don’t we? Who better to start showing respect to than to each other?
(I wrote a long blog post about getting paid for book reviews as part of Blogtober. Do go check it out. <3)
So those were my thoughts on the term ‘overhyped’ when used in connection with books and about reader shaming. What did you think of this blog post? Did you like it? Did you not like it? What are your thoughts on what are thought to be ‘overhyped’ books? What are your thoughts on reader shaming? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 😊
I’ll see you in tomorrow’s Blogtober post.
Until next time, keep reading, don’t reader shame, and add melodrama to your life! ❤
3 thoughts on “Overhyped Books – What Does This Mean? | #Blogtober22 – Day 10”
Reblogged this on keyboardcritic.