Why is everyone reading the same thing?

Back in the jurassic era, I started looking for book blogs because I wanted to find book recommendations, plain and simple. The only blog I followed back  then was The Book Smugglers. Their weekly feature, On the Smugglers’ Radar, made me TBR shelf grow insanely. All these books I’d never heard of! I was so excited to add to my reading list every week, even if I didn’t actually read many of them.

me, looking at my TBR shelf.

When I decided to give blogging a shot, I started following other blogs, and my reading piles grew even more. Everything was all new and shiny and it was amazing to have so many different sources to draw from when I wanted a recommendation for what to read next.

It’s only been recently that I’ve noticed a trend amongst the bloggers I follow: everyone recommends the same books. Whether it’s in Twitter convos or in book reviews, I feel like everyone is talking about the same books and authors. I’m never surprised anymore by what I see on TTT posts or what reviews I read.

And I’m doing it too. I rarely read something that I haven’t heard things about from ten other bloggers. I choose bestsellers or the ones the publishers are pimping out and I don’t even think twice about it. Part of joining the blogging community is being in a community. If you don’t read what the others are reading, then you have no idea what’s going on when people are spewing their feels all over the interwebs.

Don’t get me wrong…being part of the blogging community is fun! I love freaking out about the most anticipated releases and swooning over the newest book boyfriend of the week. I love reading something and knowing that I’ll be connected with tons of other people who are reading the exact same thing.

 

But here’s the thing…I want something new. I want to read something that I’ve never heard of before. A hidden gem. A diamond in the rough, if you will. I want to be surprised by what someone recommends.

SURPRISE.

So I’m coming to you, dear readers. What is your least talked about but personal favorite book recommendation? What hidden gems have you discovered? Help me out by dropping some recommendations in the comments!

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21 thoughts on “Why is everyone reading the same thing?

  1. I hear ya on this!! I definitely fall into the hype sometimes and get caught up in the hot book of the month. I don’t like it. Like you said, it is fun to talk to everyone about it, but it gets boring. For this very reason I still haven’t read Allegiant yet! I’m just as excited about it as anyone else, but I didn’t want to get caught up in all the crazy talk that was happening all over the web. I’d rather let the hype die down and go into it with a clear head! Funny you are posting this today! I posted today on taking chances with self-pubs! I love discovering books that no one really talks about. Our brains are thinking alike. 🙂 *air humps*
    Oh!!! Suggestion time— not really HIDDEN, but not enough people read it… SLATED by Teri Terry!!! Also– Enclave by Ann Aguirre – again, popular author, but every time I mention Enclave to people I hear crickets! For people that really like contemporary romance– I recently read Rule by Jay Crownover! Another self pub contemporary I recently read and enjoyed was The Long Game by J.L. Fynn!

  2. I feel the same way – even more so that I feel like in one week, I get at least 10 blogs reviewing the same freaking book! (And I follow about 50, so take that as you will). And as soon as I read this I knew EXACTLY what book I would talk about. Abarat. I could go on and on about why I love the book (if you really need convincing I’ve made like a billion posts about it on my blog haha), but you should just check it out and know that Clive Barker creates about 200 paintings/book which is awesome. And of course the characters and plot and whole mythology/world building is AMAZING! Seriously…I’ve never read anything like these books, it’s so imaginative!

  3. I think there needs to be a balance – if it’s a really popular book, there’s always going to be more hype. Plus, a hidden gem, if good enough, will turn into that hyped book, and then the cycle begins all over again.

    As far as mine, a few recent favorites (most from NetGalley and debut authors) were Backward Glass by David Lomax, Cracked by Eliza Crewe, and MORE and The Guardians by TM Franklin.

  4. I get you, I get you. I do like how YABC constantly reveals covers to new books I never hear about or see promoted which is cool!
    It’s definitely nice to come across some diamond in the rough reads 🙂
    One book I absolutely loved because one; I’m a Jane Austen fan and two; because it was a light, cute YA read–simply precious–“I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend” by Cora Harrison.

  5. Great topic! I feel this frustration all the time. There are so many books that I absolutely loved this year that I think probably two people read and it drives me crazy. My favorite “underdog” writer is always JH Trumble, who write such real characters thrown into relatable situations. Her first three are male/male romance but I swear, I feel like they are my best friends and I miss them when I’m finished reading. So that would be a huge recommendation. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg is also a huge hit for me this year. I wanted to scream about this one from the rooftops. Also… Starstruck by Rachel Shukert? Burning by Elana Arnold? Anything by this Delacorte imprint? I feel like it doesn’t get enough attention. OCD Love Story? That was amazing too. I read a middle grade in the summer called The Summer of Sundays & that was an AWESOME book. It felt like very vintage middle grade from when we were kids? I loved the feeling so much and the family dynamics were great and there’s a classic hidden story buried within the main plot. I think at RBR we try to give a good mix of books that are new and books that are older. Even the book I reviewed today… I found out about it from an email from a publisher and I gave it a shot and it blew me away. Lies You Wanted to Hear by a debut writer who is in his 60s. So awesome. Please tell me if we are not mixing it up enough with our recommendations. We really do try. I hope some of these stand out to you. I also love Tara Altebrando who I feel like doesn’t get enough love… I’m staring at my bookshelf…. Love & Leftovers is a verse novel by Sarah Tregray that I adored. Between You and Me by Marisa Calin, written as a screenplay? Super awesome! Okay… I’m going on forever now. 😀

  6. I’ve been noticing the same thing. There is nothing wrong with reading bestsellers or what’s popular. I read some of the popular books too, but usually after they have been out quite a few.

