I Read That Before It Was Cool

Recently I was thinking about all the books that I read before they were popular. Now, don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post all about me bragging about all those books that I was obviously a trend-setter for. Just the opposite in fact. Because while I was thinking, I realized that whenever anyone says  “I read ________ before it was cool!” people tend to think that it IS, in fact, a humblebrag. But I think it’s more than that. 

When I was younger, in particular, I would frequently read any book that caught my interest. I had one friend that I would discuss books with, but that’s not a very good gauge of whether or not a book is popular. So we’d read both popular and not as popular books without discerning between the two. And sometimes we’d somehow end up reading a book before it became popular. 

What do I mean by popular, you ask. In this case, I’m referring to one of three things. One, the book or series eventually developed a fan base that eagerly awaited the next installment from that author. Two, the book was optioned for a movie and now the whole world was discussing the book. Or three, the book won a prestigious and well-known award, propelling it into fame. 

Popular Kristin Chenoweth GIF by NBC

When I hear that a book is about to become The Next Big Thing TM

Now, I’d always get excited when this happened, and I wanted to clarify why. It’s not that I thought I was cooler than everyone else to have discovered this book before the masses. But the fact of the matter is, it’s rare to find a book that you can discuss with so many people or one where you can quantify its appeal to non-readers.

For example, I read All the Light We Cannot See pretty soon after it came out and I was obsessed with it. I was telling everyone about it, but no one in my family was really listening. Once it won a Pulitzer however, it was a lot easier for me to convince relatives to read it! Some even read it without my prodding and I was so happy to have someone to discuss it with.

Me when I finish a book and want to discuss it with someone

I also think there’s something nice about reading a book without all the hype. You can then go into a book with no expectations. In a way you really DO get to be the trendsetter if you find a book you love before other people have read it. And at that point, the excitement isn’t that you read the book first, per se, but that you now have the ability to recommend a new and unknown book to others!  

hype confidence GIF

In a less angry fashion, I get to be the hype monster for books at times

I feel like people don’t take these factors into account and think that someone getting excited that they read a book before everyone else is a form of bragging. But to me at least, it’s a way of expressing your excitement over how you got to share this book with people. Letting you know that it was YOU who made someone read it because no one else cared at the time. It’s every book lovers dream come true. And if there’s a little bit of bragging involved, I don’t see the problem.

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What book did you read before it became popular? Do you think it’s bragging? Do you like reading books before they become popular?

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31 thoughts on “I Read That Before It Was Cool

  1. I read a lot and am known to take a lot of chances, which includes reading many debuts. I love seeing some of these authors becoming HUGE and knowing I read them back when, but I have also jumped on hyped books after the fact too.

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  2. Haha this is relatable! Me 10000% with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It was already popular within the bookish community when I read it, but I read it before the movie made it popular everywhere, and I always brag about how I read the book before it was popular to everyone who has only seen the movie and gushes about it

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    1. Yay for relatable content!

      Exactly! There’s something fun about being able to tell someone that you were interested in the book before it ever became a movie! But also, book to movie adaptations allow you to discuss these wonderful stories with people that otherwise aren’t interested in bookish content!

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    1. Thank you!

      I’m pretty sure I’m the same way. I love when I’m able to tell people that I read The Hunger Games or Divergent before there were any movies in the works. Sometimes it’s humblebragging, and sometimes it’s a plain old brag!

      I think that as long as my head doesn’t get too inflated, a little bragging here or there can’t hurt!

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    1. Thank you! I love when I post relatable content!

      Exactly! It’s like you get to watch a book grow from obscurity into a grown up, well loved staple in every book store. There’s this great mixture of pride and nostalgia and you want to tell everyone your part in making that book into what it became! (I’m giving myself Hamilton vibes since I’m singing “Look at my son!” under my breath as I type this.)

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  3. Yess! I love these kind of bragging rights too 😂It’s just a bit of fun to be ahead of a hype for once! I usually am behind lolol. Okay so I read Red Rising about 5months before it was published because I had an eARC luckily. And it was like unknown and not famous at all eep. So called that. 😌I also was into Holly Black before she got sUPER big in the book community!

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    1. Exactly! After reading so many because because of all the hype you hear, it’s nice to be the ones hyping up a book for a change!

      And those are some huge names! I love when I discover an author early on because then I don’t have to read any backlist titles and feel like I’m constantly behind on reading everything by that author!

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  4. Haha I’m such a bragger! I read Brigid Kemmerer’s books before she blew up with her contemporaries and ACSDAL, and I like to point out to everyone that she actually had a paranormal series that was excellent before she got major publishing deals 😀

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    1. That’s so funny because I feel like Letters to the Lost was pretty underhyped as well! So when everyone was super into A Curse So Dark and Lonely recently, I was super proud to have already read her contemporaries. But you’re so right! I haven’t read her early paranormal series! Those are definitely bragging rights that you’ve got there!

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  5. This is such a fun post! I am trying to think if there are any of these but… I am really not coming up with any! I guess maybe To All the Boys? I did read that when it first came out and LOVED it. Get back to me in 5 years and I’ll let you know if any of the books I’ve flailed over ended up with a fanbase 😂

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    1. Thank you! I think it can be hard to quantify popular. The fact that I only became involved in the online book community about 5 years ago, even though I’ve been reading for way more, definitely made a difference in what I thought was or wasn’t popular when I was in my teens. I decided things weren’t super popular if I couldn’t easily find people in my life that had read/heard of the book, or if my library and book store had it hidden on a shelf instead of on display. We each have our own definition for popular, I guess!

