I am surrounded by books. I travel with them, I sleep with them, I snack with them. There are books on my bedside table, books on the side table in the living room, books on shelves, books on counters, books in my car. If you are in my home, you will see books everywhere you look. They are constant companions, they suit any mood. Books are my preferred form of entertainment.
I can tell you a lot of things about books: how they’re bound, what they’re worth, why they are important. I am always reading something – usually several somethings – and, if I’m in the proper mood, will be happy to answer your questions about what that something is, whether I like it, and why.
Recommending something for you to read, however, is a whole ‘nother story.
It is one thing to tell you what I am reading. (Currently: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, Phantom by Jo Nesbo (translated into English), and The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark.)
It is quite another to tell you what to read.
I am often asked for book recommendations. I am constantly surprised by the question. Here’s why:
Without knowing your
- personal tastes and preferences,
- reading history and reading/vocabulary level,
- attention span,
- whether you read for education or entertainment,
- the environment(s) in which you read,
- whether you have access to a lending library, etc…
Well, let’s just say that, for me, making a random recommendation about what you should be reading ranks right up there with telling people which religious cult to join. I’m about as likely to tell people that as I am to tell them what diet they really need to try or which sexual position they absolutely must favor.
It’s just not how I roll.
Yes, there are (extremely rare!) occasions when I give a generalized “everybody could benefit from reading this book” sort of spiel. I even went so far as to put two books on my ‘gift recommendations’ list this past Christmas. However, that was done with a fuckton of forethought as well as the knowledge that the majority of folks accessing that list would – as readers of this blog – respond positively to the sex-positive and body-celebratory titles suggested.
But mostly, I have a really hard time giving book recommendations because, to me, a book recommendation is extremely personal. It’s a bit like giving a gift. (And books make fantastic gifts!) I am not just going to pick something off the shelf and throw it at you just because everyone else is keen on it for five minutes. The Tickle-Me-Elmo Approach doesn’t really work for me.
Likewise, I’m not going to say “You should read this!” about a book *I* am currently reading, just because I happen to find it enjoyable. If you read to escape, have a 6th grade vocabulary level (most people do), and prefer graphic novels in the fantasy genre, books like Monster of God or The Black Count are probably not for you. Just as I wouldn’t recommend the 16-oz ribeye platter to a dedicated vegan or take my 63-yr-old mother shopping at a clothing store that caters to teens, neither would I recommend a Mike Hammer novel to a pacifist or The Story Of O to a 12-yr-old who is curious about sex. The recommendation has to ‘fit’.
If I *know* you, and you ask me to recommend a book, I will ask you a few questions and then possibly throw out a title or an author I think you might enjoy. If I am in a relationship with you, books are something we discuss fairly frequently. I will, in that case, pass along a book for you to read – if and when you feel like it – that I believe you would enjoy. Occasionally, if a fellow blogger is discussing a book they’ve read or an author they appreciate, I may comment in a “you may also like __________” fashion. (Which can be an interesting social experiment. People tend to have very limited ideas of what a ‘sex blogger’ would read or recommend.)
If I don’t know you (and it’s shocking how many people who don’t know me will ask me about books)… Well…
I try to take an Ask Me Anything approach to life. Sex, money, marriage, travel, health, pets, education, community, kink… If I want to know something, I’m not afraid to ask. I try to encourage others to do the same. So go ahead. Ask me anything.
Just don’t ask me for a book recommendation.
A book spine poem, on the other hand…
That, I can do.