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.
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!