How often do you recommend books to others, and who do you recommend them to? Do you only recommend books to your “reading friends” or to anyone you think might find the book interesting? What does it take for a book to make it to your ‘recommendation’ list?
Other than what people may gather from my reviews or best of the year lists, I generally don’t make recommendations. I would say the furtherest I go is to suggest or mention to friends and co-workers books I recently read or am currently reading. It is unusual for me, though, to recommend someone buy or read a book. I think that stems from the fact that I view reading tastes as highly individual and personal. Thus, it is the very rare book that strikes me to the point I recommend someone read it. In fact, even among my desert island books, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried might be the only two I would recommend to almost anybody.
I believe the others may require knowledge of the reader’s tastes and inclinations. For example, while I think Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow is quite literary, the fact it is science fiction-based turns too many people off. I may mention it if people ask about reading something that is science fiction but personal predilections, particularly toward genre fiction, leave us all with blinders at times.
Could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius.