We love talking with you guys about books here at BAMF but some times we need to go a little further than just reviewing books and interviewing authors. Thus, Discussion Posts! We may give you some advice, tell you about something you may not know, and generally talk about the bookish world as a whole. The idea is to generate conversation around a topic so that you can think critically about it — or just think about it in general! Be sure to comment with your thoughts!
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Should You Recommend “Meh” Books?
I love recommending books. I probably send Dani ten book recommendations on Goodreads a week. These are based off of summaries, but I wrote posts on Queen of the Bookshelves recommending books that were of a specific genre (Fantasy, Science Fiction). And I am always saying “You should read THIS BOOK if you like the one you’re reading!” I mean, it’s the reason we have Convince Me To Read Reviews.
But what I get hung up on about is whether or not I should recommend the “meh” books. The ones that were alright but don’t leave me with a book hangover or change an aspect of my personality. The ones that are just OK but don’t leave me thinking about the characters after. The ones I don’t reminisce about reading months after I’ve completed them, but rather the ones I think “oh man, I read this??”
What should I do with those books?
I, personally, still recommend “meh” books to people. However, if I am recommending it to a specific person, I either have to really know their taste in books well or add on a disclaimer saying “You will like this but I didn’t like this part of it.” If I am recommending a “meh” book in broad discussion post, I don’t mention the fact that I didn’t enjoy it that much. This is because I don’t want to influence how people perceive the book before they have a chance to read it. Just because I didn’t like a book, doesn’t mean someone else won’t.
I feel like if we only talked about the books we all really liked or really didn’t like, there would be a lot of forgotten books. For example, the first book in the Falling Kingdoms series, FALLING KINGDOMS, is a “meh” book, but the rest of the series is SO good that I still recommend that people read the first book even though it is “meh.”
I think the problem is when you sell a book as being ah-mazing, even though you thought it was meh, because that creates hype and then it’s being thought of as something more in the other person’s mind and they are let down by the fact that it wasn’t that good. This could cause people not to trust you and your thoughts on books. And do you really want that? I would hate to think that people didn’t trust my opinions on books. You should just always be honest when you’re recommending a book to someone. Tell them that you didn’t like it that much, but you think they would enjoy it for whatever reason. Or show off your star rating of a book when recommending it on a broad scheme. Just ensure that you are as transparent and open as possible.
I will continue to recommend “meh” books. Just because a book is meh to me doesn’t mean it won’t be someone else’s 5 star read.