Y'all, I have to admit something that's been weighing on my mind lately... I have issues with recommendations! WHAT?! A book blogger who has some issues with book recommendations? That's me!
I've seen plenty of posts about book recommendations before, but I don't feel like I've ever seen anyone express the way I secretly feel about this aspect of loving books. There's two different aspects to recommendations - giving them and receiving them. My issue? Receiving specific, personal book recommendations. Many readers love when someone says, "This is such a YOU book!" or "Hey, YOU really need to read this book right this second!"
While I used to love recommendations, I feel like my feelings for them have gotten more complicated over time. It's not that I want people to stop telling me about books that make them think of me or quit bringing books to my attention that might be a good fit. It's just that sometimes recommendations stress me out!
A general, positive review recommending a book to other readers? LOVE IT. I'm all over that because I can sit and read for myself what someone liked/disliked. The best part? At the end of reading the review, I can decide for myself if it's something that feels like a fit for me.
But a specific, targeted recommendation? It's like my brain turns into a deer in headlights! It happens most often with people I know in real life (since finding out I like to read can often prompt someone to offer their own recommendation), but I have felt it at times due to blogging. Here's just a sample of the complex feelings I have when someone specifically recommends a book to me.
Things I Might Think When You Recommend A Book Specifically To Me:
- "Why do you think this book would be a good fit for me?"
- "How do you know if it's a me book if you're not actually me?"
- "DANG IT! Now I have to add it on Goodreads so you don't think I'm rude."
- "Crap! This book really doesn't sound like anything I'd ever want to read, but I can't say that to this person!"
- "What if I read it and don't like it? How will I tell them?! Will they be disappointed or sad that I didn't?"
- "Time to do more research on this book." *downloads sample* *reads other reviews*
- "I don't want to know what I ought to be reading! I want to just read what I find and explore from there. I've already got too much on my TBR."
- "Oh this does sound good, but I'm really not looking for new books to read right now."
- "How much do I trust this person? Do we have similar taste in books?"
- "YES! This book really sounds like something right up my alley!"
I can absolutely adore everything about a book, but I likely won't push it on anyone unless they specifically ask for a recommendation or ask for my opinion on that particular book. And I think that's at the root of my recommendation issues these days. I'm not a big book pusher, so sometimes I struggle with people pushing books on me.
There is always going to be a level personal attachment and emotional investment involved in reading and recommending. Recommending a book to someone isn't the same as recommending a restaurant or a product. It's what makes reading great, but I think it's also why I sometimes have issues when people push books they love onto me. What if I don't like it... or even if I don't want to read it at all?
Usually, my issue with recommendations is that the book being pushed doesn't interest me. At the end of the day, I know that I'm under no obligation to read anything that someone recommends to me. However, I usually feel like I should at least give it a shot. I don't want anyone to stop telling me about good books, and yet I have to admit my feelings for it can be complicated!
What do you think when someone tells you that you've just GOT to read a certain book?
Do you have a love/hate relationship with personalized book recommendations?