Sunday Salon 67 – Book Buzz

Posted 29 July, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook / 45 Comments


Happy Sunday!! I got called out this past week by the Sunday Salon Police for not having posted a Sunday Salon post in a while, so here we are! I’ve actually been good and writing down ideas when they come to me (at least some of the time). It’s just a matter of getting words on screen.


A couple of months ago when I posted about The Night Circus there was a little bit of a discussion in the comments about reading a book before, during, and after the publicity and hype it might be receiving. Thanks to Joy (from Thoughts of Joy) for the post idea.

Bookish Buzz.

As book bloggers we choose whether we take part in the bookish buzz or not. Personally I never paid attention to newly published books before I started blogging. And if I’m really honest I’d say I’m still not entirely interested in what’s coming out this fall or this winter or even what’s coming out next week. Whether we choose not to take part in the buzz, it is more difficult to ignore the buzz. Especially on twitter.

I am of several minds when it comes to bookish buzz. They’re very contradictory. Just warning.

1. I like to avoid hearing too much about a book before I read it. I’ve discussed this several times and I’ll reiterate again that the less I know about a book going into it, the more enjoyable I find the experience. For me it is all about the unfolding and peeling back of the layers to get to the juicy unknown inside.

2. I’m sometimes grateful to have read a book before it has gotten too hyped up. Hunger Games is one of those. I was able to read it without knowing what a Hunger Games was and was able to form my absolute own opinion.

3. But then when all of the Hunger Games hysteria was going on, I kind of wished that I was a part of it. Instead I felt like the old lady in the room.

4. I get really annoyed when I accidentally learn too much about a new book. Accidentally = reading too much crap on twitter. Twitter is tough to ignore–it’s easy to see things accidentally (another reason I shouldn’t use twitter as my personal sounding board), but blogs are easier to ignore. I’ll skip your 5 paragraph book summary every single time.

5. When there is so much buzz buzzing about a book, I want to jump on that bandwagon so quickly my shoes might come off in the leap. Since I read at a snail’s pace this rarely happens. And by the time I do get onboard I typically already know too much and the opinions are coming out and they casually sway the way that I feel. And usually not in a good way (ie let down).

6. Thus I try to let a bit of time pass before I read a book that is incredibly hyped. So that the extreme reactions can die down and I can read the book “on my own.”

7. But then you’re on your own and everyone else has read it except you. Everyone.

8. So the solution is to read the books before the hype? And risk feeling like the old lady in the room? Or wait 10 years until no one cares about the book anymore.

I don’t know…but my book club is reading Gone Girl in September and I just don’t think I can wait that long. The buzz is extraordinary. Superduperextraordinary. I fear that someone will let something slip (right now all I know is it’s a book about marriage and it’s all I want to know). Or I fear that it’ll be just “meh” after the superduperextraordinary buzz.

Does any of that make sense? It doesn’t really make sense to me either.

How do you feel about bookish buzz? Ramble away…

45 Responses to “Sunday Salon 67 – Book Buzz”

  1. Hey Trish….I’ve been feeling like the only one who hasn’t read Gone Girl..LOL I’ve enjoyed all of the author’s previous books.

    BTW..that for hosting the Stand-along…I was a bad participant but was glad I joined in.

    Is it true there will be an IT-along as well…LOL?

    • *Diane – So did you finish The Stand!? Guess I need to pop over your blog and find out. ;) As far as an IT-along…it was NOT my idea and I’m still not sure what happened. Think I was offered up as sacrifice. Ha! You in??

  2. I agree with and/or understand most of your points (I don’t do Twitter). There’s no perfect formula, but personally, I think I prefer being on the frontend of the reading frenzies. Like you, I do not like to know much about a book prior to reading, so reading on the frontend avoids spoilers, and that’s important to me. Either reading an ARC or a freshly published book is most exciting. Unfortunately, that comes with reading some duds along the way because they haven’t been filtered by other readers. Again, there’s no right or perfect answer, but for me, the momentum of a hyped up book certainly is more fun to be swooped up in than being alone years later with book in hand and the lost memories of others. That actually happend recently with my reading of Presumed Innocent. I think it would have been better for me to have read it during its hype, which included a movie.

    All that being said, I will continue to read newly published books with hype galore and older books because there’s just not enough time in a day to read everything new. I want to read the books I missed or back lists of authors I just discovered. Again, no definitive answer, and we really don’t have to make sense of what we choose. Let’s just hope we choose wisely (I’m not so good at that) and enjoy every book we pick up – old or new, hype or no hype. :)

    I say go ahead and read Gone Girl while you have that little buzz going on. Unless you’re the type that likes delayed satisfaction, then wait. HA! Whatever works for you!

