December 27, 2013

The Problem with Recommending Books Is...

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

I have this thing where I'll never recommend one book to everyone. Because, well, everyone I know is super different and I don't think there's one book that'll really do it for everyone. Not even The Book Thief. Proof: I gave it to my dad and he put it down half-way through. He said to me, "Gaby, I know what happens. Everyone dies." He's not totally right, but I guess the man's read enough World War II books to get the gist of it. But what it really boils down to is that he doesn't like books that remind him or real, sad things.

And my dad's not the only one with little things like that. Some people don't like issue books (I'm partially looking at myself in regards to this). Some like contemporary or fantasy best. Now, there's nothing wrong with branching out, but a comfort zone is a fair thing to stick to and, when I recommend books, I like to think about that and tailor my recommendations. (Which is what makes me an awesome bookseller, if I'm being honest and not modest.)

The problem with all of this sensical stuff I'm saying is that, sometimes, when I recommend to book I absolutely love to my friends, I sometimes find myself feeling really nervous. (This obviously doesn't happen to me when I recommend books in the store to total strangers - just to my friends.) 

I think this happens because I like my friends and they respect my bookish tastes and my favorite books are kind of like my favorite children and if my friends (whom I love) and my favorite children (also whom I love) don't get along, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR ME AS A PERSON AND BOOK LOVER?

I know that sounds dramatic, but this is honestly what goes on in my head whenever a friend (especially a bookish friend) asks me for a recommendation. Or whether or not they'd like a book I reviewed on my blog. Specific examples include: When I told Debby she should read Ferryman by Claire McFall and then I changed and unchanged my mind a million times before she was just like "I'M GONNA GET IT JUST HUSH YOU CRAZY WOMAN." (She didn't yell, that was just me being dramatic again.) And then there was the time I harassed Betty until she picked up Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and then she made it her book club pick and I was like "I CAN'T HANDLE THIS PRESSURE I JUST CAN'T YOU ALL HAVE TO READ IT AND LOVE IT OR MY BRAIN WILL IMPLODE."

Although, I'm pretty sure Betty nor any of the book club ladies knew my brain was about to implode, so here's that reveal.

I don't know. I guess I'm kinda crazy about this. Unless I'm not. I just hate the idea of someone I like hating something I love. Obviously I'd never recommend a book I love to a person I like if they think I they won't like it. Like that time my friend had nothing to read and my only spare book was Eleanor & Park but I knew she wouldn't like it and then she read it in one night and was like: "That was cute, I guess. Not a waste of time, but I wouldn't have picked it up myself, nor would I read it again." Which is totally fair, it's not her jam. But inwardly I was kind of just like: "Butbutbutbutbutbutbutbut ELEANOR. PARK." Because my insides are totally coherent. 

So tell me. Are my insides even a little coherent? Do you ever have this fear or are you totally confident about your recommendations all the time and I'm just an absurd human being who should seek help?