An interesting concept when you think about it. Why would someone recommend a book they haven’t read themselves? Wouldn’t that be misleading? And what is the basis for their recommendation?
As a librarian I get asked for recommendations all the time. I even am asked by family and friends what some good books are because outside of work everyone knows how much of a giant book nerd I am. The thing is though, depending on their interests, I might not always be able to recommend a book I’ve read myself. In that case, I either have to hand the patron over to one of my co-workers who does read in that genre or base a recommendation off what I do know.
Take historical fiction for example. I don’t read it at all. However, my best friend does, so I will often make recommendations for historical fiction novels based off what my best friend has read. Or for some other categories, like adult crime or horror, I’ll base recommendations off of what my other friends/family/co-workers have enjoyed. Is this wrong at all? No, I don’t think so. I’m basing my suggestions off books that have been read by people I know and trust, which is no different than me recommending them myself… in my opinion anyway.
In the past I’ve used recommendations from my co-workers and given them to my best friend, who has ended up loving every single suggestion. Just as well, I’ve used the books she’s enjoyed and recommended them to patrons with similar results.
The thing is, whether I recommend a book based off of what I have read or someone I trust has read, it doesn’t guarantee the person I recommend the book to will like it. We all have different tastes and what one person loves, another will hate. That’s just how it works. So I think making recommendations based off of what I know my family, friends, and co-workers like isn’t a bad thing and I’ve never gotten any backlash for saying, “Well, I don’t read historical fiction, but these are some books my best friend loves…”
So what do you think? Is making recommendations based off of others’ opinions a bad thing? Do you ever recommend books that you haven’t read, but someone close to you has?