book recommendations

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.)


8 thoughts on “book recommendations”

  1. Ha! I’ve almost forgiven y’all for making me read HG, but only because it was really good. ;)

    But I still haven’t forgiven Intense Debate for losing all the comments on so many of my posts. Grrr. :(

    1. i know! HG is the book of all books. i’m obsessed, so much so that i was scared to hear it was being made into a movie because i love the book so much, i figured the movie wouldn’t do it justice. but of course, with all the hoopla surrounding the casting and filming and whatnot, i’ve gotten sucked back into the arena.

      it is annoying that intense debate and blogger can’t play nicely together. perhaps you should sic ciel on them.

  2. You’ve recommended several books to me that I’ve loved! So please don’t stop! Oh, and remember how I asked you to start rating everything you’re reading, publicly, for the rest of us? I still mean it!

    1. you’re one of the people i know well enough to know what type of book you’ll like, so i have no problem recommending them to you. :)

      also, yes, i know. my reading (and sadly, writing) habits of late have dropped off the map. i hope to ramp it up again in the summer. and maybe i’ll start adding a little blip to the end of each post with what i’ve just finished reading/my brief opinion of it.

  3. I’m pretty sure every book you’ve recommend me I’ve fallen in love with. Including your attempt to trip me up with Jellicoe Road :) (and i may need another recommendation for our flight across the Atlantic :)

    1. you’re also someone whose tastes i know….and yes, i totally tried to trick you with JELLICOE ROAD, but that plan backfired. or, well, i guess it worked since now i know i HAVE to read it. i have it out from the library, but if you’ve got it on the kindle, perhaps i’ll snag it from you at some point on the trip.

      and yes, are you around tomorrow night? we need to discuss our book options for the trip. i’m planning to bring 4 and if you load up the kindle, we should be all set for planes, trains, and automobile rides.

      1. maybe if you send me gift cards to load up said kindle… :) i have 26 books and i will not be getting any new ones since i have spent all my money. sadly :( but mom just bought a kindle so maybe she’ll buy us books? :) but yes we do need to collaborate soon :)

        1. you, my little college student, have more dollars than i do. you just need to learn how to work the parental units. ;)

          WHAT? mom got a kindle?? she’s so hip. i can’t stand it. she always was with it — i think we have YOU to thank for that. she has to know how to use all kinds of technology to keep up with you.

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