I’m very picky about what I read. I do so much of it that it’s almost like a second job, and I expend an enormous amount of energy on it even outside the actual flipping of the pages. It’s lucky that I’m usually the one being asked for recommendations, because most people don’t realize just how much they’re asking when they give me a book to read.
I spend a lot of time on Goodreads, book blogs, library catalogs, and the Pinterest boards I use to keep track of which of my libraries have which books in their collections. I usually have a reading challenge or theme going, as well as a pretty specific idea of which exact books from my TBR list are coming up next—affected by, among other factors, library due dates and whether or not something has a hold on it that will prevent me from renewing it—so basically, when someone recommends a book to me, it requires a lot of adjustment to fit in. Depending on who the recommendation comes from, how much I trust their taste, where I am in my TBR, and how interesting the book actually looks to me, I’ll decide whether or not to give it a shot. The upside is that because I vet pretty thoroughly, I usually end up with something great.
Abarat, by Clive Barker—my brother, who was in junior high at the time, and an incredible pest who would never let up insisting on something until you either gave in or died. But I did like this, so it worked out. I meant to read the second book, but I still haven’t and now it’s been six years.
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison—my college roommates who were taking a course in YA literature. I still laugh my ass off every time I read them, and they come up relatively frequently on my book lists.
Running with the Demon, by Terry Brooks—Mike. Recommendations work the best when you know you never would have come across it on your own, and that was the case here. I like fantasy, but I tend to notice either women authors or those really massive high fantasy series like The Wheel of Time. This is more of a contemporary fantasy with a very interesting plot, and I really enjoyed it.
Storm Front, by Jim Butcher—also Mike. It was really fun, and I ended up breezing my way through another thirteen books in the series.
Wicked, by Gregory Maguire—my sister. Another one I know I wouldn’t have read on my own (at least not for a long, long time) and I was so glad to have done it. I was surprised by how much I liked it.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender—my friend Lori. I really don’t remember much except that it was sad.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer—my former college roommate. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it now, because I generally avoid anything to do with 9/11. I know I loved this at the time, but I don’t know (because of how terrible my memory is for books, and how mistrustful I am of my own past opinions) if I would still feel the same way now.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini—my friend Meredith. This is a stunning, painful book. Beautifully written.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski—also Meredith. I knew nothing about it going in, just that she loved it, and that ended up being the best way for me to start out.
High School Debut, by Kazune Kawahara—a (now former) coworker. I probably wouldn’t have read past volume one if I hadn’t been doing it on someone’s recommendation, but by volume two I already liked it (and that’s what helped me realize that with manga, you really have to try at least two volumes before you can know how you feel about the series).
The Girl in the Road, by Monica Byrne—a current coworker. My relationship with this book is one of the most complicated I think I’ve ever had, but even if I can’t be sure whether or not I like it, I recommend it absolutely without hesitation. Regardless of how I feel about the ending, everything along the way was worth it.
Check out Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.