Real Talk: Book Pushing

Posted July 28, 2017 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Features / 24 Comments

Real Talk is an original feature here at Girl in the Pages where I’ll discuss random things that come across my mind in an honest and sometimes spontaneous manner. It may be about books, blogging, life, or anything else!

I’ve noticed something.

The second I tell someone I am a reader or that I like to read, it’s like it opens an immediate floodgate for them to list all of the books you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY have to read. Right. This. Instant. I’m not talking about interacting with other people in the community, where book recommendations are a given and everyone knows everyone else is constantly being crushed under the weight of their TBRs. I’m talking about “normal” people, people who don’t devote as much time to reading and talking about books as if it’s a part time job, people who are more “casual” readers. I don’t tell many people IRL that I have a book blog, but I definitely mention that I like to read because it’s a big part of who I am. And in so many instances, I’ve had people immediately give me long winded explanations about why I have to read their favorite book ASAP.

Now, I don’t mean to come off as a negative Nancy- I always appreciate a good book recommendation and am happy to add it to my TBR if it suits my taste. However, often times the books being recommended to me are not ones that I’d have an interest in reading, and people then get upset when I DON’T take them up on their recommendation (even when it’s pretty obvious that the genre of book they’re rec’ing is not in my wheelhouse- such as adult horror/violent dystopian/non-fiction, etc.) They can also get a little aggressive about getting the book into my hands- I’ve literally had people send me e-books without my asking with the expectation that I’m going to read it right away once it pops up in my inbox. I’ve had friends (ones who knew about my blog) get super upset when I didn’t read the book the recommended, to the point where they would ask me every single time I talked if I had read the book. Now, I definitely understand how wonderful it is to find a book you love and desperately want to share those feelings with others who have read it- I mean, that’s one of the core motivations for many to join the book blogging community. However, I think a lot of people, especially non-bloggers, don’t understand that book bloggers often DON’T have the luxury of picking up whatever book they want to on a whim- there’s ARCs to prioritize, blog features that necessitate reading a certain book, book clubs, etc. that heavily influence many bloggers’ and readers’ TBRs, and there’s often not a lot of flexibility to throw a random book in there.

That’s not to say that I have no received some wonderful unsolicited book recommendations. One of my closest friends and mentors is much more in touch with politics than I am, and has recommended- and gifted me- some wonderful books that have really touched and impacted me, that I may not have thought to pick up myself! She also never pressures me to read anything right away- she knows I’ll get to it when I’m ready. It’s not the book recommendations I grow wary of- it’s the pressure of when people expect you to read those recommendations, and the constant worry that it’s going to turn into a personal insult if you don’t. Therefore I try not to push books onto people with the expectation that they read it ASAP or that they prioritize it over other things- I’m just thrilled when someone DOES read a book I love.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you ever had someone push a book onto you that wasn’t your style, or that you didn’t have time to read? Do you find people don’t understand why you can’t drop our TBR schedule to read a certain book, or get upset when you don’t read something they suggest? When people find out you like to read do they just assume you have time to read ALL THE THINGS? Let me know in the comments!

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24 responses to “Real Talk: Book Pushing

  1. Haha this is such a thing! I’ll be talking with someone and mention that I like to read. They’ll ask what I read and I’ll reply that I mostly read YA. Then, without fail, they’ll say, “Oh cool, have you read [not a YA title]?” and go into a long-winded explanation about how I need to read it. Like…every once in a while I WILL read a non-YA title, but not very often and only if I find it very, VERY intriguing.

    • So true! I feel like people just gloss over what you say about your specific reading habits and just hear the “I like to read” part and use you as a sounding board for their recommendations! It also makes me feel bad for them sometimes though because it can seem like maybe they don’t have anyone else in their life to talk to about reading? But it’s also like I would never read that in a million years so….

  2. I’ve definitely been recommended books that I had no intention of reading by people I don’t even know very well, but nobody has ever that aggressively tried to get me to read before. My sister-in-law got me a book for Christmas one year that I didn’t get around to for months, and she didn’t even ask about it once.

    • Right? It’s like recommending a book surpasses certain boundaries that people wouldn’t cross when recommending, say, a movie or restaurant. Maybe it’s because there’s less of an every day community for them to discuss their reading tastes with? Was the book your sister got you something you’d considered reading, or was it totally random?

  3. Yep this is such a thing! I have gotten some really great recommendations, but I also get some crazy out there books that I wouldn’t consider reading.

  4. I’ve been thinking about this lately because it happens to me all the time! I’m a librarian, so books of every genre and subject imaginable pass through my hands daily. Many of my patrons have never thought about the fact that different people have different tastes. I’m constantly receiving recommendations for books and TV shows that I’d never touch in a million years. The one time I actually picked up a patron recommendation, I absolutely hated it. I have a couple of trusted reader friends whose recommendations I follow in a heartbeat, but aside from that, don’t go beyond my own never-ending TBR list.

