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.
- Fifty Shades of Grey (although admittedly, I’ve read quite a few spoofs and had a chuckle at the sex scenes)
- 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.