Some books seem to be almost universally loved, but still we harbour reservations about them. Will we love them as much as almost all other readers? Or will there be something about them that we will not enjoy? More often than not I just decide not to read such books and end up forgetting about them. Other times, however, those books keep on reappearing on my radar until I finally decide to read them to figure out once and for all if they are my type of books or not.
I’ve recently decided to read two hyped books that I had been ambivalent about for a long time for various reasons.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Partially set in a small town in the West of Ireland, Normal People has as main characters Connell and Marianne. They are from different backgrounds and have distinct experiences at school. Ever since I started seeing this book mentioned everywhere, I have been unsure whether I wanted to read it or not. I would read some reviews and think it sounded amazing, while some weeks later I would read others and would start feeling that this wasn’t a book I would enjoy after all. It didn’t help that it was being called a millennial book. What is that even supposed to mean? Millennials are those who were born between 1981 and 1996. As a millennial myself, I can assure you that the people in this cohort don’t all have the exact same experiences and don’t all think the same.
Without having read the book, I decided to watch the TV adaptation. I thought it was alright but wasn’t too impressed. It would have benefited from exploring some issues further. I’ve now decided to read the book, though. Why? Because of a very negative review! This week when I saw people on Twitter criticising a review of it published on The Sydney Morning Herald, I couldn’t help but read it. The strong words of the reviewer (who doesn’t seem to grasp the purpose of the Erasmus programme for a start) aroused my curiosity about the book again. The first sentence of the review is so condescending:
“Ever felt as though you were the only person who can see while everyone around you is blind?”
I don’t tend to write “in my opinion” on my reviews (I think that is somewhat redundant since a review is by definition an opinion piece) and even I think this is showing a bit too much confidence in one’s views. So, I decided to one day read Normal People and challenge myself to write a, let’s say, less inflammatory review even if I end up not liking it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I’ve lost count of how many times I added and removed The Night Circus from my wish list in the latest years. It is set in a circus that arrives in certain towns without previous warning. So many people love this book! It’s supposed to be very whimsical and that excites and scares me in equal measure. I’m both curious and afraid I won’t like it as much as everyone else. The only way to find out is to finally read it.
Are there any hyped books that took you a long time to decide reading? Tell me in the comments!