When Hyped Books Disappoint
You must have read a hyped book and thought, huh?
Popular books are popular for a reason – It’s because they’re good and worth reading.
But what happens when you read a hyped and popular book and feel differently.
I think, the disappointment you feel after reading a hyped book that has not met your expectations is 10 times worse than any other disappointment. Right?
Today, I have a few of my bibliophile friends share about the hyped-up books that they were disappointed with.
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
Popular books aren’t always what they are promoted as! Ask any bibliophile and they would know. In my experience, many excellent books are left behind because they don’t have a smooth-talking publicist to advertise and create a hype about them. The Oath of The Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi from The Shiva Trilogy, is one such book that I felt was really all advertising, as the third book was a bit meh. Amish really got lost in the mythology and it ensured that I did not pick The Ram Chandra Series. But since I did enjoy the Shiva Trilogy, I am waiting for what he comes up with next. Disappointment is definite as is anger when I find a book that doesn’t live up to the hype and the fawning reviews. I usually don’t read the author again; I also make my opinion and review quite clear on the reasons for not liking the book. Usually a book fails to impress due to a writer becoming obsessed with their own writing instead of the story they are trying to share. A strong story is what keep the reader interested in the book. It is very rare I would read a new book by an author if the last one was not up to its hype.
I read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth last year. It already came with a lot of hype and I was expecting a spectacular experience, investing time in about 1400 odd pages! But it left me underwhelmed. Everything was in too much detail. I had read somewhere that when you write something, you must question if everything you have written was indispensable to the narrative. I believe, this book could have been a much shorter one and as effective. Also, the central theme of the book did not appeal to me.
The book Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts garnered rave reviews from everyone and so I picked it up. It is a few days of my life that I will never get back. The book was sheer waste of time and in my opinion clearly hyped up. The self-aggrandizing cringe worthy writing in the book made me wonder why everyone loved the book. I was not able to finish the humongous 900-page book and completed it by skipping a lot of pages. The stereotypical characters in the book are laughable. The prose is bad and the main character is despicable that I sort of never connected with the book.
The last overly hyped book I read that turned out to be a major disappointment was The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma.
I was really looking forward to this one because I had heard many great things about the book and the author. Moreover, the topic of the book addressed a personal problem area. So I had every reason to believe this book was a perfect fit for me. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because this book, on many levels, was what you’d call an unmitigated disaster.
I had expected a pretty straightforward book with actionable tips and solid advice. But this one was the exact opposite of that – in so many ways!
For starters, Mr. Sharma chose to make his case through the means of a fictional story. Which by the way, is clearly not his forte, because it was a terrible story, that stood out for what it truly was – an awkward and ineffective plot device.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the actual content (in this case, advice shared by a business mogul – part of the fictional story) was preceded by lots of long winded foreshadowing / marketing of the advice, and followed by exhausting self praise of the insight shared. So much so that it felt like the author was STILL selling the book in the book!
Which is why, I’d say if you are looking for a way to get up early, and make the most of your mornings, there are enough free resources online (posts & videos) that you can (and probably must) turn to. Skip this book, because even though it does have some actionable tips & advice for getting up in the morning, and joining the 5 am club, wading through all the crap to get to the content is certainly not a productive use of your morning or any other time of day.
When you see a book on all the best-selling lists and everyone you meet can sing nothing but high praises of a book, you expect it to great. For me one such book was The City of Bones by Cassandra Claire.
After finishing Harry Potter and Bartimaeus trilogy there was gaping hole in my heart for a brilliant YA fantasy series and everyone and all the lists said that The Mortal Instrument Series was the perfect cure. So, I went into the book with high expectations. Since page 1 I found it hard to get into the book but being someone who doesn’t like to DNF a book and also after hearing everyone praise it, I decided to go ahead with it. But the more I got into it, the more disappointed I felt. The first and the biggest problem I had with the book was it felt very similar to Harry Potter. The villain Valentine seemed like a bad rip-off of Lord Voldemort. I couldn’t help but draw parallels between these both characters and their ideologies. Valentines obsession with keeping the world pure came off as something very similar to Voldemort’s ‘pure-blood’ fancy. ‘The Circle’ reminded me of ‘Death Eaters’ and a character named Luke seemed like a mash up between Lupin and Sirius. I couldn’t connect to any characters in the book, didn’t find the story interesting and found it way too predictable and had major problems with the writing and the editing. I am told that the series does get better and I should give it another go but I was so disappointed with this book that I haven’t dared pick up any other works by this author.
Over to you…
Which hyped book truly disappointed you and why?
April 9, 2020 12:07 am|
I could completely agree with you on this. Sometimes books are overhyped God knows what may be the reason.
April 9, 2020 12:09 am|
I feel terribly disappointed when a well-recommended book fails to live up to its expectations. But I haven’t read any of the books that your friends have mentioned. Maybe I’ll give them a wide berth after this.
April 9, 2020 12:44 am|
Yes, it happens. It’s just like we watch a movie have high hopes and even after it’s over, we still don’t understand and feel huhh…that’s it?
So far I haven’t faced this situation with books
April 9, 2020 1:14 am|
Aah, ask most of the Hindi readers including me who cringed at Gunahon Ka Devta- a book which still sells in droves!
