Discussion: Should You Recommend “Meh” Books?

Posted November 10, 2016 by Jamie in Discussions // 4 Comments

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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.

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Do you recommend “meh” books? Do you disclaimer them to the people you recommend?

4 responses to “Discussion: Should You Recommend “Meh” Books?

  1. If I think a book is a “meh” book, I reflect that in my review and also write that the book didn’t wow me but it was okay. When it comes to friends, if I wasn’t a huge fan I’ll say it wasn’t for me but they might like it. It really depends on which book we’re talking about though.

    Great post, thanks for sharing!
    ~Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

  2. I definitely think it’s ok to recommend meh books. Like you said, books are so subjective, and what I feel meh about, someone else might love. I think I do kind of the same as you—if I’m recommending it personally, I’ll give a little disclaimer to tell them I didn’t love it for X reason or something, but they might, whereas if it’s a broad rec, I may or may add a disclaimer, depending on the situation. And if I do, I might simply say the book wasn’t quite to my taste, but other people might like it. I feel like that doesn’t influence opinions too much, but it also avoids the hype thing.

  3. I still recommend books I thought were meh because someone else may love it even if I didn’t. It’s not my choice to tell someone they shouldn’t read something simply because I didn’t. That’s not fair to them. I also don’t think it’s okay that someone simply won’t read a book because someone else doesn’t like it. I say, if you want to read the book, do it! You may be surprised and actually end up loving it. :3

    Happy Reading!

    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

  4. I definitely still recommend “meh” books. For me, anything above 3 stars is a recommendation, even if you did not love everything about the book. I still like to push these books because they were not terrible. If I really know someone’s taste in books, then like you said, I can recommend them a book that was “meh” for me and would probably be a “wow” for them.

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