    Thanks for the link-love. :)

    • *Joy – Yes! I think the main point is we don’t have to make sense of our choices–I know that my choices change like the wind. You make a great point about risking the duds–which is one of the reason why I dropped ARCs in the past few years–but generally I do like being on the front-end. In terms of back lists–the great thing about them is most of the hype has died unless there’s a movie coming out so it’s almost like reading it on the front-end again (sometimes). Again…so many contradictions! ;) I don’t remember…have you read Gone Girl?

  3. Book buzz? Eh…for the most part, I don’t really care as I read what I want to read and not what the rest of the book blogosphere is reading. However, on rare occasions like The Hunger Games, I do want to know what the fuss is all about.

    • *Unfinished – You really didn’t mention anything about the Sunday Salon Police?! ;) And yes…mostly I don’t care either but there are some books that are just impossible to ignore!

  4. I always try to limit by book summaries to one paragraph whenever I can. I’m okay with two paragraphs but not three. I think a good summary should just tell what the book is about, not about what happens in the book.

    I liked Gone Girl but it’s a four out of five star book for me. I say go ahead and read it. You won’t forget anything key about it between now and September. You can use post its if you like.

    A few years ago I subscribed to NYRB Editions. You can do this on their website. They sent one book to me each month. I could read it without reading the back cover so I’d have no expectations at all going in. Would it be funny, would it be science fiction, would it be a mystery, no idea. It was fun to do. I generally like NYRB Editions and they are always quality work even when I don’t like them.

    Now books just sit on my TBR shelf for years until I’ve forgotten why I bought most of them in the first place. So reading them is a surprise but there’s never any bookish buzz going on.

    • *CB James – I was thinking about you the other day when I was listening to The Stand and heard “Are you ready CB…” I didn’t realize it was a phrase. Anyway…when I was a newer blogger my posts were mostly summary but now I try to limit to one or maybe two paragraphs. Sometimes one sentence. But I think this stems from my personal preference that less is best.

      I’ve never heard of NYRB Editions but I’m intrigued by the idea! There are many books that I’ve picked up because so many people have read them but in actuality all I know is how people felt, not what the book is about. I admit that this has led me astray a few times but generally not. The discovery is a lot of fun, isn’t it?

  5. It all makes perfect sense to me, I’m the old lady in the room, I’ve not finished the Hunger Games series, nor the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, I’m really old, and slow. I don’t really want to know what the publishers think, I’d like to make up my own mind. Have a great week, and how’s that sweet baby?

    • *Irene – Well, if it makes you feel any better I’m young and slow. ;) I’ve only read the first book of both Hunger Games and Dragon Tattoo series. Though I wonder if that’s more because I don’t like series than because of anything else. Sweet baby is good except she has discovered how to throw temper tantrums. Ha!

  6. I’m the same, in two minds. I prefer to read a book before the buzz starts but hate feeling left out when the buzz is going on. I actually envy the people who still have the book ahead of them.

    By the way, you’re making me want to read Gone Girl – I haven’t heard ANY buzz but I saw you mention it on Twitter and now here. You’re the buzz! :-)

    • *Joanna – I AM the buzz?! :) Most of the buzz I’ve heard has been on twitter–apparently this is a must read book!

  7. I usually enjoy a book more if I read it before the buzz, but then when the buzz comes out it can kind of ruin it for me, you know? Reading after the buzz can make me choose I book that I might not otherwise have picked out, as you get the benefit of other people’s opinions. I don’t think I’ve ever read a really hyped book during the buzz, unless it was one of the latter Harry Potter books. And thus ends a rather long non-answer to your question. :)

    I’m on the waiting list for Gone Girl and trying to avoid reading reviews so it’s not spoiled for me.

    • *Beth – LOL! We’re all about non-answers here. Tricky questions with sticky answers. I know what you mean, though, and I definitely agree that buzz has caused me to put several books on my wishlist. Most times I do like to wait until the book dies down a little bit but sometimes it’s just impossible to wait!

  8. I like it when I can get in on a book pre-hype, but I’m risk averse enough (and my tastes are oddball enough) that it rarely happens. When a book starts turning up everywhere–like Gone Girl is now–I may read it if I were already interested, but the hype alone is not enough to get me interested. I’ve been burned too many times that way.

    What I usually do is wait for one of my most reliable recommender friends to read a hyped book and then decide. If there seems to be something really discussion worthy, I might read it right away. For instance, earlier this year, I read Sense of an Ending when the post Booker Prize hype was still pretty big because I had heard there were multiple and contradictory interpretations of what happened, and I wanted in on that discussion. Most of the time, though, I don’t ever mind being years behind the hype. It makes it easier for me to read with fresh eyes, and I’ve found that no matter how late I think I am in getting to a book, there’s always plenty of other people who haven’t gotten to it yet either.

