The Risk of Recommendation

I am not the avid reader I used to be, but I still try my best to keep up. I have an audio book in my car at all times, I have a bath book (which will probably be ignored until autumn at this point), and a bedside table book. Since I no longer race through many a novel, and I’ve recently decided to finish what I begin, I try to be very selective with where I invest my reading time. That’s why I truly value a personal recommendation.

A close friend mentioned how she was losing sleep because she was reading a book she couldn’t put down. She couldn’t wait to finish! She was really into this thriller, so I added it to my Amazon basket, sight unseen, blurb unread.

Another trusted reader LOVED a book so much, she let me borrow her Kindle to read it. She warned me of one particularly ludicrous event but said that other than that, it kept her riveted and she was genuinely satisfied and surprised by the ending.

Yes, these are the two books referenced in last week’s review. I value the sources of these opinions and I’m glad I read their selections. Would I urge others to read them? Sure, but not with the same intensity.

Of course, the worst is when I get a glowing report on what turns out to be a sensory-challenging piece of rubbish that wastes my time and makes me consider the credibility of the glowing reporter.

This is the associated risk of recommendations.

Luckily, it rarely happens. I’ve learned whose opinions to trust, and tend to benefit-of-the-doubt those who’ve recommended in error.

I appreciate when someone I know gives me a first-hand referral of something they have tried and loved. A book, a movie, a restaurant, etc. I prefer to read anonymous reviews after I have experienced a thing for myself. I want to know why someone liked it, why someone didn’t, and whether or not they would encourage others to try it. I find a lot of value in these after-the-fact comments. Sometimes I like the thing better after having read another’s opinion on it. Sometimes I like it less. Either way, I gain insight into my own interpretations and the value of the occurrence.

What are your thoughts on reviews and recommendations? What does it take for you to endorse a book, movie, restaurant, etc? Who do you listen to when trying new things?

About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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