The year 2018 is almost halfway over and I recently realized one thing: The books that I read this year didn’t blow me away for the most part. I read so many books last year that have completely thrilled me and still do – this year however, that didn’t happen to me yet. How can that be? Am I the “problem” or the books I choose? Or is there a completely different reason for that?
High expectations and prejudice
I don’t know about you, but I tend to compare books from the same genre – even though the stories are completely different and you actually can’t compare them. When I read SciFi I’m sometimes thinking “Hm, the characters aren’t developed well, I liked that better in Sleeping Giants” or “The love story was way too cheesy and overblown, not as nice as Kady & Ezra from Illuminae.”
There are books that develop more slowly than those that I could not put down due to the excitement; this is also a reason why some books just can’t grab me. In these books, the characters and their everyday life are forever described before the killer, who was praised in the blurb of the thriller, is even mentioned. Don’t get me wrong – books are developed differently, each author has a unique style and so on. But when I discover a style that I really like, other books have a harder time to thrill me.
What could be a solution to this “problem”? Just read books from a completely different genre? Only read books by the authors you know you like? Currently I’m trying a different approach: When I start a new book, I try to read one from another genre from the book I’ve read before.
5 out of 5 stars
The reviews of the books you read is another topic to be discussed. Reviews contribute to a certain expectation, at least for me. How else should it be if the review of someone, whose taste in books is similar to my taste and whose recommendations rarely disappoint, really praises a book?
Sometimes purchases of books are based on the 5 star reviews and the praise about these books. For some books, the reviews are totally justified for me, e.g. The Hate U Give or A List of Cages. With other books, these reviews lead to high expectations and disappointment; which was the case with A Court of Thorns and Roses or Cinder.
Hindsight is easier than foresight: By now I can usually evaluate if I like a book or whether it deals with elements that I don’t like and that reduce my fun in reading. Just because it is the greatest book of the year for someone, doesn’t necessarily mean that it also has to be a great book for me. In order not to overly raise my expectations, I don’t read or finish some reviews of the books I want to read.
Do I dnf* the book or do I finish it?
At some point, many bookworms may be confronted with the question “Do I dnf the book or do I finish it?” That is a legitimate question. I would have never quit a book with the thought “Don’t make such a fuss, it’s not that bad.” But there are a few reasons to quit a book. Anabelle explained it quite well in her post Ode an das Bücher abbrechen (ode to quit books, German article). *dnf = did not finish
And the moral of this story
Sometimes books are fun and sometimes they’re not (this rhymes much better in the German version of this article). There are several reasons why a book isn’t as entertaining as you hoped. Of course, it’s not quite fun to rarely discover a book that really thrills you. On the one hand, it’s sometimes not your fault and, on the other hand, it may be counteracted by lowering the expectations a bit.
I’ll try to reflect my expectations a bit before starting a new book and switching between genres more often.