BA Post Challenge: Recommendations

Before we get settled into this week’s topic, check out my news for the future of BA’s Posting Challenge.

BA’s 26 Posts Blogging Challenge

BA's 26 Posts Challenge for Book BloggersWelcome to BA’s 26 Posts Posting Challenge for Book Bloggers! The aim of this challenge is to create one post a week, focusing on books, book blogs, and a scattering of personal topics, for 26 weeks. You can learn more, or be kept up to date with topics here.

Posts will go up every Sunday, but you can post any time during the week (all topics are pre-listed), and share your posts in the comments for others to find. Please refrain from targeting individuals, bullying, or slandering in your posts. Share your opinions, but keep it diplomatic if anything negative comes up so this can be, and stay, a fun challenge.

This Week’s Topic

Recommendations: What are your feelings and reactions towards being asked for reading recommendations, especially when it’s from those who either don’t read your preferred genres or you’re not up to speed on what they would love?

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I’m hopeless with recommendations and I inwardly cringe when someone asks for one. I am a people pleaser though so I’m not unhappy about recommending reading material; it’s the pressure. I don’t want to suggest something someone is going to hate and I dislike the idea of contributing to someone’s unpleasant experiences in reading.

Rationally I know I have no control over how someone feels about a book, but for some odd reason I find myself taking on the responsibility. Love it! Love the book!

When I receive recommendations, which are rare now-a-days, I don’t feel I have read extensively enough in the genre to recommend a book. Sure, I read speculative fiction across several different genres, I favour genres like dystopia and dark fiction, but how can I pick a few titles when there are so many books? When can I read all these books to begin with? There’s too many to keep abreast of and I believe the only way to have extensive knowledge on a genre is to focus on one. Just one. I am not fond of that idea. There’s too much to read and too little time to do it in. Unless of course you’re a speed reader who can read a book in eight minutes, but then surely you can’t be speed reading for pleasure.

The only people I feel completely at ease recommending books to, and who I will volunteer recommendations, are a couple of close friends, my partner, and my Mum. What do they have in common? I know them, their reading habits, and have had success in the past. When someone I know, but am not up to speed on their reading habits, I feel their requests are too general. Maybe that’s just me, but I like details with a recommendation of ‘Can you suggest something in young adult fantasy?’

There’s different reasons to be reading a book, above and beyond for pleasure. I always want to know exactly what someone wants, what they dislike, what they love. Personally I detest love triangles, I hate subjugation of women against their will, and stories with weak-willed heroines putting their male counterparts before them drive me absolutely batshit. BATSHIT! Why do so many female authors write female protagonists who have to forget themselves and orbit around men? Seriously, why?

… Ok, calming down now… I don’t take it personally when someone recommends something to get my blood boiling. Recommendations come from a place of pleasure and helpfulness, it’s never vindictive, so don’t worry if you’ve ever recommended a book with the above in the past. I won’t hold it against you, but if I ever said no, then you might know why!

When someone recommends something to me, I question their motives. Why do they want me to read that particular book? Of course they obviously believe I will enjoy it, but why? What will I get out of it? These are the questions I ask myself when someone approaches me about a recommendation. What do they want out of it besides pleasure? Do they want to learn something, do they want their mental boundaries pushed, do they want to be disgusted, do they want to be all happy and giddy by the end? In turn, I consider these questions for recommendations from others. So many questions to consider!

I hope the majority of people I know, and don’t, occasionally check out Bookish Ardour and can find inspiration for new material. Originally BA was created for myself where I could write my thoughts on the books I read, to remember them, but I hope something more has come from it for others. Especially when it comes to recommendations, it’s less self-imposed pressure!

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Don’t forget to share your post if you take part, grab the badge, and tell your friends. The more the merrier!

3 thoughts on “BA Post Challenge: Recommendations

  1. I got unreasonably upset when someone I had recommended a book to said ‘the sentence structure was too long!’ I thought the story was great, in the genre the person said they liked and sentence structure wasn’t something I considered. I am more than happy to recommend to close friends and family but beyond that it is a minefield. Great post.

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  2. Every Sunday morning, I stand in front of a used bookstore in Campbell, CA (near San Jose) and recommend books. I do this for about an hour and a half during the city’s farmer’s market. I love it. There are so many books that I like and feel that most everybody will like. In fact, when I find one that I highly recommend, I can’t wait to tell people about it.
    booksage.blogspot.com

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