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On Recommending Books

By posted at 1:40 pm on September 17, 2006 1

In the Contra Costa Times, librarian Julie Winkelstein pens a thoughtful little column about the challenges of recommending books and receiving recommendations from others.

I also realized that although I have come to accept that my recommendations aren’t always taken, I still find it difficult when I don’t like a suggested book. It makes me feel guilty, somehow, as if I didn’t try hard enough. And it is not easy for me to simply say it wasn’t right for me.

As one who is thought of as a book expert – thanks to this blog and my former job as a bookseller – I’m often asked to provide recommendations, and it’s pretty rare that they hit the mark. After all, it can be hard to pin down someone’s taste in books.

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One Response to “On Recommending Books”

  1. judy
    at 7:38 pm on September 17, 2006

    I feel your pain. I think I do best when the person I am recommending to is someone I know intimately, ie, my husband, my mom, my best friends. I think recommending books is an art and by practice, one gets better at it.

    I am a grandmother and this month I am starting "Grandma Judy's Book of the Month Club" for my three grandchildren, aged 8, 5, and 1. It gives me a chance to get familiar with lit for kids and I am going to make up a little reply form for them with questions like, "What did you think of the book? Great, good, ok, boring, really bad." They will just have to check off a box. (Of course, Mom will have to help with the two younger ones.) And I will ask them to tell me what was their favorite part of the book and maybe draw a picture, because they are all great artists.

    But seriously, as a book recommender, one needs feedback. And as someone receiving a recommendation, one should give feedback without guilt, because it helps the recommender hone her skill.

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