Discussion: Reading and High Expectations

We all know the feeling of waiting months, even years, for a book to be released. Most readers have their favorites author and genres, and there’s nothing better than finding out that your favorite author is writing another book. Then there are the books that are everywhere that pique your interest. I get most of my book recommendations from blog reviews or simply seeing a lot of people mention how great it is, so I sometimes start a book thinking it’s going to be a 5-star book for me because the review was wonderful and painted the book in an extremely attractive light.

Then the book is a bit of a letdown.

Now, I’m not saying that the reviewers are at fault here at all or that the book is necessarily bad. We all have our personal preferences for everything (books, television shows, music, food, clothes). Sometimes a book simply doesn’t live up to the hype for a handful of people. I very rarely regret reading a book, though, because reading is one of my favorite things to do and I like to read what is really popular at the time. It teaches me how different genres change and also what sort of audience is out there. It also shows me whether or not I’m part of the audience for a particular book or genre. For example, sometimes I adore YA contemporary, and I have my favorite authors, and other times I feel like I may be a little too old to relate to the characters. Most of what I read is YA, so that’s obviously not how I feel all the time, but I learn a lot about my own emotions and personality when I read something I don’t connect to.

But the worst part of high expectations is that feeling when reading a book or just finishing it when you don’t even know what to rate it, or you’re trying to sort through your feelings on it and you’re not exactly sure why everyone else loved it and you didn’t. (This also happens to me with television a lot.)

This happened to me recently with two books that I was so excited to read. That has made me wonder if it’s me and my preferences or the high expectations that I had regarding those books. I think that it can definitely be a mix or both, and other times the high expectations can cause me to over analyze the popularity while I read. That’s when I get the most disappointed because there are some books that I think I could love if I wasn’t under the impression that they’re considered the greatest book in the world.

What do you think? Has there been anything lately that hasn’t lived up to your expectations? Or maybe you’ve dealt with the opposite effect (an unpopular book that you’ve loved). This is my first “discussion” post, so I’m interested in knowing what you all think.

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