For Valentine’s Day, I participated in a blind book date at work—a glorified book recommendations party. We all brought in a book that was covered with thick paper, with a few bullet points describing the genre and major “teaser” points. (I brought In Real Life, in case you were wondering.)
I picked up a book that said something about a “strong cyborg female lead” and you know that was all I needed to know! It was different from my usual fantasy kick, but close enough to home base that I knew it would be a fun read.
Turns out, it was this book:
I remember seeing this book when it came out way-back-when but totally didn’t give it a chance because of that dumb red shoe. Younger-me thought, “Ugh, you hate Cinderella retellings; so overdone. This is too girly, even for me.”
It totally was a case of judging a book by its cover because turns out it took little effort to get sucked in and obsessed with the main character (who is a strong cyborg female character to boot) and the rest of the freaking series. I finished the book, and as an author that hopes to write smart fairy tale retellings someday, I bemoaned, “Why can’t I write like her??”
Just think: with great book recommendations comes great responsibilities. It’s a blessing to be surrounded by people who know what I like and don’t resort to the “oh, you’re a writer therefore any book recommendation will work for you.”
To me, recommending a book is one of my Love Languages. It’s saying, “I want what’s best for you. I don’t want you to struggle through literature that does nothing for you. I want you to be happy with something that I know will speak to you.”
Another benefit of being a good book recommender is being loyal to the author. My world opened once we started blogging about books, because it turns out there are a lot of talented writers out there that go unnoticed. If you read a great book by an indie author, save the world and recommend it to someone who will love that book. Being an author is often a small business and so every recommendation makes people on both sides happy.
Case in point: friends tell friends to read good books. If you want to inspire your friends and make their day, then refer a book to them that will fill a void in their lives. I know that I’m the reader and writer I am thanks to the books introduced to me by friends, family members, and teachers.
To be true to our own advice, here are the books we almost always recommend to good friends:
- Graceling by Krishtin Cashore (along with the rest of the trilogy)
- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
- Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
- The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (plus the whole series)
- The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook
- Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan
- The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
- Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
- and the follow up trilogy beginning with Alloy of Law
- Red Shirts by John Scalzi
- Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
What’s your go-to book that you recommend to all your friends? Besides the one you’ve written, of course! What’s been your favorite book that someone suggested to you? Share please!