now that i’ve embraced (and publicly so) my love of YA, i find myself often being asked for recommendations. like elizabeth, i find the pressure somewhat daunting. and since i know a lot of you won’t click on that link, i’m going to copy and paste because i agree with a lot of what she says:
“So the official book for October’s reading was my responsibility, and, you guys? I almost caved under the pressure. I do not like choosing books for other people unless I know them REALLY REALLY well. That means the only people I don’t majorly stress over when I’m asked to recommend books are my mom and my best friend. That’s it. And “don’t majorly stress over” can be translated into “I’m only mildly anxious.” And since all of you are readers, I’m sure you know how often people assume that all books are equal opportunity good, and that you, as a reader, must know which ones are the good ones and can share that secret with them so that they don’t have to waste their time or something, sorting through all the other books until they stumble across those gems. In other words: I get lots of requests to recommend stuff. And it is total torture.
In my opinion, books are like presents. Everyone likes a good present, right? The classics are usually like those educational presents that your great aunt gets you for Christmas. I mean, yeah, it’s probably good for you, and you’ll likely end up appreciating the learning experience or whatever, but they’re rarely truly fun. Science fiction is like those tech gifts that always end up on those magazine lists adamantly declaring that they’re the must-have for men, despite the fact that there’s no reason women wouldn’t like them too (and often do), whether it’s a GPS or Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Searched (the lovely story about a delightful young girl who grows up to become a spaceship). And romance novels therefore have to be the generic “girl” gifts of nice smelling soaps, either bland, nice enough, and ubiquitous, like a Danielle Steele novel, or delightfully, unexpectedly rich, the fancy chocolate of “girl” gifts: J.D. Robb. I’m going to go with J.D. Robb over Nora for the fancy chocolate because I think Eve and Roarke are just as likely to appeal to guys as Godiva is. The key is picking what you know that specific person will appreciate and making sure you label all the boxes correctly. I mean, your brother is probably less likely to appreciate that Mary Engelbreit pressure cooker, and your mom likely won’t get as much use out of that book on So Gross! facts, you know?
So, back to the book club, and the daunting task of choosing something for everyone to read. Of course everyone reassured me multiple times that this is about expanding our horizons and you should never try to pick something that everyone will like, and that you should just try to choose something that you think everyone should be exposed to, and of course I promptly ignored that advice because what is this, school? This is supposed to be fun. I was all set to choose Robin D. Owens’ Heart Fate when one club member mentioned that she doesn’t enjoy reading any graphic love scenes, so I double checked, and the love scenes were a touch more graphic than I remember, so I nixed that idea. Though it’s a delightful book, for anyone who really likes a slightly different romance novel, with some unexpected depth to the story. That particular series is fun, though you don’t have to read them all to get what’s going on, but that book in particular stood out for me.
So now that you guys all have context for why I chose what I chose, and since reading is all about context, I felt compelled to share. You’re welcome.”
i can usually only remember the BIG, BOOM, I HEARTED IT books off the top of my head at a moment’s notice. it’s a shame because this is the chance to rave about the lesser know, smaller, yet just as charming books. although, that type of recommendation require a knowledge of the person you’re suggesting books to. although, on the other hand, when people ask me for my opinion, it’s a chance for me to spread YA love and i’ve got plenty of that to go around.
and you know what? it’s really fun when someone comes back to you after they’ve read what you suggested and you can gush about it. like last month, a coworker walked into my office with her tween daughter who was carrying CATCHING FIRE.
coworker: i had to bring R by and tell you that your recommendation was spot on.
(bear in mind that despite my insistence that it was appropriate for her age, coworker didn’t like the sound of HUNGER GAMES and so declined that recommendation. i followed it up with a different choice, which i can’t recall at the moment, but see, the lure of HG and CG and MJ hits everyone, even if you try to run away from it. *cough* linda *cough*)
me: *smiles* *nods*
coworker: R found the books on her own and is devouring them, so i should have listened to you. in fact, i think i’m going to start reading the series too.
me: *smiles* *nods*
so i’m going to revise my stance on recommendations. go ahead, ask away! leave a comment at the beep. (i can’t promise i’ll be as amazing as michelle hodkin, but i’ll try.)