Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?
I have definitely felt pressured to read certain books over the years. I ignored Harry Potter up until the summer Order of the Phoenix came out, and really had no intention of reading any of the books at all. But the guy I was seeing at the time encouraged me to give them a chance, and so I did, and I’m really glad I did, because I think it turned out to be a good story. Plus, it was really helpful to have the knowledge of the books when I was working with the programming director at the library I used to work at when she and I almost single-handedly planned the Deathly Hallows release party and lock-in. And that was a fun experience. I know there was a fair amount of buzz surrounding the Twilight books before I read them, but that’s not why I read them; I read them because my brother’s then-girlfriend recommended them to me. I’ve resisted other “buzzed-about” books, though. I have no interest in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and I doubt I will ever read them.
When reviewing, I don’t worry too much about current trends. I read what I enjoy, and share that with my readers (who are a small but growing collection of people). I do try to be pretty aware of what is current, though. As someone who works with the public in a public library, it’s good to know as much as possible about the books on the new releases table, as well as the books in the rest of the collection (I mostly work with adult fiction, but have been called upon to make more than one recommendation in YA lit as well). Some books I don’t worry too much about, as they are pretty self-explanatory. For example, I don’t have to keep up with Nora Roberts or John Sandford (which is good, because I take pride in saying I’ve never polluted my mind with Nora Roberts). But I think I should know something about other books, both the ones that get attention from published reviews and those that fly under the radar. I might not finish them (When We Were Romans, for example), but I know enough about the story and/or style to be able to advise someone about it.
Tomorrow is the last day to enter my Barnes and Noble gift card giveaway. There are currently 41 people entered, and it looks like some great books have been read this year.