Have you ever heard about the same book over and over from nearly everyone? It’s one thing to get book recommendations, which we book lovers almost always welcome, but it’s quite another to be told, “you have to read this book.” That kind of pressure can backfire, especially because many people don’t like being told what to do.
Most of us at one time or another have felt pushed into reading a certain book, just because it is popular. If you’re like me, reading peer pressure can sometimes deter you from reading something. For example, I have never read the Twilight series and have been turned off to it.
But reading is a good thing, right? Well, yes. Many popular books are popular for a reason: because they’re awesome!
So, shouldn’t we give in to that kind of peer pressure? Not exactly.
Sift Through The Classics
As an English major in college, I read a lot of books that were both traditionally and non-traditionally viewed as “classics.” Some I loved. With most, I could see their historical, philosophical, or cultural value, but I will never read on my own again. For example, I don’t like The Great Gatsby. Gasp! I do not like some classics, even though they are considered some of the greatest books ever written. And that’s okay.
We often imagine that an intelligent reader has to be a person who only reads prestigious classic books. Granted, the classics are valuable to know because so many other books refer to them. However, unless you’re in a class with required reading, you can pick and choose which ones you actually read verses the ones where you read the Sparknotes summaries and analyses.
Read In Your Own Time
Sometimes you do, in fact, want to jump on the bandwagon for a truly great book. There is such a thing as positive peer pressure after all. But perhaps reading that particular book isn’t your first priority. You may have other books on your reading list that you want to check off first.
I know a couple of people (adults, mind you) who just recently finished the Harry Potter series. Shocking, I know.
While “everyone else” finished reading the last book within days or even hours after it went on sale, they took their time. Now despite the time delay, they have read and love the series too, just like “everyone else.” They just took awhile longer to do it. And, guess what? That’s okay!
Better late than never, right?
As I said, I have never read the Twilight series and honestly don’t really plan on reading it. In addition to rejecting the hype and reading pressure, I’m not a vampire type of girl and frankly don’t see the appeal of vampires. So I wouldn’t relate to Bella’s overwhelming attraction to Edward.
My TBR list grows longer by the minute, so I don’t need to spend my spare time reading about something that doesn’t interest me. I don’t like it. But that’s me. (And apparently Chris Evans.)
YouTube Channel: Mariam Okitashvili
Although I’m not interested in the series, to function in modern society I’ve become familiar enough with the plot and main characters to refer to them in everyday conversation if the occasion arises. Thank you, Wikipedia.
Push Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Not to completely contradict myself, but I also need to point out that we can and should push beyond our comfort zones in reading. Even if you aren’t initially interested in a topic, you may find it interesting as you read it.
One of the amazing things about participating in my book club is that it motivates me to read books I wouldn’t have thought to pick up on my own. Although the recommended books are about topics I’m not initially intrigued by, knowing that my trusted book club friends like a book makes me want to read it too. In the cases that I have read the books they recommended, I’m glad I succumbed to “peer pressure.”
Even if the book is not something you immediately think to read, consider giving it a chance. Expand your comfort zone.
Decide For Yourself
Feel free to listen to and/or take your friends’ book recommendations. Read Goodreads reviews. Look on the New York Times‘ Bestsellers list for titles you might want to read next. Check out the classics bookshelf at the library. But in the end, you decide which books you read based on the recommendations you trust, what you want to read, and what books will enlighten and enrich you.
When do you give into book peer pressure? Do you think you should give into it at all? Is it a bad thing? We want to hear from you!
YouTube Channel: booknerdparadise
Featured image via The Primary Gal