Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Hype and Tourist Traps...oh my!

Tip of the Day: Don't forget to leave a comment on Kristina's post last Thursday for your chance to win her latest book!

There’s nothing better than a good tourist trap. Like Dinosaur World or the Wall Drug store and it’s famous ice water. A giant sculpture of Babe the Blue Ox or the World’s Largest Toilet.

Or even the one I went to over the weekend The Mystery Spot. It’s a place in northern Michigan where I’ve travelled by tons of times and always wanted to stop. You can’t miss the hundreds of signs advertising it every ten feet or so. It promises to be a piece of land discovered by three surveyors in the 1950’s that defies the laws of physics and gravity. A place where a person can climb a wall and tilt precariously in the air without falling. Or balance on the edge of a chair on the side of a wall :)

Classic Tourist Trap behavior!

Instead it was a dilapidated old building built on the side of a hill in various angles. So when you are on the inside, the sloped ceiling, floor, and sides create several visual effects that play with your eyes. Not exactly what I was expecting, but it was still tons of fun. Because they play up the “mystery” of the place so much, you can’t help but laugh and have a good time wondering if anyone is actually believing this.

In contrast, there’s nothing more that I dislike when a book is so hyped up and you sit down to read it you are left completely disappointed. A book that you’ve heard about on all the blogs, one recommended by your friends or family, and one that has so many holds on it at the library you can’t help but think it has to be the best book ever if so many people want to read it.

And usually when this happens--if I even bother to read the book at all--I’m always disappointed. Even if it was a good/decent book. The hype is just hard to live up to. When you go into a tourist trap, you basically know what to expect. You know it isn’t going to be as good as it says and that’s part of the fun. But with a book, it’s harder to tell. Maybe I just need to lower my expectations, and then every book I pick up I’ll go into thinking it can’t be as good as everyone says, and then I won’t be disappointed. Or I just need to stop listened to people who tell me “I have to read this book.” Because I know enough of my own tastes to know what I’m going to like and what I won’t.

But sometimes it’s just so hard to resist—the pull is too much. And you have to know what everyone is talking about. Can Lauren Conrad actually write a book? Hmmm…I’ll have to check that out.

I guess that’s how best sellers are made.

Maybe all of us just need to purchase hundreds of billboards all over the country and advertise our books every 10 feet and we’ll be a bestseller in no time!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


C.K. said...

I know what you mean - sometimes hype reaches such a feverish pitch that it's virtually impossible that any book could possibly live up to it. I find that some of the books (and movies) I enjoy the most are ones that I've heard less about and which I therefore go into without any specific expectations.

Then again, I read Stolen (which was recommended to me) not that long ago and loved it like crazy.

Kate Fall said...

I'm so bad about reading books everyone's talking about. I have yet to read The Hunger Games, The Time Traveller's Wife, and The Book Thief. I hate it when people give me spoilers! I like to wait until everything's a secret again. I really am going to read Hunger Games soon, though, I swear.

DeenaML said...

Oh my gosh, SO TRUE! Will not name book titles here. :)

Kristina Springer said...

Oh, I hate that too! I think the hype must work though. You'll hear about all of these great sales and then the book is just plain awful. But, since hype works so well, I've hired 6 people to follow me at all times saying "OMG! It's her! It's really her!" I'll let you know how it goes! :-)