    I may read Gone Girl eventually, but I’m in no hurry. Could be I’ll get to it years from now. If it’s *that* good, it’ll still be that good.

    • *Teresa – Hmmmm…is the implication that not all of the buzzworthy books are actually worthy of the buzz? ;) I agree that this does happen and I think is happening now! Sometimes seeing a book EVERYWHERE makes it difficult to resist. The Last Policeman comes to mind as a recent campaign that seems to have gone viral. Like you I’ve also gotten burned on some “must read books” that I could have either waited for or not read at all. And you’re absolutely right that if a book is good now it should still be good in a few years. I’m not even sure if I would be having these thoughts if not for twitter!

  9. It makes total sense to me. Hype can destroy a book but it can also make us aware of books we might have ignored. I won a copy of Gone Girl and I wish it would get here already.

    • *bermudaonion – I’m always grateful when hype brings a book to my attention that I wouldn’t normally have read! I hope you get to Gone Girl soon!

  10. Absolutely agree – on both sides of your argument! I do usually try to let the hype die down, but I don’t think I can wait for the “Gone Girl” hype to die down because I’m like you, I’m afraid I’ll find out something that will ruin the book for me. But I do love to go into a book either before the hype so I can discover it myself, after the hype so I’ve kind of forgotten what it’s all about. Or maybe never – because sometimes by the time the hype reaches a certain point, I just do not want to EVER read that book. This is how I feel about The Hunger Games.

    • *Lisa – I’m so glad that my book club is reading Gone Girl sooner rather than later because I HAVE to know what all the fuss is about! But generally I’m like you–either before or after…rarely during. Hunger Games was good but I wasn’t gaga over it like everyone else seems to be. I’ve been halfway through the second book for months and I just don’t think about it.

  11. I’m one who agrees too, Trish, with both sides – it’s fun to read a book that everyone else is reading, to see if I like it too. And yet, often if a book seems to be hyped too much, I avoid because I don’t want to be like everyone else and reading a book just because everyone else is reading it! thus, I’m usually late with ‘popular’ books, like The Hunger Games, which I still have to read, and yet when I find an author I like (like Ian Rankin, Louise Penny, CJ Sansom, Elly Griffiths) I love to get others to read them, because often I find them before there is much buzz. Jo Nesbo is the same way. It’s kind of fun, and I think that’s why everyone reads a book that has a buzz, to be among the first to recognize it has quality.

    Mostly though, I read what I want, and when i want. That said, I have requested Gone Girl from the library, and am number 600+ already on the list. Huge buzz up in here in Canada about it.

    • *Susan – You make such great points about not wanting to read a book just because everyone else is reading it but also wanting to share the reading love by getting others to read some lesser known titles. I feel this way about older titles–wanting to get people excited for what is already out rather than what might be. I can’t believe there are so many people waiting to read Gone Girl! Maybe because of the movie announcement with Reese Witherspoon?!

  12. I am rather contradictory in this situation too. Sometimes I find myself distancing myself from books everyone else is loving and saying I MUST read, while other times I gravitate towards the books getting all the buzz. I am not sure there is any rhyme or reason to it. Maybe, depending on the book?

    I am currently reading a book I had no interest in even with the initial buzz. I am surrounded by people at work who love the book. I am surrounded (online) but fellow book bloggers who hated the book. I went from zero interest to curious and finally decided, why not? I wanted to see for myself if the book was worth it.

    • *Lit Feline – I must know what book you’re talking about!! I have noticed that what people I know personally are raving about is sometime completely different from what people on twitter/blogs are raving about. Makes me wonder if so much of it is because of the publicity tactics of blogtours/ARCs, etc.

  13. Buzz usually kills it for me; there are more times than not where I’m SOOOO excited to read a book because it’s suppose to be AHMAZING and then I’m all like the cheese standing alone in my meh-ness.

    Gone Girl will not be the case though. Promise.

    And there’s an Italong? Huh, hadn’t heard of that. *grin*

    • *Christina – “Meh-ness” is the absolute worst isn’t it? Really really looking forward to Gone Girl! Can’t say the same for IT. ;)

  14. Honestly, when a book is too hyped up (Hunger Games, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 50 shades) it makes me not want to read them. I haven’t read any of these books and I don’t know if/when I will.
    I don’t really keep up with new releases or any of that stuff. I love to read, but I buy all of my books at thrift stores (or borrow them from the library) so it usually takes a while before I can even get a hold of the more popular books.

