Yesterday was Boxing Day in Canada, which means that I received a lot of texts/messages that went a bit like this:
“Erin, I have all these Chapters gift cards and I don’t know which books to spend them on! Any suggestions?”
“Since I’m going away on co-op next term, I’ll have a lot of free time to read. Want to make me a book list? I trust your recommendations.”
As a former library page, I’m no stranger to giving book recommendations. However, when it comes to recommending books to my friends, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m so happy that they chose me of all people to ask. It makes me feel special. On the other hand, though, I’m terrified because what if they don’t like the book that I recommend? If it’s a book that I absolutely adored and that impacted me while reading, I’d be a bit sad that they didn’t like it – after all, recommending books that are that important to you is like handing people a tiny part of your soul.
I want to say that I’ve devised a fool-proof method to find the perfect book for someone, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened quite yet. I’ll admit to shelf-stalking on Goodreads and looking up their favourite books on various sites to find associated recommendations, but even that doesn’t always work. Instead, I’ve learned that the best method is to take yourself out of the equation completely. Everyone has different opinions about what makes a book “good,” and it’s important to remember that when choosing a book for someone else. If your favourite book isn’t their cup of tea, try not to be too offended and make a mental note of why they didn’t enjoy it so that you’ll know what not to recommend for next time. Who knows, this conversation might even bring you two closer in that special way that books can.
How do you choose what books to recommend? And how do you handle recommendation rejection?