Book Recommendations: Why It’s Not Always Give & Take | Rants & Rambles

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Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, these are MY OWN opinions and while you can choose to disagree with it, I hope that you at least respect it.


This week on Rants & Rambles I want to discuss:

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As book bloggers, our main purpose is to review books and then state whether or not we would recommend them to others. Sometimes we even recommend these books we’ve reviewed to specific types of readers or group the book with other books that have similar themes and plots to give readers an idea of what to expect. I like to think of these types of recommendations as  GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS.

General recommendations are a lot easier to give because they are rather vague, therefore, there is less of a chance for disappointment. These type of recommendations are typically directed at a specific group of readers who have read similar books to the one being recommended and if they enjoyed those books, the chances of them liking this new book is rather high. It also means less pressure on reviewers because at least one bookworm out of that targeted group will like the book you are trying to push.

BUT, when it comes to making PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS, that’s where things get tricky, at least for me. Personal recommendations are when one reader asks another to recommend specific types of books that would possibly interest said reader. But the tricky part is figuring out EXACTLY WHAT said reader likes. I struggle with trying to figure out another person’s reading taste and it’s the reason WHY I DON’T GIVE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. General recommendations at the end of a review is okay, but when another bloggers ask me to recommend a book I think they would enjoy I’m always stumped.

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I read a lot of New Adult/Romance books, but I always shy away from giving recs because I would hate it if I recommended a book someone didn’t end up enjoying. It’s like I wasted their time by recommending a crappy book. For example, my coworkers know I blog about books. They know I’m big on romances and they are too, so they usually like to pick my brain about the good books I’ve read lately. I’ve given them a few recommendations that I thought were pretty good, but they didn’t end up liking them. I have no problem with the fact that they didn’t like the book I rec’d, but I hated that they spent their time reading a book they didn’t enjoy. I no longer give them recommendations, even when they ask. Instead, I introduced them to Goodreads where they can now find books that they would most likely enjoy based on their “read” shelf and that seems to be working better for all of us. 

The same goes for taking recs from other readers. I have a very strange taste in books. I read primarily romance, yes, but I tend to read a lot more darker fiction; books that not only push me out of my comfort zone, but also get under my skin. The problem with this is that I haven’t been able to find many readers who have similar taste in books. So how do I get recs for book? Honestly, my major source for discovering new books has always been Goodreads. It has rarely ever let me down. The recommendations from Goodreads are all based on stats and I’m a numbers kind of girl and the numbers usually never lie. I like using Goodreads to pick out my next read because it simpler and there’s no pressure whatsoever because no one in rec-ing me a book. I don’t have to tell someone I didn’t enjoy one of their favorite books and I know some readers take it to heart when others don’t enjoy their favorite books. Goodreads has yet to let me down and it will always be a reliable source when I’m in search of new books. 


These are my thoughts on books recommendations. I choose not to give them or to take them. Don’t feel bad if you’ve recommended a book to me and I have yet to read it because my coworkers are always threatening to hurt me for not reading their recs. Also, if I shy away from giving you recs, it’s not because I don’t want to rec a book, I’m just not very good at giving them. πŸ™ˆπŸ™Š

That is all for this week’s Rants & Rambles. I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts!

How often do you recommend books & how strong is your rec-ing game?

Let me know in the comments!

-Ari (2)

17 thoughts on “Book Recommendations: Why It’s Not Always Give & Take | Rants & Rambles

  1. I always get asked “read any good books lately” and I always freeze! I don’t know what to say! Most of the time, I think they want something more than a contemporary romance but that’s what I read a lot of. It’s hard to know people’s likes and dislikes–even my close friends because reading is so personal. But now I have some standard answers to give if I have a general idea of what they like or have read in the past.

    However, I don’t mind getting recommendations. I’m open to trying new things and in the past year, I’ve found some great novels and series from recommendations.

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    • Me and my coworkers have had multiple discussions about books because we all like reading romance, but different types. If one person liked a book and that the others hated, they go all out arguing. It’s why I stopped recommending books because too many discussion happening everyday. My coworkers are vicious sometimes and I can’t have them constantly harping on books I like. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate when people ask me for personal recs too! There’s one guy I work with who always asks me what I’m been reading and what he should read next because we’ve enjoyed some of the same books in the past, but I’m always hesitant to tell him or other people to read certain books because I don’t want them to dislike them and waste their time. I’d feel bad that they asked me for recs and I didn’t actually rec something they liked.
    The same goes for getting personal recs – I don’t like asking for them because if I don’t like a friend’s favorite, I would feel bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I stopped reccing books to my coworkers because we’ve actually gotten into heated debates about book. We all love romance books, but our preferences vary so when someone doesn’t like another’s favorite book, we just go at it. We are way too protective of our favorite books. I feel the same about taking recs. Friends have actually gotten mad because I didn’t like one of their recs so I don’t take them anymore.

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  3. I think I give recommendations more than I take them. I almost never ask someone to recommend me something because then I get the feeling like I HAVE to read the book or HAVE to like it. Which is a feeling I really don’t like directed toward reading. But with giving recommendations it’s almost always general ones unless I really know the person. I either base it off something someone previously read or something I enjoyed and hope that someone else might as well. I just kind of throw recommendations out there and don’t give it a second thought if someone is actually going to read it or not. πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ

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    • My friends actually take my recs and read them so if they hated the book, they are not afraid to say so. I can’t go through that, especially if it’s a book I loved. It’s also the same reason why I don’t take. Even though most of my friends read from the romance genre, our tastes differ so I never know for sure if someone will like a book I rec.That’s why I play it safe and just keep my reading list to myself. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  4. Interesting topic. I get what you’re saying. You don’t want to feel like you wasted anyone’s time or money with a book they didn’t enjoy.
    I actually love recommending books. I tend to do it if I see someone’s loved a book and I know a similar author or book. If a friend asks me for a recommendation, I usually ask what they like to read. When they give me genre and a few examples, I’m usually able to give a couple of recs that work out for them. I haven’t had anyone upset with yet. *Crossing fingers*
    And I actually enjoy getting recommendations from readers/bloggers by reading their reviews or if they know of something I’m sure to like by reading my reviews. Of all the books people have recommended to me over the years, I’ve never regretted reading one — even if it wasn’t my favorite.

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  7. This makes perfect sense! I totally understand why you feel that way. I usually actually try to stay away from saying “this type of reader might like this” because I never want to imply that other people won’t. I just try to explain as best I can what the book is about, what its tendencies are, etc., and let other people decide for themselves. πŸ™‚
    -Amy

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