      But I’ll make a note in my calendar to follow up in 5 years! 😂

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  6. To be honest, I tend to be late to the party where popular books are involved! I always end up reading them ages after they became popular, if anything, after the hype has died down. Although back in the day I did read the first Twilight book before the first movie came out and everyone went mad for it!

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    1. I feel like I’ve actually become more and more invested in popular books recently! I don’t love reading super hyped books, and so I try reading books once they’re still in the popular stage, and not yet in the OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK IS THE BEST THING EVER, hyped stage.

      But that’s super cool that you read Twilight before it was popular, since now it’s practically a classic YA book!

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  7. this is SUCH a great take on this topic. it’s really sad when you read an AMAZING book or series and theyre so underrated that you cant scream about it with anyone (one of the many reasons why i love book blogging and reviewing) OR when there is no fan content or fanart, thats just so depressing 😭😭

    but youre right, it does let us force everyone around us to read the book (even if they barely ever listen). fantastic post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, May! YES YES YES! I weirdly have this for middle grade a lot. I’ll mention a book, and people will brush it off because it’s not YA while I sit there sadly weeping because everyone is missing out so much! And a lack of fan art hurts my soul. I read Red, White, & Royal Blue practically the day it came out, and I remember being so excited the first time I saw fan art because then I was like, THE FANDOM HAS ARRIVED! I feel like fan content is a really great measure of a book’s popularity!

      And yes, having a blog allows me to yell at everyone all day long to read a certain book, until they give in just so that I’m quiet. And then you get to be a part of the creation of a fandom, which is super cool!

      Thank you! 💕

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  8. Ooooh, I love this post so much!! You beautifully explain how I feel about all this, Malka! ❤ It always bums me out whenever I LOVE a book, but can't seem to get anyone to read it. They suddenly only seem to have an interest in it once a movie adaptation of it is releasing, or something of the like. It's not that I want to brag necessarily that I knew about the book before it's sudden increase in popularity, but rather, that I love being able to say that I've seen this book's journey. Of course, a little bit of bragging along the way, is always fun too. Hehe. 🙂

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    1. Thank you! And yes! I’m very lucky that I have 2 IRL friends that are pretty willing to take my book suggestions as long as I do the same for them, but I’d be really frustrated if I didn’t have them!

      But it can be really annoying when there’s this sudden increase in excitement about a book just because of a movie, when the book is so fantastic in its own right. It’s also a little scary because people use the movie as a gauge of whether or not the book is quality, which doesn’t always work in the book’s favor. Although it’s a great feeling when it does work out, and you get to see a book achieve the popular status when you’ve been there from the very beginning. And I’m definitely okay with some bragging here or there. 😊

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  9. I must be really clueless! I think I’ve humblebragged before?! I didn’t know that was a thing. But I know I’ve talked about some experiences I’ve had which turned out to be pretty incredible… It could be seen as me humblebragging I assume. I know I’ve also read books before they were really big. Liked The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth. It’s funny but I agree with your points. It’s really not about bragging so much as you want to add your voice to the hype and get others to pick up this or that mega book. ❤️

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  10. I always want to read books before they’re cool…. but I sometimes feel like I need the hype of everyone discovering it helps motivate me and that’s terrible. I do occasionally find myself discovering a book early and it’s so fun seeing folks give in and reading and suddenly you get to talk to everyone about ti and share in the excitement… but then I usually find it’s been so long I’ve forgotten what happened and fall out of the conversation again.

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    1. I totally hear that though. There are some times where I go, “That sounds nice, but I’m still not convinced.” That’s when I look at how other people liked a book. But I love discovering a hyped book early on and being one of the founding members of hype, if that’s a thing! I find that it’s best when I read a book just a few weeks before it comes out and start obsessing over it, because I totally agree! After a few months, it becomes really difficult to articulate what you liked about a book!

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  11. Everybody likes to brag sometimes 😅 but yeah I agree, saying ‘i read that first’ isn’t always about bragging. It can actually be frustrating, like you suggested, reading books first as you need someone to talk about it with but there’s nobody else to discuss it with. It’s kind of nice sometimes to have read a book first too because you then go into it with no hype or expectations, as you’ve said. Plus it’s nice to know that, even though there are so many new books that you still need to read, you got there first with other books and haven’t always been reading to catch up.

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    1. That’s exactly it! When you discover a fantastic book, you want other people to read it and discuss it with, but there’s no one to talk to! And sometimes it can be hard work convincing people to read a book you loved! But a hype free reading experience is always nice! And it *definitely* helps avoid a TBR mountain! That’s why I try reading new releases and ARCs pretty much immediately!

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      1. Yes definitely, especially if you don’t really know any readers. Or, if you do, they aren’t into the same genres as you. And yes, omg the TBR mountain bit is so true as well. I have a permanent one thanks to how many books I’ve bought in the past but I do at least generally get on with any early copies that I receive straight away. And Queen Of Nothing is definitely one book that I’ll be picking up immediately.

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