All my recommendations are wrong.

March 9, 2015 § 5 Comments

MarkersAt the library where I work, patrons often ask me for recommendations.  “Read anything good lately?” they ask. “Seen anything good?”

There is one lady in particular who can never choose a book independently.  “Oh, I just don’t know what’s good.  Have you read anything good lately?”  And whatever anyone recommends to her, she returns it in a few weeks, clucking and muttering her disappointment.  “It wasn’t any good,” she says, and sighs.

Some of my coworkers conveniently disappear when they see her coming; they don’t like to be held responsible for her letdown.

She is exceptionally difficult to help, but I feel a little of the same fear whenever any patron asks for a recommendation.  Immediately, I panic a little.  You see, I know that my suggestions have about an 80% chance of being wrong.  Reader advisory is a delicate thing –

Everyone’s taste is different.

Everyone’s taste depends partly on his/her mood at a given moment.

Everyone has different standards of literary value. 

Everyone has different convictions about what content is appropriate. 

Add to that differing religious and political convictions, and you can see my dilemma.

So consider this my official disclaimer: I hereby deny any responsibility for your disappointment on reading a book I’ve recommended.  My recommendations are based upon my own tastes, standards, and convictions, a particular combination which couldn’t possibly match anyone else’s exactly.

Read at your own risk!

Do you have any recommendation disaster/awkwardness stories?  Or a book that you always recommend but no one else seems to appreciate?

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§ 5 Responses to All my recommendations are wrong.

  • […] would recommend this book for readers 10+.  See my Goodreads review for content […]

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  • Mo says:

    I can’t imagine 1) depending on others to tell me what I should read, and 2) then crabbing about it when they can’t read your mind! How are you supposed to know what a perfect stranger might enjoy reading? I can see maybe family and friends – people whom you know and have a basic idea of their likes and dislikes. But a total stranger? That’s just a ridiculous expectation!

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  • september.michaud says:

    At least in the library, the books can be borrowed for free! I used to work in a bookstore (recently made the switch to library) so when people asked for book recommendations it was a also a financial risk for them which just added to my uneasiness in providing suggestions. At the library, it’s “If you don’t like, don’t finish reading it. Bring it back. Pick something else.”

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