Discussion: Is Our Community Missing Out on Amazing Books?

Today, I’m writing a discussion post. It’s been a long time since I’ve done one but this idea has been stuck in my head so I finally decided to talk about it here. As I’m writing this introduction for this post, I haven’t decided on a title yet because I can’t quite find the right words. Maybe it will help to write this all out first though. 

This discussion is about our wonderful book blogging community -or the vlogging community if you will, makes no difference. There are many things I love about it. SO MANY. However, this one “consequence” of our amazing community has been stuck in my head. Namely, we all read a lot of the same books. Obviously, many of us read different genres, prefer different genres. But for each genre, there are books that we all read. The well-known authors that everyone would recognize, for example: 

  • Fantasy (adult): Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss
  • Fantasy (YA): Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, V.E. Schwab, J.K. Rowling, Maggie Stiefvater
  • Retellings: Marissa Meyer, Rick Riordan 
  • Romance: Colleen Hoover, J. Lynn, Abbi Glines
  • Paranormal YA: Richelle Mead, Jennifer L. Armentrout

You get what I mean? There are certain authors that we all read. I feel like somehow, we all manage to talk about a lot of the same books. And while that is an amazing thing for so many reasons (because then we can all gush about them!), I also feel like it’s kind of a missed opportunity. Because there are so many books out there. What if we are all collectively missing out on them? 

The main reasons I thought of this are:

  • When I go through my feed of all your wonderful blogs, I find myself gravitating to reviews of books I recognize. So I am unconsciously doing the same! Choosing to read about books I know, rather than getting to know those I don’t. 
  • In the past week, I’ve written two reviews on books that aren’t really well known: Before He Finds Her and Empire in Black and Gold. And it’s so sad to see that those are posts that almost no one seems to read. It’s always sad to see a review going almost unread. But then reviews on more famous books are read and sometimes commented on. 

So I find myself here: wondering how to change this, in myself as well. Because I’m definitely guilty of doing this too. How do I stop unconsciously choosing only to read about books I recognize, rather than get to know different books? And how do I get people to read a review about a book they don’t know? 

I love that we all read the same books because it means that when we find an amazing book, other bloggers read it too and we can all gush about the amazing-ness and hopefully have more people buy and read that book. But what about all of the books that aren’t as well-known in our community? How do we introduce them?


What do you think about this? Do you agree? If you’ve written a review about a lesser-known book, let me know so I can check it out and try to better myself!

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22 thoughts on “Discussion: Is Our Community Missing Out on Amazing Books?

  1. I’ve been thinking about this for the last few months! While there’s nothing wrong with reading recent releases, but when (it feels like) everyone is waiting for the next installment of a book, everything feels so mundane and familiar. There’s no variety, and what’s the fun in that? If all you’re (the general “you”) doing is reading different opinions on the same thing, you’re still limiting yourself from other books in the same genre or other genres too. I think there are many of us who are guilty of that, so it’s up to us to make a conscious effort to expand out reading habits.

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    • I agree! It gets to a point where I feel like I shouldn’t review a book anymore a week after its release, because hundreds of reviews already exist. There are so many books out there, I feel bad for focusing on such a small amount. We should definitely try to expand our reading habits!

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  2. Yay, I am so glad you wrote a post about this! I love talking to other people about some of these awesome, super popular books, but nothing beats the feeling of finding a ‘diamond in the rough’ that no one knows about and loving it. (Except, maybe, the feeling of suggesting that book to someone else and having THEM love it!) Personally, I think I do a pretty good job of reading some lesser known authors/books, but I will admit it can be difficult at times. The more I see a book, the easier it would be – at least usually – to convince me to read it. But I also have the problem that most of those well loved books, aren’t my cup of tea. Sure, I’ve read some of the most well known and well loved authors in my favorite genres, but they tend to not be MY kind of books. Strangely, this makes it a lot more likely for me to pick up one of those lesser-known books. It would be great if there was a way to draw more attention to these books that not everyone knows about!

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    • Thank you!

      I agree! It’s such an amazing feeling to discover a hidden gem (and to recommend it to everyone). So it’s both a good and “bad” thing that you don’t often tend to like these popular books. I mean, that way you do read more “lesser-known” books!

      I’m wondering, maybe a 2016 challenge to read more lesser-known books and authors would be great? But I’ve never made/hosted a challenge before, so I have no clue how to do that or if anyone would actually participate… Maybe I should just make it a personal-blog-challenge?

      Love your comment! 😀
      (I am now totally stalking your reviews because you said you read more lesser-known books and I want to find some great ones :D)

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  3. Jolien, I agree so much about this! It can be exciting to hear about new releases, but there are also so many equally awesome books that are older than that. I’m new to the book blogging world, and I’m planning a few reviews on older / non-YA books, so I’m prepared to have a bunch of my reviews go unread, haha. While I try prioritize books I think I’d personally enjoy, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of books that everyone else is thrilled about.

