Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Salon: Is there such a thing as too much hype? ( + giveaways old and new)

So like many people, I'm currently reading Haruki Murakami's latest book to appear in English translation, 1Q84. After waiting about two and a half years since Book One and Two were published in Japan in May 2009 (and Book Three which followed in April 2010), at last all three Books were released in English translation late last month.

Murakami fans all over the world were impatiently waiting and there was some serious hype in the lead-up to the publication date. Quite impressive for a book in translation, there were some stores that even had midnight openings to cope with the demand! And it's very long story too at around 1000 pages between the three books.

Well, I'm kind of sad to admit that while I like it (I do like it!), I'm not loving it. So far anyway. I'm about half way through Book Three, and still have several chapters to go so anything is still possible. I got quite bogged down in Book Two, and it has picked up for me in Book Three but overall it just hasn't engaged me as much as some of his other stories. Like The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Or Kafka on the Shore. Or Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Or A Wild Sheep Chase. Those books each grabbed me and carried me along for an often bizarre, but very enjoyable ride. However, something is keeping me from fully getting lost in 1Q84. I have to wonder, is it because of the Hype? With all the buzz and anticipation, were my expectations simply too high?

But I also wonder if it's my fault. There's a lot going on for us right now and perhaps I'm simply not in the right head space for such a long book, or for Murkami's style of storytelling. As you know, with books it is often all about the timing. Many people have already finished reading it, and loved it, so I already think I'll need to re-read it at some point once life has calmed down to see if it really was just me. Or bad timing.

I'll be talking about 1Q84 in more detail later this month and I'll let you know my final verdict once I've finished it. It's the last Japanese Literature Book Group selection for this year and the discussion will begin on November 28. So if you're reading it, or have read it, I hope you'll stop by and share what you think of it. And perhaps tell me what I am missing!

Has your enjoyment of a book ever been affected by hype, or life getting in the way?


Thank you to everyone who entered my Literary Giveaway for some books that needed new homes, held in conjunction with Leeswammes' Literary Giveaway Blog Hop last month. Announcing the winners is long overdue, my apologies for that. However, better late than never, I hope you agree. If you remember, these were the books on offer:

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop October 2011

Each entry was numbered in the order received on the Google Form and with some help from random.org, this is how it played out. The following entrants were selected and will receive these books:

blackplume gets To Kill a Mockingbird
Sam gets Roxanna Slade
Marta gets The Big Sleep
sakura gets Comfort Woman
Jet gets Underground
miki gets The Count of Monte Cristo

Everyone received either their first or second choices. I love how that worked out!

And while we're talking about giveaways, a new one is up over at the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge blog. Any participants of the challenge are welcome to enter so be sure to check it out.

Happy Sunday!



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12 comments:

  1. I've had both happen. I try to tune out hype as much as possible, or wait until it's subsided until reading a new book, but that's not always going to happen with favorite authors. And there have been lots of times that I haven't felt engaged in the book that I felt sure I would love if my brain were more focused or I were in a different mood. When I'm in that situation, I should put the book aside, but I hardly every do. I will add it to my eventual reread list if I'm pretty sure it was a victim of bad timing.

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  2. I think there can definitely be too much hype. I know that when a book is very hyped, like this Murakami one or The Help has been with the film release or The Night Circus, it puts me off reading it. I usually wait for the hype to die down and then give it a go with a fresh mind, otherwise the books never live up to my expectations.

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  3. Like you, I've been anticipating the release of 1Q84 for so (too?) long. And, like you, I find it "less than" Kafka on The Shore or Wind-up Bird Chronicles which instantly stole my heart. I enjoyed 1Q84. I'll be thinking of it for a long time. I tried writing a review, which was so very difficult for me, and with which I'im still dissatisfied. But, I don't love 1Q84. I suspect there might be too much hype, I suspect there might be too high of an expectation on my part, and I suspect that it isn't quite the book that Kafka is. My personal favorite. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts when you finish it/post the discussion at the end of November.

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  4. That happens to me all the time. Hype can ruin a book for me. I wonder if it will ruin this book for me.

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  5. Hmm, the hype? I ignore it. I am a Murakami fan, but still haven't read or even acquired this new book. And keep in mind that book 1 and 2 were already available since last year here in the Netherlands. Maybe I'm going against the hype. Or maybe I just have enough to read and can't face big books right now.

    What a pity you didn't like it as much as you'd hoped. The books you mention are exactly my favorites by Murakami, so it's a pity to read that 1Q84 doesn't live up to it.

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  6. Not started my copies of 1q84 yet, am waiting till I've got some time off work before diving in.
    PS, Congrats to the winners

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  7. I'm reading 1Q84 at the moment and I like it but maybe I don't LOVE it completely - things could change as I'm only on Book 1, so I'll have to wait and see. I don't like it when there's too much hype surrounding a book, even when it's one of my favourite authors, because it's so difficult for the experience to live up to the expectations. Anyway, I'm still enjoying 1Q84 and I'm looking forward to reading the book club post about it at the end of November.

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  8. The hype convinced me to buy the eBook or I might have ignored it. I enjoyed 1Q84 because it's partly a crime thriller, one of my favorite genres to read. That kept me going, as well as the fantasy, I admit.

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  9. My enjoyment of a book has definitely been affected by hype. It's getting to the point where I won't read a book right away if there's a lot of talk about it.

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  10. Sadly, hype gets me A LOT. Best example I can think of: The Lovely Bones. Super hyped, bought it in hardcover, HATED IT. Ugg.

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  11. Congrats to all winners!

    I'm sorry to hear you're a bit disappointed by 1Q84. Us Dutchies didn't have to wait as long for a translation (in which the title is written with a lower case 'q' btw, as it resembles a '9' (1q84)), so that could have something to do with it.

    Also, I know I loved Kafka and Wind-up Bird but it is too long ago to remember if my reading experience differs.

    And I fully agree that the liking of a book depends on your mindset. So, I'm no help at all. ;) Sorry!

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  12. Thanks again for the book! I'm watching for it (parcels seem to take an eternity at the moment over here).
    I'm sorry you didn't enjoy 1Q84. I think it's much more linear than his other works (and probably why I enjoyed it more).

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