It is difficult to remember that I should not just pick up talking on this blog as if we’ve been in the middle of a conversation for 15 years and we all know each other already, just in case it’s unearthed by archaeologists or something someday, but honestly haven’t we been in the middle of a conversation for 15 years and we all know each other already?
(On the off chance you are new to me, I will do this one time, but for the future, you should adjust to the fact that I do not do anything with this sort brevity: TL;DR – I’ve started a project with the intent to join as many fandoms as possible, scroll down until you see black hearts to find the list and offer your own suggestions.)
Since we know each other, you know that there is nothing I am more enthusiastic about than things people are enthusiastic about. If something has a fandom, especially a very big, very excited, very deep fandom, YOU NEED TO MAKE A SPACE AT THE TABLE, BECAUSE I AM COMING IN.
Unfortunately, I am usually pretty far behind the times on these things — I mean, except for kpop, how many times did I tell you guys, I TOLD YOU GUYS.
Since I’m so far behind the times, I am never in on the ground floor of a fandom or one of the initiators of any kind of hype. I only become aware of it later, when it is loud and noisy and like six books or movies deep, and my attention is grabbed and everyone looks like they’re having fun over there and there I am, knocking on the door while the party is already happening. Hello, how are you, sounds like a good time in here, what are we looking at? Do you have a banner I can wave or perhaps a pin I can wear or an inside joke I can pretend to get while I catch up? Thank you very much.
The way I figure it, there are two kinds of “hype” with regard to this type of thing and books specifically, and both are good and valid and real and worth it.
The first kind is the hype surrounding something upcoming — like we’ve heard about a new series or a book from a popular author and everyone is adding it to the books they’re looking forward to for the year, tracking the release date, counting down, and just generally generating some pre-existence hype. There is no question as to whether or not that hype is worth it, because it is excitement for a thing that is not yet in anyone’s hands, so it’s just excitement. It’s people excited about a thing and looking forward to a thing and have a goddamn speck of joy in their lives, so heck yes, that hype is worth it. Sometimes, the thing comes out and it’s not as good as expected, or isn’t quite what it was thought to be, or more people find it doesn’t suit them than they expected, and that’s all right. The pre-hype was still real.
The second type is the type that I think inspires “Worth the Hype?”-type videos and blog posts and other media. The thing — or book, or series — exists, it has existed for long enough that many, many people have read it. Maybe it is the first book in a series, or a second or third standalone book from a specific author that is enough to convince people that everything this author puts out is worth pre-hype AND post-hype. Whatever it is, it’s out there and people are talking about it — a LOT. And very positively. Encouraging others to read it. Building up a fandom around it. MAKING FAN ART, GODDAMN DO I LOVE FAN ART.
(Note: Please follow me on Twitter or Instagram and send me all of your favorite fan art of Mollymauk Tealeaf, thank you very much, also guess which fandom I am currently burying myself up to my neck in.)
I think the second type is also unquestionable, in the answer is that yes, of course whatever is it is worth the hype. If there are an enormous number of people hyping it up, it would be pretty odd for one person to declare it was not worth the hype, wouldn’t it? A thing can very easily not be your thing, but a thing failing to be your thing does not negate the hype of the thing, I think. It is like Music Dudes who get on Twitter and tell all of us the thing we are enjoying the fuck out of is actually Not Very Good, In Case We Didn’t Know. Thank you, kind fellow, for letting us know that this thing we are delighting in together doesn’t have the Mediocre White Man Stamp of Authorization to Think a Thing Is Good. We’ll stop immediately.
Shut up, you wet salad. Are you listening to yourself? You sound like a wet salad.
Anyway, it is with these two facts:
1. All hyped things are worth hype, and
2. I would like to join your club, please
that I’ve decided to embark on a what is probably an extremely ill-advised project, because this blog itself is a project I have not yet finished, and I also have two other somewhat ambitious TBR projects in states of preparation, plus I am regularly accosted with the “but I don’t feel like its,” but I don’t need to tell you that, because we have been having this same conversation for 15 years now. (We’ve known each other for like 15 years! Can you believe it! We’ve made it!)
I am compiling a list of books or book series with either 1) a huge fandom, 2) have a lot of current/enduring hype, or 3) are particularly popular among my particular circle or maybe yours, because I have to allow for the fact that we self-select who we surround ourselves with, and books that I have seen a lot of talk about from the particular booktubers I watch or Instagram accounts I follow may be things that are very big in a very insular circle and not heard of outside of it. So there will probably be things on my list that might make you think, “but I’ve never heard of that at all?,” which would be fair, and in exchange, I offer you the opportunity to give me suggestions that are big in your self-selected circle.
I am going to read these things — not all at once, not all in March, but fit in around the rest of my reading, in order to give myself a fighting chance — not with the intent to determine whether or not the hype they are getting/have gotten is worth it, because we’ve already discussed this and determined that of course it is, but rather to decide if I will be able to wedge myself into this fandom. Keep in mind, the ultimate goal is for me to WEDGE MYSELF INTO AS MANY FANDOMS/NICHES AS POSSIBLE. I am not going to force myself to like a thing I just do not like, because not everything is for me and that’s fine, but understand that I am going into this with the INTENTION to go full fan girl wherever possible.
These are some potential problems I see with this project:
I might get bored and quit – absolutely. Guaranteed.
Solution: We’ve known each other for 15 years, I always eventually make my way back. Handled.
There are things people might suggest, very good candidates that fit the exact parameters of this project, that I might not want to read.
Solution: I will not read those things. Not everything is for me, as I said, and that’s fine. Handled.
