I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them. Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading. Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?
I also have to say it is a bit different when reading becomes part of your professional life. I do have a sense, as a librarian, that I should at least be aware of trends. I read the best seller lists, awards lists, etc. and try to read at least some of the works. I make sure I've read the Newbery and Caldecott books every year. I also read the books from the Texas Bluebonnet list. Very often the children's books are better than the grown-ups. The NYT bestseller stuff I don't really count as personal reading. Very often I just skim them. Sometimes, I'll just take a few minutes in the bookstore and work my way through the new books shelf reading the book jackets, skimming the tables of content, etc.