Discussion: Book Recommendations Gone Wrong

Recently I recommended a book to a ton of people and they’ve all raved about it, which made my bookish heart sing! But it got me thinking about how not all book recommendations go nearly as well. In fact, some of them go horribly wrong. What do you do when you recommend a book to someone and they hate it?

Let’s face it: recommending books is pretty much the gig when it comes to book blogging. But giving a book a positive review and specifically recommending a book to someone are two different things, in my mind. Like every other art form and leisure activity, books are subjective and not everyone’s going to like the same thing, so sometimes you have to tread carefully. If you know that someone doesn’t like swearing or HBO shows, maybe don’t recommend them a book with explicit violence and sex.

Sometimes you recommend a book to someone that you’re certain they’ll enjoy…and then they turn around and tell you they really didn’t like it. Maybe they even loathed it.

Not that this has ever happened to me of course, nor am I going to name names (*cough* Becky *cough*) or anything. Although if it had, it’d be the worst. Well, maybe not the worst, but it’s definitely a bummer. It’s especially unfortunate when you recommend a book that you really loved to someone whose tastes normally align with yours and it turns out to be a dud for them. #bookrecfail

Hey, everyone likes different things and that’s great! But it’s always a bit weird when the person you’ve recommended a book to – be they a friend, sibling, partner, parent, or coworker – expects your recommendations to be good because you read a lot. It’s even worse when they know you have a book blog and think that you know which books are “objectively good.”

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, since it seems like every other blogger who gives me a book rec follows it up by saying something to the effect of “don’t hate me if you don’t like it hahaha.” Fellow anxious book recommenders, join me. How do you deal with the book recommendation jitters? And if you’re that magical person who feels not a twinge of worry when you recommend a book, tell me your secrets!

How do you react when someone doesn’t like your book recommendation? Do you get nervous recommending books to people in case they hate your suggestion? Let me know in the comments!

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