    • Oh, that’s such an interesting perspective! I always assumed librarians are people who are asked for recommendations a lot, but not the other way around! I can now imagine you receive a lot of unsolicited recommendations. I’m sorry to hear that you tried a patron recommendation and it ended up working out for the worst!

  5. Oh god I just nodded my head so vigorously while reading this. YES. It’s horrible sometimes. My boss recommended the nonfic book QUIET (that apparently many people love) a loooong time ago and let me borrow it. It’s been on my shelf for years. She asks periodically and I’m just like I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT BOOK OKAY?? I have to be in a serious mood for nonfiction and usually its a memoir. It’s hard because people mean well of course, but it’s like I really just don’t have time for it.

    My sister even does this to some extent. We talk books CONSTANTLY and she’s always bugging me to read certain things. GIRL I WISH I HAD THE TIME OK?

    Lauren (Bookmark Lit) recently posted: Goodreads Book Tag
    • Oh gosh non fic book recs are hard! I think it’s hard for most people to conceptualize having a schedule for something that’s supposed to be done in one’s “free time” but I’m like if I didn’t have a schedule I’d never get any reading done! I feel like reading is the one thing I really control and it’s my main hobby so I’m super sensitive to deviating away from what I want to read to something that becomes an obligation (I’ve become a TERRIBLE mood reader over the past two years). I’m like sure I’ll take you rec maybe I’ll have time to get to it in 2021 lol.

  6. This has definitely happened to me. Heck even my mom pushes books on me all the time, and sadly they’re not my kind of reads, but she keeps trying! And I’m as diplomatic as possible! She leaves them here though so even if I don’t read them they’re around for a while lol. Same with some friends or acquiantances – you’re right it’s weird if they get upset that you don’t read their recommendation like ASAP!

    I always get “what exactly do you do on your blog” even though I’ve explained it like a gajillion times ha ha. But at least they’re interested… 🙂

    • Hahaha that’s hilarious! I’m almost the opposite- when I was little I’d always gift my parents books for holidays/birthdays, but after a few years of them sitting unread on shelves I learned my lesson! Yes, sometimes when I (rarely) do tell people that I have a blog, I think it’s hard for them to really conceptualize what it’s about. I mainly stick to just explaining it as posting book reviews (but some people certainly think I’m crazy to do that for fun lol!)

  7. I’m a pretty big book pusher. I’ll even push books on people IRL who don’t normally read, because I seem to have a weird addiction of trying to turn people into readers, and trying to find that ONE book that will do it. I have been known to buy people books I think they’ll like too, but being a busy book blogger, I don’t keep checking if they’ve read it, or when, or ask what they thought of it. I just put it in their hands and see what happens. I think the more someone is pushed, the more likely they are to not want to read something, so by putting it in their path, it’s there for them if they choose to get to it! R xx

    Rachel recently posted: The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag!
    • You’re definitely lucky! I’ve literally had someone make me give them my email so they could send me a free book via Audible (one I would never read) and I think it might have wasted my once in a lifetime free Audible credit (or however that works). I just feel so bad telling people no because I understand what it’s like to be so passionate about a book!

  8. YES YES YES. My roommate freshman year was an English major and kept telling me when and what I should read and definitely side-eyed all the YA books in our room. But when she would bring up a book I’d already read and didn’t like, she was very insistent that I was wrong and my opinion was dumb. haha Needless to say, we didn’t get along, but I get this on so many levels.

    Monica @ Tomes Project recently posted: Used Bookstores Are My Weakness | Q2 Book Haul
    • UGH I hate that! I was an English major too but I definitely kept the types of books I liked on the DL because the other English majors were all pretty snobby about what they read honestly. I did my senior thesis on Harry Potter and I can tell that some other majors probably thought it was silly but I had a BLAST writing it. I loved the more “serious” stuff I read for my major, but I also then loved comparing that back to the YA and children’s books that I love!

  9. I know this feel. A coworker at my old job used to do this all time time and bring me the books to let me borrow them! I’d feel so bad because I had no interest and had other books I wanted to prioritize more. So that’s always awkward. Especially when they constantly bring it up! On the flipside, another coworker let me borrow Mockingjay because I hadn’t read it yet but she wasn’t pushy about it. But yeah, I always feel bad when they’re being so nice because they love reading too but it’s like: you should see my list! No time for others haha.

    Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle recently posted: The Book Cake Tag
    • That’s the worst! It’s so much harder to turn something like that down when someone is physically handing something to you and putting you on the spot like that! I also admit I hate when people know I like to read and then ask to borrow my books…swapping books with someone I trust is one thing, but letting a random acquaintance borrow one of my books makes me pretty uncomfortable!

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