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  4. Publicity is everything in this industry and unfortunately, not every good book gets the kind of promotion it deserves. I agree, so many of us tend to be drawn to the same books, and this is great, but unfortunately, it does mean that we sometimes miss out on a lot of underrated books. It takes a lot more effort to find a book that does not have the kind of promotion that a Sarah J. Maas book, for example, gets. Even though I love Sarah J. Maas, there are other fantasy novels that are just as good that few people really know about. How do we solve this? That may be harder than we’d like. People are more likely to remember a book they see promoted on Twitter over and over again than one lone glowing review they see on their feed. Maybe a monthly/weekly feature of an underrated book would help, especially if you couple this with “If you enjoy this popular author, then try…” Just a thought.

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  5. Great post! I think some of the issue is the focus, in general, on new releases, ARCs, NetGalley, etc. I see a lot of reviews on the same “hot” new release books. I’m trying to focus more these days on books that aren’t necessarily “buzz” books, or books that I’ve had for a while or have wanted to read for a while. A big goal of mine this year is to make reading for my own pleasure my priority, rather than sticking to release dates, ARCs, or other sorts of obligations, and it’s definitely made my reading life more fun! I don’t know if that actually translates into people reading my reviews, but that’s okay. 🙂

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    • Thank you! That’s true. We all try to focus on new releases and ARCs… I really need to read the books I already have first, instead of buying more and more new ones. I can imagine, it’s much more fun when you don’t have to worry about ARCs and sending in reviews, whether you’ll receive a certain ARC and so on. I think I’ll make 2016 more like that as well, it sounds like you made a great decision 😀

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  6. I 100% agree with you. It’s gotten to the point I almost don’t even read reviews anymore…Recent;y I finished Six of Crows and thought well there’s no point writing an in depth review, there’s literally thousands of them. I think the problem is mainly in the YA sphere. It could be that most book bloggers are that age group or gravitate towards those genres. For instance, a new Kate Morton book came out last month and it didn’t get anywhere near the amount of reviews as Six of Crows.
    I recently reviewed a few lesser known books. This is one of my favorites: http://www.thecountrybookworm.com/?p=246

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    • I feel the same way! I read Winter, but didn’t feel like write a whole review because there are SO MANY. So I wrote a mini review that’ll go up soon. You’re right though, it’s often in the YA-reading circles that this happens. I’ve heard so much about Kate Morton, but I’ve never read any of her books…

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  7. This is a great discussion and I’ve been thinking of this a lot lately too. I feel like I try to read a variety of books, popular and not so popular but when it comes to reviews of books, if I haven’t read the book I won’t check out the post in case I might get spoiled. I know I divide my posts into sections so that doesn’t happen but I’m not sure if everyone does so I rather not take that chance. But you’re right in saying reviews of unknown books get less viewing and we as bloggers should change that and set the precedent

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  8. Well, this is a great post! And you’re absolutely right, I think the hype generated about some books just snowballs as the book enters the blogging community, everyone has to read the new IT book immediately. And if you don’t read it, you risk getting spoiled for it anyway. I’ve been avoiding all reviews of Sarah J. Maas’s Queen of Shadows, for example, because I haven’t read it yet but intend to.

    And … I don’t know how to answer this problem. I mean – some books are more hyped because they are GOOD and I want to read them anyway. But some are just supported by a really great publicity campaign and become bestsellers because they’re simply everywhere. It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two…

    I try reading less-known authors, too, but I admit I’m mostly reading very popular books. I think part of the reason for this is laziness – I’d have to go searching for more “obscure” books while the popular ones are just handed to me. Ugh. I don’t know.

    Anyway, great discussion! 🙂 As for the recommendation – I really, really liked The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle, it didn’t get a lot of attention, though I did see a couple of reviews around the blogs, it’s this great Irish magical realism YA. (http://ofdragonsandhearts.com/2015/07/the-accident-season-by-moira-fowley-doyle/)

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    • Thank you! Yes, if you don’t read it immediately, the risk of spoilers is severe. And it can definitely be a good thing to have the hype because like you said, if I discover an amazing book, I’d want everyone to read it! Oooh, I’m curious about The Accident Season, I’m definitely checking out your review 😀

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  9. Jolien,

    well said. I agree on your view on this, but remember, this is a thing that has been going on, even before book-blogging even existed. When going to the library, what is the first thing you do: check the genres and authors you know.It’s human, I suppose. Same with reading a review of a book you don’t recognize.
    I do agree that it’s a pity that people react that way (let’s call it: gravity) and I try, for myself, to remedy that by actively seeking new authors and forcing myself to, at least, read 10 new books every year, being unknown authors/other genres/…It’s when choosing one of those books that I “pillage” the reviews on e.g. Goodreads.
    One other thing: I also believe that, even though you don’t get any comments/responses on your reviews with less gravitational pull, it does not mean that they are not read. For me: I do read them, but it’s just hard/difficult to leave a comment on a book you don’t know anything about, even remotely.
    You ask yourself how to stop unconsciously choosing books you are pulled towards? In short: you can’t. That’s why they call it “UNconsciously”. You need to do it “consciously”. And that’s a difficult thing to do. In all of live, people want something familiar and comfortable, i.e. safe.

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    • Thank you! I agree, when I go to the library, I skip ahead to the English section and look for authors I recognize… We do all like to make the safe choice, survival instincts of the book-lover! I think I’ll do the same as you next year, and try to pick out at least 15 books/authors I haven’t heard of!

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