Reading Books: Expectation Vs Reality

What makes you pick up a book? Is it the cover? A recommendation? Or do you pick up a random one and give it a shot?

Books have become so much more than just the writing itself. Once you’ve started it, that’s all that matters, but before that there are so many other considerations that take place, whether we’re aware of it or not.

People always say, in marketing and advertising, that you often have to see something 7 times before you think about buying into it. Have you perhaps unconsciously bought a book because you’ve seen it so many times it just makes sense to give it a go? Or maybe you are more easily convinced, by simply a cover or a friend’s recommendation.

I’d like to share my thoughts on the book buying process and what leads me to eventually pick up a book – perhaps some of you can relate!


How Beautiful Is The Book?

If I said I’d never bought a book just because I loved the cover, I’d be lying…

There are some really well designed book covers out there, and the publishers know exactly what they’re doing – drawing in those who appreciate the visual and aesthetic side of reading. Because having something that reads well and looks good on your bookshelf is the best of both worlds, right? The problem is, they sometimes aren’t a very good read at all…

I’ve fallen into this trap many times before, and I still fall into it time and time again. The irony is that I never end up keeping the book even if it does have a beautiful cover, because what’s the point if I’m not going to read it again?

4 Star Rating? Let’s do it!

If you’re also an avid reader, you’ve likely got Goodreads, and you’ve also likely spend hours scrolling through, exploring books, sorting through ratings and reviews. I definitely have.

However, sometimes I place a little too much trust in Goodreads ratings. I see a rare 4 star rating and I think, this has to be a good book. And it is a good book, for majority of people. But sometimes it’s easy to forget that you won’t necessarily fall into that majority too!

There aren’t many 4 star books I’ve read and felt hugely disappointed, but I have read a couple and thought: I’m not sure I really understand what everyone else is seeing here. But that’s the beauty of art – we all see something different in it. If anything, we look for parts of ourselves within it. And it’s natural to not feel connected to every book, in the same way that we wouldn’t feel connected to every person we meet either.

“You HAVE To Read This”

We’ve all had the classic recommendation from a friend or family member, or maybe even from a stranger, where they claim they have the perfect book for you. Do you believe them? Can you trust their book taste? Is it worth the shot or will it just lead to an awkward conversation of “It was good, buuuut…”

I never know whether to follow up on recommendations, so often I head back to good old Goodreads and see what everyone else is saying about it too. The more opinions, the better, right?

However, I think every now and again it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone and try a completely different book to your usual read. I can’t say I’ve had much success with this yet (*cough cough* horror that wasn’t scary *cough cough* confusing sci-fi that made no sense). But, I’m still willing to give it a shot.

Do you relate to any of the above?

Why do you think the reality of a book is often so different to the initial expectation?

I’d love to know what you think below.


12 thoughts on “Reading Books: Expectation Vs Reality

  1. My favorite genres to read are autobiographies and memoirs. So I usually will read a book if I hear about it on a podcast or if it was written by a celebrity I admire. However I will occasionally grab a book if it’s recommended to me or written by someone who is considered a good writer. Great blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That makes sense! I haven’t read many autobiographies but I’ve recently started “Becoming” by Michelle Obama because I’d heard so many good recommendations. What’s your favourite one? And thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely relate to the first point you made! I have often chosen books that have pretty covers that don’t always turn out to be actually good books. But I’ve also chosen books with pretty covers that are also good books. So, it’s interesting how expectations can sometimes match reality and sometimes not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d say that I mostly follow recommendations on Goodreads or on book blogs. But I gotta admit I’m also guilty of buying a book because of its cover. But if it’s bad I don’t keep it anyway, which doesn’t really make sense haha But at least I got a nice shot for Instagram 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Goodreads is a great place for reviews, although I’ve read a few 4 star books and not understood the appeal, so it’s a bit hit and miss (like anything that is so subjective!)
      Haha yes, worth it for the book shot anyhow!

      Like

  4. This is a very interesting read! I like seeing a beautiful cover when I walk through a bookstore or a library, but that will seldom have me check it out or buy it if I don’t already know about what’s written within.

    I do look at Goodreads for books I know little about, but mainly only for non-fiction books to research things for my own stories.

    The biggest drawcard for me is a good blurb on the back which gives enough away to draw you in but not so much that you feel like you’ve already read a truncated version of the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are some very good points! A book can be beautiful but on reading the blurb, not be my kind of book at all! So I completely get what you mean. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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