Friday Blog May 31- The Art of Recommending Books

Please welcome back guest blogger Louloubelle

I have always tried to recommend books to people and I have recently realised that there is definitely a certain amount of chance and skill involved – a science if you will.

1)      Acquaintances are easier to recommend for.

You’ve just finished a book and whether or not you liked it you are absolutely sure your sister will L.O.V.E it,  in my case that usually involves everything turning out well for the main characters.  You say “you must read it you will love it!” Five days later it is back on your book shelf because “well it was a bit overly soppy” (the Twilight Series) or “it was a bit strange” (The Observations by Jane Harris).  But in a short conversation with your new workmates, you mention that Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is the best mix of Crime Mystery/Science Fiction/Fantasy and funny to boot – and they have read the whole series by the time you are back from holiday.  Go figure.

2)      Over-recommending is the Cardinal Sin

Try it. You’ll love it. Go on. Try it. Try it! It’s a fine line to walk between being right and being annoying.  You know they will love it but the decision does lie with the reader and sometimes overegging the pudding can just lead to disappointment when they don’t love it or when the twist at the end is 10 pages too early and is frankly underwhelming in face of its praise. Or as in a recent case your friend will simply abandon the copy of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian on the dinner table and silently leave it behind when they leave.

3)      Make sure you are right

So that when you tell your traumatised father that To Kill a Mockingbird is a great book and he answers that his evil English teacher ruined it for him you don’t buy him it for his birthday.

4)      Keep the best books for yourself

Selfish. Yes. Part of the secret. Absolutely.  Which is why I never strongly recommend the Mathew Shardlake series by CJ Sansom to anyone.  They are great and I want to keep them to myself.  So my one final recommendation of the many mentioned so far which I don’t want everyone to read because then everyone will know about it, but it really is worth a read is The President’s Hat.

Go on. You’ll really like it.

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