    I have a number of a favorite books that aren’t popular or well-known. One book I always recommend is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. It is a fairly well-known book, but it’s not as popular as say Harry Potter. However, it is just amazing and if you like it, I recommend reading more books by the same author.

    If you like mysteries, Joan Lowery Nixon has many to choose from. Like suspense? Lois Duncan has some great books. I also recommend Joseph Bruchac. He’s written many books which feature Native American characters. His books are different genres so you’d have to look through them and see which you’d like the best.

    The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney is just awesome. The final book in the series comes out next year in America and sometime in December in the UK.

    If you want more recommendations, let me know and I’ll look through my favorite books to find some for you.

  7. I know what you mean. Because my reading habits range from Biographies to children’s books my book rants/raves will vary from the average blogger. However, I do try to keep up with some of the trends just so I can join in on some of the conversations.
    – Krys

  8. I’ve noticed a similar trend on my own TBR pile as I started getting into blogs. Naturally you want to be in the know but the know wasn’t always as satisfying as other bloggers had me believe. So after a while I chose my own books and it got quiet on my blog.
    It’s a lonely life blogging about books no one can relate to because they’re not talked about in the blogging community at large. Good books make the silence worth it but occasionally you find yourself craving someone to share them with.

    Since we have very different tastes in books I don’t think any of my recommendations would be of interest to you. Recently I read “A Map of Tulsa” by Benjamin Lytal which is a coming-off-age novel of some sort that I really liked. Another good book I read last month is “The Believers” by Zoe Heller. Also I’m a big fan of the short stories of Scottish writer Ali Smith. Just to name a few even if they don’t end up on your TBR pile 😉

    Cheers, Kaz 🙂

  9. I noticed that too! Haha. I realised that part of the reason is that when bloggers review ARCs, then naturally their reviews will be posted around the same time. That probably has a lot to do with that. And wanting to be in the know. Like, if everyone’s reading a particular book, I want to know why everyone’s reading it. One way around that I realized is to look for books that weren’t published this year. Also, I make it a point to look for books written by Australian authors. Somehow the blogs I follow tend to feature American and British authors more than any others, so that way I’ve also found some lesser known books.

    Books I’ve not seen much of in the blogosphere but liked a lot would be RED INK by Julie Mayhew and DANCING IN THE DARK by Robyn Bavati 🙂

  10. Nice discussion. I agree, I like it sometimes, especially when you see people reading one of your faves, it’s nice to discuss them, but I also agree that it’s really great to see a book a you have never heard of, and go and read it. My favourite un-talked about book is City of the Sun by Sarah Bryantt. It is really good.

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  12. 100% agree! This year, I stopped reading all reviews by bloggers. Drastic I know, but not only were they pimping the same books, but I really missed my “book experiences.” By that I mean, going to the library and browsing books, reading the spine and picking out anything I felt like reading. Same thing with the bookstore. I missed the browsing experience. So that’s what I’ve gone back to and it’s been wonderful.

    As for favorites – Keigo Higashino, NK Jemisin are 2 authors whose books I’ve loved.

    1. Also, I find most of my books that aren’t what everyone is reading by just grabbing random things off the shelf at the library, so you might start there if you want to read a few more unique books 🙂

  13. I agree with this…. the problem is if you aren’t reading what’s popular and what someone else has read no one really reads or comments on my reviews. Where I have also found this to be true is in my Young Adult Book Club on goodreads. (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/3551-young-adult-book-club) Notice that if it is a month where we read a classic or something that isn’t current then there is hardly any participation. BUT if we read a best seller right now or a book that is a movie right now.. then BOOM everyone wants to participate. It drives me nuts and makes me a little sad.

  14. This is such a good point. I’ve noticed it myself, and have tried to put less-popular books in any lists/features/memes that I participate in, but it’s hard. I guess I got to this point where I will (most of the time) only read a book if it has come highly recommended by other bloggers/people I follow on Goodreads. I don’t want to waste my time reading bad books or books that could potentially be awful because I know nothing about them. But at the same time, I don’t want to just be that generic reader/blogger who just reads what everyone else is reading. I guess reviewing Netgalley ARCs can help with that, since you get more exposure to less-known authors, but the large majority of my reading is stuff that’s tried and true in this community.

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