Most of the books that inspire such ardent fandom are fantasy series, from what I can tell, and that is decidedly Not My Genre.
Solution: But I want it to be my genre. They have fan art. Handled.
I might dislike something that you very dearly love.
Solution: I’ve been offering you kpop for years and you’ve been shutting me down and I didn’t die from it. You’ll be fine.
Here is the list I have come up with so far, more to be added because there’s no law:
🖤 Sarah J. Maas – I have chosen two major series – the one that starts with A Court of Thorns and Roses and the one that starts with Throne of Glass. They’re the ones I’ve heard about. If you’ve got another suggestion, let me know.
🖤 Leigh Bardugo – Obviously Shadow and Bone is getting a lot of excitement right now with the Netflix series coming, so I’ve got to do this one right at the start. And then the Six of Crows duology? Is this the right order for these? Help me I’m new here.
🖤 Louise Penny books – I’ve gotten a couple of suggestions for these. I don’t know how big the outside hype/fandom is, but I’ve seen a lot of my friends tearing through these via Goodreads and they need to make some space for me. I’ll be starting with Still Life and then going in order of the series that starts there, because that’s who I am as a person.
🖤 Alice Oseman – Alice Oseman standalones have been hit or miss for me, but the graphic novel series Heartstopper comes up a lot where I’ve been internetting these days, and this will serve not only as an entry into this Heartstopper circle, but perhaps the graphic novel gateway drug I’ve long been searching for.
🖤 Carry On – Rainbow Rowell’s book about the story from the book that was about the person writing the story and this is like FANDOM INCEPTION and I must.
🖤 The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater’s books about… I’ve got to be honest, I have no idea. BUT I’M GONNA KNOW SOON.
🖤 Brandon Sanderson – You know I’ve got to, but I don’t even know where to start, so please do me a favor and point me at something.
🖤 Cozy mysteries – Okay, this is more of a genre than a specific book or series, but I find the name charming, and I like to be cozy, so I am going to research this further to come up with some titles/authors to give a shot to see if I am a cozy mystery person, because I don’t know how to express to you how much I want to be a cozy mystery person.
Here are some things I am questioning:
🖤 Bridgerton – I’ve watched the show, and I probably owned some of the original run of the series. When I was in high school/college, regency romance and Harlequin romances were my thing. When I cleaned out my bedroom when I first left for college, I was specifically instructed to “do something with all those books.” I took so many to the used book shop they said to me, “We can’t give you that much credit, I’m sorry” and I said that’s fine, I don’t want any credit, because I would just use it to buy more of these, please just have them. I don’t think it is a particularly challenging idea for me to get into romance novels because I am 76% romance novel. Besides, I do think I might want to read my old favorites. For another project. This is me, cheerfully telling you I’m about to drown myself.
🖤 Lord of the Rings – This has all the things I want – an enduring fandom, movies, references, jokes. THEY PROBABLY EVEN HAVE A BANNER I CAN WAVE. I’m hesitant, though. I don’t know why I’m hesitant. Probably because I think of it as capital F Fantasy and am concerned it will be too much for me, and I’ll take it on before I’m fantasy-prepared, and get discouraged, and then never try it again, and my one shot at being a Lord of the Rings fangirl will be ruined. I might save this one until I get some of the other fantasy series under my belt. Until I’m a professional.
🖤 Percy Jackson, Lemony Snicket, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – am I too old to give these a fair shot? I’m not anti-middle grade. I have a middle grade range child who refuses to like anything I love, so perhaps I should read them and tell her I hated them and see what happens.
Here are some things I am not considering, from my own ideas and suggestions I’ve already received:
🖤 Outlander – I’ve read some of them. I liked them. They only seem to work for me on audiobook, and while I find them pleasant while I’m listening, I never finish one and feel compelled to get the next book. I like them, but I don’t think I can buy an enamel pin.
🖤 Game of Thrones – I’m not going to like it. I already know I’m not going to like it. I’ve got it in my head that it’s very violent in a very graphic way, and that isn’t my thing. I haven’t watched the show, I haven’t read any of the books, and I’m not interested in giving them a shot. Note, as outlined above, I am not saying they are not worth the hype. I’m just saying I already know they’re not for me.
🖤 Harry Potter, Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Selection Series – already read them, am a regular level of fan.
🖤 John Green books – I have nothing against John Green, and do appreciate them as fitting the criteria as anticipated, hyped, fanned upon. However, I assure you, I already know of John Green.
Anyway, none of these lists are complete. If you have any suggestions or comments on those things I’ve already listed, please leave them below – WHICH IS STUPID AND WHEN YOU CLICK IT, YOU’LL HAVE TO SCROLL DOWN AGAIN I SWEAR TO GOD IT’S ON MY LIST BUT AS YOU CAN SEE I’VE JUST EMBARKED ON AN ENORMOUS PROJECT – or message me on Twitter or Instagram (those are LINKS which you CANNOT SEE I swear to SUPERMAN it is ON MY LIST). I will add to these lists as needed, create a overall project page linked above… somewhere, and create a shelf on Goodreads that I will also link at some point, for keeping up with this specific project. I expect I will update… monthly? That seems about right? Depending on how these books fit in with my regular reading and how much I get done every month.
My lists are not done, my plans are… loosely made, at best, and yet, I begin.
So please let me know about any big hype you’ve seen, or big followings you know of, or fandoms that you’re a part of, and – AND – I cannot emphasize this enough – PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU HAVE A FLAG OR BANNER OR PENNANT OR PERHAPS SOME COOL JACKETS BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE TO ALSO WEAR THE JACKET. Okay, thank you.