Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
I’ve mentioned the topic of expectations a few times on the blog so far and mentioned how expectations can sometimes make or break a book for me. On the one hand I like expectations as without expectations it’s probably hard to get excited for a book, but on the other hand I hate them too and wish I could read every book without any expectations. Sometimes my expectations about a book are so high that it can in turn ruin the book for me, sometimes my expectataions are so low that I won’t give a book a chance, while I might have enjoyed it if I had. We can’t view the world without expectations and I wonder whether that’s a good or a bad thing. In today’s post I want to talk about different aspects surrounding a book that create expectations for me and how in turn that can influence my enjoyment of a book.
What aspects surrounding a book can create expectation which in turn can influence my enjoyment of a book
- The Hype. Sometimes a book can get really hyped up and sometiems that makes me want to read a book and sometimes it just makes me want to stay away from a book, both can be annoying. As sometimes the hype is really worth it and I will enjoy a hyped book, like Burying water by KA Tucker for example. I really didn’t want to read that book at first, I only knew it was a popular author, hadn’t read any of her books so far, wans’t a fan of amnesia plot lines and the book was super hyped. I took a wide berth and stayed away, eventually some bloggers who’s opinon I value and would consider friends reviewed the book and they made me think I might enjoy the book. So I picked up the book, read it and I really enjoyed the book and quickly bought the rest of the books in the series as well. Other times the hype got me all excited for a book and then once I read it just falls flat. Often not because it’s a bad book, but because the hype made me expect the book was so much better and in return I enjoy the book less than I probably would’ve if I hadn’t had any expectations.
- The Author. Who the author is of a book can already influence my expectations of a book. It can make me more excited about a book if one of my favourite authors has written it. I can make me expect a certain style, writing style, feel, topics or characters in a book. For example from a book written by SJ Pajonas I usually expect to love the writing style, have likeable characters whom I can relate to, an awesome romance, include something japanese related, usually something art/creative related and I expect to enjoy and often even love the book. With authors who’s books I read frequently I have a list of expectations like that, concerning topics, whether I will enjoy the book and which aspects to expect and enjoy. Often these expectations mean I am more excited and looking forward to a book by those authors, although if I don’t enjoy a book by one of those authors it can feel even worse because of those high expectations, luckily that doesn’t happen often. It can be daunting for that reason to start a book by one of my favourite authors as I am aware I have such high expectations for it.
- The Cover. Sometimes whatever is depicted on the cover can form expectations of a book as well. Maybe as simple as what the characetrs look like, what’s the setting or maybe even their personality. Covers can make me more excited for books, but some covers create certain expectations and will lead me to conclude I might not enjoy the book. And the expectations a cover creates might not be true or even fit the book, so that’s another thing that complicates it.
- The Blurb. The blurb of a book is another aspect that can create expectations, it can make me expect certain plot holes, but also give a feel for the author and writing style and often from the blurb I derive expectations of whether I will enjoy a book of not. When I receive a review request or browse books on netgalley the blurb and cover are the first things I look at and often will influence whether I will request or accept that book for review, especially when there aren’t many reviews for the book yet. Sometimes a blurb can be misleading and that way the book can either be surpringly better or disapointing as it wasn’t what you expected.
- The Genre. The genre of a book already makes me expect certain tropes, plot lines, type of characters, situations, town ect. For example when I pick up a cozy mystery I expect an interesting mystery which the main character helps solves, being able to solve the mystery with clues in the book, a small town setting, a fun job or hobby that the main character haves, likeable characters, but often gossip or small town politics as well. I also expect a certain feel and comfort. This is handy for when I am in the mood for a certain book, then based on my expectations of a book or genre I can pick a book that fits my mood. But if a book doesn’t fit the genre expectations it can again leads to disapointment or sometimes having a book not fullfill certain expectations is a good thing and make it original. I feel with genres that it’s usually a good idea to fullfil some of the genre related expectations, but also be original and different enough from other books to stand out.
- Reviews. Sometimes reading reviews of a book can make me expect certain plot points, topics, characetrs etc and might even influence my expectation of the book in general thanks to the reviews I read about it. Again usually this is a good thing, reviews make me try out books I never thought I would like and change my expectations of thsoe books. It makes me try out new books, genres and authors because other bloggers I know enjoyed those books. Sometimes though just like hype it can work the other way and make me expect to enjoy a book more or less than I probably would’ve if I hadn’t read that review. Usually I try to read multiple reviews of a book so I can temper my expectations a bit, don’t let them get too high, but do get me excited for a book.
Sometimes these different aspects can contradict each other and muddle expectations. Or point in the same direction and make certain expectations higher. I think with almost each book many or at least some fo these influence my expectations. I do read a lot of books that aren’t well known or hyped so that aspect falls away then or sometimes there aren’t any reviews for a book or it doesn’t have a blurb or cover. If I don’t know the author it means I often don’t have many specific expectations of that. So there are cases when those aspect don’t play a role. The less of these aspects are present the harder it also is to decide whether I want to read a book, because when you don’t know what to expect how do you know if you will enjoy it or not? So I do think that expectations have a place and while they can sometimes hinder or diminish an enjoyment of a book in general I think expectations do help us make decisions on what to read as well and can be very helpfull too.
How do I handle my expectations
I do know that expectations can influence my enjoyment of a book and sometimes I try and diminish the effect of expectations, for example by waiting a long time to read the book or read lower rating reviews for a book that sounds good. Or other times my high expectations make me wary as I know that if the book doesn’t fullfill them I will be disapointed and I don’t like that and that in turn can make me hesistant to start a book when I have a lot of high expectations. Expectations can be a tricky thing and I am not sure if there is a right way to handle that. It’s often hard to counter expectations and often I might not even want to. Being excited and looking forward to a book is a great feeling and I don’t want to remove that by telling myself I might not enjoy the book or read 1 star reviews to lower my expectations. And expectations can not only negatively, but also positively impact our enjoyment of a book. Often having expectations and being excited for a book is a good thing and can make the book more enjoyable too. So in general I think there isn’t much what we can do about expectations, except be aware that they might influence our enjoyment of a book. At least it makes for an interesting topic to think and talk about.