April 9, 2020 3:33 am|
Yes it is a disappointing experience as a readers when much hyped books did not meet our expectations. really liked the inputs from renowned bloggers of our blogging industry through this post. great series Shilpa, looking forward what is coming next.
April 9, 2020 4:20 am|
Most of the hyped books are disappointment. May be over expectation.
April 9, 2020 6:52 am|
Thanks Shilpa for giving me a chance to write on the book I was disappointed.
April 9, 2020 7:42 am|
Shantaram was not too bad. Anyway hyping is still going on, not only with acclaimed writers and publishers but also with insignificant writers who promote their work on social media and elsewhere as if the work could give Shakespeare a run for his money.
April 9, 2020 8:55 am|
When a book that is highly rated by the most, disappoints me, I wonder whether I have not understood what the rest are appreciating? It turns to another nasty session of self-doubt. Over the time period, I have come to realize that taste can be different and unique.
April 9, 2020 10:30 am|
I have a wish to read the 5 AM club. Would like to pick it up some day. Loved the post Shilpa.
April 9, 2020 10:36 am|
I had a wish to read the 5 AM club. Thought I would like to pick it up some day. But you made me aware today. Thank you dear. Loved the post Shilpa.
April 9, 2020 11:35 am|
It’s very disappointing when this happens. Sometimes out of peer pressure I agree it’s a good book although I don’t believe so from the inside.
April 9, 2020 1:37 pm|
I agree with Reema A Suitable Boy was disappointing. I simply could not finish the book – far too long and could’ve been shorter.
April 9, 2020 2:04 pm|
The Stand by Stephen King
The Lord of the Rings
These two come to mind instantly. The list will definitely go longer the more I think about it.
April 9, 2020 2:55 pm|
I can relate to the fact that some over hyped books disappoint, glad to read five wonderful writers have had similar experiences
April 9, 2020 3:18 pm|
I have not read any of the books mentioned in the post; and agree that some books get hyped only because of the author. I read Robin Sharma’s book “The monk who sold Ferrari” and after that tried reading his other books and i felt a lot of repetition. I felt the same with Stephen Covey – I enjoyed the first one 7 habits… then came 7 habits for others (like teenagers, couple ..) I tend to lose interest when I find similar thoughts expressed…
April 9, 2020 4:26 pm|
O I remember how terribly the 5 am club had disappointed me .
April 9, 2020 5:04 pm|
Last month I read a book which was really hyped about. I especially ordered it on Amazon. But when I started reading it I was highly disappointed. I just could not get through after 20 pages.
April 9, 2020 5:42 pm|
I have quite a list of hyped books that disappointed me. Good Omens tops it and The Kiss Quotient the most recent. I think people feel obliged to “love” a hyped book just because it is popular, even if it does not work for them.
I agree with Inderpreet about The Oath of The Vayuputra. Exactly the same reason I haven’t picked the Ramachandra series yet.
April 9, 2020 5:59 pm|
Loved reading their opinions. This disappointing feeling is often worse than the frustration with a DNF book
April 9, 2020 6:54 pm|
I keep picking up YA bestsellers that are going to be movies/TV shows, hoping one of them will actually be good. Most of them disappoint. I am still not over how bad Throne of Glass was 😀
The Multicolored Diary
April 9, 2020 8:13 pm|
Such an interesting post.
I read Twinkle Khanna’s ‘Pajamas are forgiving’ which really disappointed me. Also 5 am club to some extent due to the fictional narrative.
April 9, 2020 8:30 pm|
I had pledged to read A Suitable Boy and Shantaram by the end of this year for the sheer number of friends who keep recommending it…but now I think there can be a turnaround to be prepared for.
The book that disappointed me most was ‘Norwegian Wood’, I felt it was just a simplified version of The Catcher in the Rye.
April 9, 2020 8:43 pm|
Oh there have been so many over hyped books that failed to deliver . Possibly I was expecting too much from them. The last overhyped book that disappointed was ‘Educated’ which I thought was pure imagination .
April 9, 2020 8:56 pm|
So glad to have got a chance to contribute to this. I loved reading every one else’s opinions as well.
April 9, 2020 11:32 pm|
I agree, this disappointment is very annoying and you have read/heard a lot from many about the book. I have faced this in the past a couple of times. I am in love with this book-affair.
April 9, 2020 11:45 pm|
I agree that when something is hyped it can actually be quite disappointing. Sometimes it’s better to go into a book without knowing anything about it first. Weekends In Maine
April 10, 2020 1:58 am|
Well…many authors don’t live up to the promise of their marketing campaigns …growing up I remember a book, “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched” by Arindam Chaudhary – it is easily the worst book ever. Half of the book contained boring details about his company and their so-called achievements and the rest was a badly written rehash of How to Win Friends and Influence people. None of the bad books that I have read have ever come close to this pathetic rag.
April 10, 2020 12:02 pm|
I read Shantaram and Suitable Bot long before it was hyped and loved the read. But I agree, these days hypes don’t work for me but I still like to give the benefit of doubt as opinions differ.
Glad to stop by dear Shilpa.
Hope you are well.
April 10, 2020 12:16 pm|
Sometimes we don’t like popular books or movies. It depends on our choice.
It happens even in the family. Not all have the same favourite dishes 🙂