October 10, 2014 • Cee • Discussion

CONFESSION: I hate recommending books to people, but I like receiving recommendations.

Some people find it easy to recommend books. But me? Well, if you ask for a book recommendation, I initially think:

But then, I go maybe???? I do want to recommend my absolute favorite books, but gahhhhhhh.

Why I don’t like to recommend books?

  • I panic. I want to be able to give specific reasons why the person should read the book I’m shoving into their face, but sometimes it’s hard on the account of book amnesia. How am I gonna convince somebody to read, such as, I’ll Give You the Sun when all I want to do is shove the book into people’s faces, saying READ OR DIE or BECAUSE I SAID SO? (Do people like that?) I don’t know if unintelligible dinosaur screeches will suffice.
  • I worry. Will they like it? What if the reader doesn’t like the book? Will they feel love for the friendships? I’d be in a perpetual state of worry, basically holding my breath and not letting myself breathe until the person has told me whether they liked it or not. I’ll be sad that they don’t share the same love I have for the book.
  • Disappointment. I don’t want the reader to feel disappointed, nor do I want to feel disappointed that they don’t love it.

All that anxiety, no thanks!

I know people have different tastes, and they won’t love what I love. I want to take part in the book recommending because there are plenty of books that I’d like to recommend that render me unintelligible. I’m looking for fellow readers who can scream incoherently with about all the feelings the book is inflicting upon me. And if that reader isn’t that book kindred spirit, I get sad.

You want to recommend a book to me? I’m all ears!

Now, here’s the thing, if you want to give me a book recommendation, I come a-running.


I’m like a golden retriever who comes pouncing through the meadow, slobber emerging from my mouth, trying to get whatever treat I’m being offered. Just tell me! Even if I tell you, “you’re a life ruiner” or “WHY DO YOU DO THIS?” I love adding new books to my TBR list, especially books that feature found families, space, thieves, spies, and siblings. Give them all to meeee!

Just because I don’t like recommending books doesn’t mean I don’t do it. 

I just don’t do it as often as I’d like to.

And when I do recommend books, I tend to keep the reason to a maximum of five words. My usual go-to sentences that I use to recommend books are:

  • [Insert similar TV show or book]
  • [Insert short phrases like “Sleuths, Paranormal, Sass”]

Very descriptive reasons why, right? (I’m sure I’ve left out plenty of other sentences, but I can’t remember them all.)

And I have a habit of ending each recommendation with, “I really hope you like it. If you don’t, it’s okay! More for me! I can love it for the both of us.” Can you sense the worry when I say it? I always try to prepare myself, as if I’m protecting myself from the hurt of no love for my favorite book.

I envy those who can recommend books easily.

It’s a talent. One that I’m not sure I have. I’m just not satisfied with how I recommend books. It feels somewhat lackluster.

So props to every book pusher. You are good.

What about you? Do you find it hard to recommend books? Or does it come easily to you? Why do you like to recommend books? What’s the last book somebody recommended to you?


8 Responses to “THE THREE C’S: CANDID CONVERSATIONS WITH CEE | Recommending Books: It’s For You, Not Me”

  1. I’m no good at giving recommendations either, and it’s one of the reasons why I hesitated about joining Epic Recs for so long! Apart from in my review, I find it really hard to sit down and tell someone why I think they would like a book. I just kind of go, “Uh, well, it’s about space pirates, and…it’s good?” which isn’t very convincing! Plus I do worry that they won’t like it and they’ll judge me. :( lmao

  2. LOLLLL okay that gif is hilarious and it’s hard imagining you like that haha. I second, third, fourth etc. you say “DO ITTTTTTTTT” a lot.

    I think it’s a lot easier for me to recommend books to strangers or people I don’t know as well. I can be general and recommend them personal favourites or favourites amongst the majority without the fear and possibility of them not liking it. Plus, I don’t think they’re as picky or critical as me so there’s an increased likelihood they’ll enjoy the book. But when it comes to close friends, I get a lot more anxious because I reallllly want them to love it. No matter how well I know someone, there’s always going to be a part of me that goes “Oh no, what if I don’t know them at all? D: D:”

    But if I’m being recommended a book and the book doesn’t have any of the things I don’t like, I’m happy to try it out. I want to love it too so it takes little to persuade me. I’ll just hop on the bandwagon happily.

  3. Dragana says:

    When I read some good book while I am still raiding that awesome-book high I feel like I should recommenced it TO EVERYONE. I even used to do that. O:) But then when people don’t like it as much as me, I feel sad. So I kinda stopped recommending books to specific persons, only in general at the end of my reviews where I list who will probably like it based on plot elements.

  4. Kritika says:

    Depending on whether I’m recommending an “I LOVE IT” book or a “NO WORDS TOO BRILLIANT TO DESCRIBE” book, my recommendations range from ceaseless chattering to something more like your “JUST DO IT” recs. That kind of goes for reviews too. If I love a book I have a really hard time trying to explain why and my reviews end up pretty short.

    Speaking of recommendations, go read the Mistborn series by Sanderson and Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch! They’re both in the “NO WORDS TOO BRILLIANT TO DESCRIBE” category :)

  5. I like giving recommendations, but it’s definitely scary! I’ve been quite successful so far and I always take enough time to think about a recommendations; I want to make sure I pick something I know someone is going to love, instead of shoving my favorite books in their face, haha.

  6. Shannelle says:

    I think I can just say that I’m a horrible person when talking about books, because when someone asks me for a recommendation, my brain goes absolutely empty on me. It sucks, but I will happily read anything recommended to me! I think the only book I can properly recommend right now is just This Song Will Save Your Life. *shrugs* We’re in this boat together then, Cee.

  7. Lola says:

    I don’t like recommending books either, it’s really difficult to know a person well enough so you can determine whether they would like a book or not. Then again if for exmaple I have a specific genre or topic on whcih to recommend book I can come up with general recommendations or books I enjoyed that dealth with that genre or topic, but personal recommendations are difficult.

    When I recommend a book I usually remember a few specific things I liked about the book and can tell them to that person. Or I simply check out my review to fresh up my memory of why i enjoyed that book.

    I kinda like receiving book recommendation, but only when I know the person recommending them knows me well enough to know what I enjoy and don’t in a book. I have gotten a few recommendation on goodreads for books that just are in a genre I tend to avoid and then there might be a chance I enjoy it, but the chance I don’t is a lot bigger.

  8. Sydney says:

    I have a HORRIBLE time recommending books. I’m doing epic recs with Chiara this month and I recommended A Great and Terrible Beauty to her and I’m so nervous she won’t like it. It’s a good October read (a little spooky) which is why I recommended it, but I’m nervous it won’t click with her!

    I have the same problems with it comes to recommending books as you do. I get so worried that they’re going to dislike the book, then I’ll be so sad because how could you not be?! I try to avoid recommending books, but I work in a bookstore now so I kind of have to get used to it.

    Also: I LOVE when people rec books to me. Give me all of the recommendations. Layer them on me. Tell me all of the great things. ABUSE MY TBR.

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