Saturday, September 3, 2011

Justifying and dismissing hypes

Remember months back, when I wrote a quick post about different types of hype? One of my final conclusions was that based on the different types of hype, I might be convinced (or dissuaded) from reading certain books. I started thinking about this again after each of my siblings briefly asked about my opinions on two young adult phenomena (in two separate incidents). The first was Twilight. The second, The Hunger Games.

I remember Twilight from back when it first came out. My local (beloved) Borders gave it super-hype treatment, placing the then-still-attractively-original covers in prominent placement in the young adult section. Like any good 14 year-old bookworm, I approached the display. Read the dust jacket description. Wrinkled my nose. Bought other books. Left the store. A few months later, noticing that the display was still there, I read the first few pages. Still lame, I thought, abandoning the book. It should be noted that I remember nothing of what I read. But I remember thinking to myself, "Okay, not the book for me." On the other hand, when The Hunger Games came out I thought, "Cool concept but I bet everyone is totally overreacting". The basic premise intrigued me. How couldn't it? Vaguely sci-fi, heavy plotting, kick-butt story... exactly the kind of escapist young adult book I'd be bound to enjoy.

It's that fundamental difference that highlights why I refuse to read Twilight but had no problem "giving into hype" and reading The Hunger Games. The basic premise of Twilight bores the pants off me. The Hunger Games, meanwhile, hooked me. Whether it's marketing (because seriously even The Hunger Games has too much stupid romance and love triangles) or simply my tendency towards gorier stories or really that the stories are so different... I don't know. I only know that at the end of the day I read and can vaguely recommend The Hunger Games to specific people whereas very little will succeed in getting me to read Twilight.

At the end of the day, hype succeeds only if we have a shred of curiosity regarding the book. There are some books so far outside my interests that it doesn't matter how much hype they get... I'm not likely to read them. Hype backlash and all that. But if I'm even just a tiny bit interested in the premise or the plot... that's enough. That's enough to convince me that maybe the book is worth reading, even if it often isn't. So yes - I'll continue to dismiss Twilight in spite of its popularity because it holds little interest for me, and I'll continue to defend my choice to read the enjoyable-if-flawed The Hunger Games because it has a cool premise and one of my favorite teen-girl main characters in a while (even if all the other characters in the series feel pretty flat and wooden). The marketing and the type of hype really do make a difference.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to hear you consider these two books -great that you enjoyed The Hunger Games! I finally read Twilight- b/c I was curious about all the hype - and though I'm sure I could get with a good vampire story, this really wasn't the one for me. I don't think hype could truly persuade someone who wasn't at all interested to try something, but I guess it's good marketing if it persuades someone with even just a little interest to at least try it and see.


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