FOMO posts are blog posts about the books that have been buzzed about, made the bestseller lists, won all the awards, are constantly cited as life-changing or industry shaping…and I haven’t read a word of them. These posts are my chance to explain why I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, and your chance to tell me if I should. The book I’ve chosen for this inaugural post is one of the Top 20 Picks for Best Book of the Year so Far for 2018, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and one that’s been mentioned everywhere since before its release in February. So why haven’t I picked it up?
I’m not one to jump on a lot of bandwagons. They’re usually full, and crowds make me nervous. A recent galivant through the land of the Enneagram personality test revealed that I am what’s known as The Loyalist, so apparently NOT jumping ship for the next hot thing is an important part of who I am.
There’s something in me that, when I see a bunch of readers heading for the cliff, makes me want to go in the opposite direction. I may find myself at the same stream eventually, but I like to take my own path sometimes.
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover seems like a book that would be right up my alley. I love memoirs. I’m a fan of higher education. It’s a coming of age story about self-reinvention and family loyalty, which are themes right in my wheelhouse. Anyone who knows my criteria for a good memoir knows one of the top requirements is that the story is unique enough to be interesting, yet rendered universally enough for me to identify with the individual, and according to critics and lay readers, Westover has done just that. I should have been the first person in line to read this, especially since one of my favorite book recommenders, Anne Bogel, talked about it before its release on her show. So why wasn’t I?
First of all, February was busy. My book release had been pushed back and I was working like crazy to meet my new deadline. All that stress pushed me to binge on $.99 kindle romances in the evenings in between episodes of America’s Dumbest Criminals on Amazon Prime to rest my brain. I wasn’t interested in a “demanding” read.
Second, the book was a little too buzzed about. Many times when a book is so lauded early on, I’m skeptical. Was it really good advance marketing and a quirky spin on her story that garnered all this attention, or is the book actually good?
Third, I’m finicky when it comes to memoir or books that have an autobiographical component. I can read almost any romance as long as you can guarantee a man and a woman fall in love and have AT LEAST a happy for now ending that looks really promising, but when it comes to memoir, I need more than a good story. I have to connect with the person, their story, or their voice–and hopefully all three. I take less chances in this genre. I usually read memoirs of stories I heard about or people I’ve met online or in real life who I like. I know nothing about this Tara Westover, and while her story seems interesting enough, all I know of it is what’s been said about the book. As for her voice, I have no clue.
Four, and more or less important depending on how far I am from payday, is the price. The paperback price is listed at around $25, and the kindle is still $12.99 (the link above is to the hardcover and is $16.80). I’m not a world famous reviewer who gets Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) from major publishers regularly (yet!), so I have to at least pretend as if I’m minding my book budget. True, I could just check this one out of the library, but I imagine the hold requests on this are pretty up there (not that I’ve bothered to look–I’ll add this to future posts).
Instead of going round and round in my head, I’m putting it to a poll here on my blog. Do you think I should read Educated? Why or why not? I’m especially interested in the opinions of those who have read the book or heard the author speak. Once I get some feedback and make a decision, I’ll add it to the bottom of the post so you know what I decided (because I hate when I vote and I never find out the decision).
P.S. Eventually when I get more tech savvy, I’ll have an actual poll on these posts.