Why I Almost Never Take Book Recommendations

After reading a mind-blowing book, what’s the next step? Some of us preorder/buy the sequel, others make fanart or fanfic, some of us hunt down the author’s backlist, but all of us—at some point or another—will recommend that book to someone else.

It’s only natural. After all, we just found this piece of printed perfection. Why wouldn’t we nod approvingly at strangers in bookstores, send fervent messages to friends, or even shout from the rooftops? The world must know of the awesomeness we have found!

The problem is, everyone is different. Not everyone is going to love the same books you love. Not everyone is going to love the books even a vast majority do.

And that’s OKAY.

I have been blessed with many bookish friends. With this has come many book recommendations. A lot of them have similar tastes to mine, but not one of us has the exact same tastes—we wouldn’t be individuals if we did.

Every so often, my friends recommend me one and I love it. Most of the time, though, I look into the book I’ve been recommended and decide, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t tickle my fancy. It can get harder, though, when four, five, six, or more friends start recommending the same book I just don’t want to read.

The thing is, time is short. Between writing, blogging, school, and life, I can only read a few dozen of the hundreds of books I’d like to read every year. I want to spend that time on books I genuinely want to read, not something I felt forced into.

And you know the one thing worse than not reading a book all your friends love? Hating a book all your friends love.

Believe me, it sucks. I’d much rather stick to books I think I’ll enjoy than caving to peer pressure and ending up the black sheep. Besides, if reading isn’t enjoyable, why bother with it?

“But how will you know unless you try it?” some might ask. In all fairness, I won’t. It doesn’t matter. I, like everyone else, has the right to read what I want whether that’s the biography of a 16th century banker or a paranormal romance novella (both were great, in case you wondered). People shouldn’t have to justify their tastes in what is supposed to be a harmless recreational activity.

However, even if I don’t particularly want to read a certain book, that doesn’t mean I’m not genuinely happy someone else enjoyed it. I am.

Nonetheless, I know myself better than anyone else, after all. If my search happens to lead me to the same books, awesome. If not, oh well.

Last year I gave myself permission to read what I wanted and it’s working out pretty well so far!

All the same, don’t let me discourage anyone from shouting out their favorite books. If you like it, flaunt it. Maybe you’ve found exactly what someone is looking for. Just remember that everyone is different and not to take it personally if you recommendations never make it to the top of your friends’ reading lists.

And try not to pressure people who haven’t read what you have! We don’t deserve the guilt!

Read and let read, that’s what I say.


  1. This is a great idea! I’m glad its working out for you.
    At this point I’ve sort of just embraced my role as the picky reader. That’s helped me not feel guilty for not liking books everyone says will be good.

  2. YES! I rarely take recommendations, because as long as I don’t read the book, I can say “I’m sure it’s lovely”. But once I read it, a person I care about asks me how I liked it, and I have to explain to them that I loathed it. Which is unpleasant.

  3. This is great! Seems so much simpler. I swear to god if anyone tells me to read the hunger games again “carefully”, “paying attention” or “without bias” I will smack them upside the head… figuratively speaking, of course. It really is a matter of personal taste. I wish more people would get it when I try to explain it to them.

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