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14th December 2014

The hype surrounding popular fiction.

I’ve not been on the popular book hype for quite a few years now. I think the last time I jumped on it was back in the days of Twilight, when I garnered an addiction and read all of them during school, after school, at night, early in the morning etc. I finally got to the end of the series, stared at them on my bookshelf and though, ‘oh – they were actually all pretty rubbish’.

I am one of those people who can get dragged up in the excitement of something and see past the problems with it (in the aforementioned Twilight there were the plots, the characters, the writing… I could go on).

However, I’ve missed out on a few popular books.

  1. Fifty Shades of Grey (although admittedly, I’ve read quite a few spoofs and had a chuckle at the sex scenes)
  2. The Fault In our Stars (I don’t like to cry).

So y’know – technically, I’m behind the times. So I thought this time I’d try Gone Girl (£1 on the Kindle Store)

Gone Girl is the kind of book that has that ‘I stayed up all night to read it!’ hype that is batted back and forth between people. Then the film came out and everyone exploded with excitement. I was embarrassed – how had I missed something so popular? I love a page turner so I was ready to read it.

So far (halfway in) I’ve been really disappointed. The story isn’t carrying me how I expected and I feel unfulfilled. I’m not turning the pages quickly (or at all, I guess, using a Kindle). The characters feel crass. I don’t appreciate the treatment of women throughout the novel. I think the main character is completely unlikeable (I’m probably meant to feel this way, but still).

So why is it that these books get so popular?

Fifty Shades of Grey’s popularity coincides very much with the strength of the Kindle and the idea of ‘reading in secret’. You pull out your Kindle and for all anyone knows you could be reading War and Peace as opposed to a raunchy novel (I’m trying very hard not to rant too much about my dislike of that book).

The Kindle offers anonymity. The books are cheap. You don’t have to move in order to purchase them – they’re in your hands within seconds.

So that’s why, I suppose, the popular books are so different in their form to what they were a few years ago. The main thing they have in common are: ease of download and internet hype. It’s a new kind of excitement, and to an extent it is good. The sale of Fifty Shades of Grey completely revived the book industry (which is a bit embarrassing, but still).

I’m not sure what’s next. Probably a novel about a Vampire whose wife goes missing and he has to take a raunchy sexual journey to find her (copyright Megan Holland 2014).

I will finish Gone Girl, but in the best bad pun I can muster, I can’t wait until it’s gone, girl.

One response to “The hype surrounding popular fiction.”

  1. stacy says:

    Brilliant look at some of the popular books and reasonings behind there popularity. If it helps, I’ve not read Fifty shades of grey either and i gave The Fault in Our stars a miss purely on selfish reasons, having already seen the film clips and reviews I knew it was going to be an emotional read and I don’t like to be warned, i dont like knowing how i’m going to feel before i read a book it kinda cuts out the suprise (good or bad) There’s nothing wrong in not reading popular books other than its hard to have an opinion on something everyone else might be talking about. I must admit i didn’t get caught up in Fifty shades because firstly its already been done with the jackie collins novels and humans are a weird bunch, mention sex in any way shape or form and they flock in there droves, I think its a public mindset thing, you can market just about anything to the public if there’s sex involved, tis sad but true. If someone wrote a blog on “How to weed the garden” it doesn’t exactly make you want to read, but “How to make weeding sexy” or even how to sex up weeding” and i bet people would look just out of curiosity because its got the S word in the title. I’m very much looking forward to your novel about the sexploits of a vampire and his hickey giving , just remember to put “sex” somewhere in the title. 🙂 XXX

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