Friend book recommendations: Love ’em or hate ’em?

How do you feel about reading friends’ recommendations? Generally, I’ve had only great experiences with it. I love hearing what other people are reading and adding another friend-approved title to my TBR stack. I find that a recommendation from a trusted friend (or bookseller) is worth more than a hundred positive reviews in respected national publications.

However, there are those people whose tastes are just so far removed from your own that reading their recommendations becomes a dreaded chore. My friend Jennifer was lamenting having had just such a friend once, saying that all her dread and feelings of obligation, combined with the knowledge that she’d not even enjoy the book when she got around to reading it, would put her in a kind of depression. (This was just after she’d loaned me two books, which by the way, I am over the moon about reading.) The irony is, I’ve probably been that kind of friend to many of you at one time or another. Please allow me to officially apologize for having ever persuaded you so unforgivably into reading a book that you did not enjoy or that wasted your time. Really and truly. That sucks.

That’s all just to say, here are two books, recommended by a friend, that I can’t wait to read. Thanks Jennifer!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley: In Alan Bradley’s debut mystery, Flavia de Luce is an 11 year-old aspiring chemist turned detective when she watches a man take his dying breaths in the cucumber patch outside the English mansion her family calls home. Everyone has raved about the protagonist’s lively narration and her pure intellectual curiosity.

There Is No Me Without You is the true story of Haregewoin Tefarra, a middle-aged Ethiopian woman of modest means whose home has become a refuge for hundreds of children orphaned by AIDS.” Greene is an Atlanta-based writer whose won many awards for her journalism. I get the impression that most people who read her work are inspired to sell their worldly possessions and join some worthy cause, adopt dozens of orphaned children, or, at the very least, completely re-examine their lives. I’m approaching this book with much excitement and not undo apprehension.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with friend’s book recommendations: the good, the bad and the ugly. How do you tell a friend “thanks, but no thanks?”

Also, what have you read recently that you couldn’t put down?

  1. lnisbet said:

    It’s always bittersweet for me when friends recommend books, mostly because of my book-snobbish tendencies. As much as I want to like the books they lend to me, I find our extreme difference in tastes becomes an issue more often than not. You can only suffer through so many shopaholic sagas, the line has to be drawn somewhere! lol

    That being said, I always love getting recommendations from fellow book-bloggers :P

  2. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie looks really good! I’ll have to add that to my to read list! :)

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