    • *Ohcupcake – I know what you mean about not wanting to read books that are too hyped up. That’s how I feel about the Divergent/Insurgent, etc books that have been all the rage lately (really any YA books). Library?! ;) You should join our Where in the World Meme! August’s theme is Library…will be announced on Thursday at Kailana’s blog.

  15. Les

    And, when you finish with Gone Girl, get a copy of Gone by Mo Hayder. It’s another great read, especially if you like the works of Tana French.

    • *Les – You crack me up! I know I need to read it–I remember seeing your review several months back about it. And if you really want to get into technicalities, yes I generally skip the summaries in reviews–just skim until I get to the “what did I think” section or bottom line. I haven’t read Tana French! Do I need to? We almost selected one of her books for October’s bookclub but didn’t.

    • Les

      I was just giving you a hard time about skipping book summaries. I don’t bother composing my own–just snag them from the publisher, in case someone wants to read them. I usually don’t bother, either.

      Yes, you need to read Tana French. My bookclub read In the Woods and from there on, I was hooked. They’re all stand-alones, so it doesn’t matter which you start with. I loved all three and am anxious to get to her latest.

      Have a great week!

  16. Yes, these all make sense. For me, when anything is hyped up, I tend to wait and read it when I’m ready. I’m not one to follow the crowd necessarily. This is hard with book blogging because most blogs discuss all of these new releases. Hype the crap out of things usually. Me, I like to read books that are old and new. I feel bad for those second hand books that just want to be read.
    Sorry I think I rambled off topic. Anyway, I also don’t like to know the plot before I read a book. Why read it then? Also, there’s nothing wrong with being the old Lady in the room. They are the wisest people anyhow :)

    • *Jenny Girl – I have a soft spot for the older books that just want to be read as well. ;) I’ve been reading a lot of newer releases this year, which is funny because I’m not taking in review copies for the most part. Not sure what the difference is! Maybe book club. And yes, I do agree with the wise old lady in the room! :)

  17. I like the hype when it got me interested in the book; not so good when too much of it will spoil the pleasure of simply reading & enjoying it (hope I made sense, lol).

    I have to add ‘Gone, Girl’ to my wishlist now!! ;-)

  18. I am so much like you in this respect. I really have no idea what is even coming out soon and I kind of don’t care. I usually read books way after the hype has died down. I also like to know a big fat zero about the book going in. I never read plot summaries on blog posts (often skipping the whole post if I know I want to read the book), and never read the back of the book.

    But I also have found books that I like from a little book buzz, so I can’t totally knock it. I am giving in to Gone Girl, though because it sounded like a good airplane read. That’s my plan next week for my 13 hours of flight time home. That, and hopefully another book. :)

    • *Kristi – I hope you enjoy Gone Girl–from what I’ve been hearing it should be a great one for your plane trip. Not going to try to sleep, huh? ;) And absolutely agree with the big fat zero. Sometimes this backfires and I wish I had known what the book was going to be about but for the most part the discovery is just too good.

    • Maybe a little sleep, but usually I end up with a kid sleeping on top of me which makes it difficult to relax. I may sneak in an hour here or there, but probably not much more than that. How did your babe do on the plane?

  19. I do read those 5 paragragh reviews and then add them to my list. After a few months (or even years) I’ll read it. I am the old lady and that’s okay :) I only buy into the hype when it’s an author I already love and want to support.

    • *Stacy – I DO read reviews–just not anything that is a summary. I rather know how the person reacted to the book than what the book is actually about. Somehow this gives me a better idea of how I’ll enjoy the book myself. And there’s nothing wrong with being the old lady–I’m her often enough. ;)

  20. I never follow trends – I’d like to think it’s because I’m a rebel but really I think it’s because I’m so tragically unhip and unawares. I didn’t even know what Harry Potter was until the 4th book was coming out and there was all the talk about it teaching satanism and black magic to children and I was like “okay, now I have to find out what this book is.” So book buzz definately pushes stuff onto my radar – they say someone has to see a book mentioned 7 times before they decide to buy it and that is definately true for me (unless it’s something I’m expecting to be released). I remember I was in the library, getting ready to take out something completely different and I walked by Cinder and went “wait a sec…I’ve been seeing this book everywhere” and I grabbed it without even thinking. I put back my other book and ended up taking that one out. So, for me, seeing a book mentioned on multiple blogs all within a short time period definately gets me to focus on it. But if it’s not something that piques my interest, buzz won’t get me to read it. I have to be interested in the book (if any of that makes any sense?).