"You just have to read this book…"

Barbara Vey -- April 13th, 2007

I received a call from my 24 year old son, Andrew,  yesterday.  He was visiting with a friend in St. Louis and while at a book store, the friend insisted he buy World War Z:  An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks.  Of course my first question was, "Does it have any words?"  His response,  "There aren't even any pictures."   This is a standing joke as Andrew (an artist) insists the best books are graphic novels (the total sum of his book collection).  He is forever trying to get me to read them.  I'm holding out for Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters in a graphic novel.   (Please, please, please….sigh)

Just before this conversation, I was having coffee with a friend who was lamenting the fact that people kept insisting she read books that she had no interest in.  She tended to get the book and read it, even though it's torture for her.  There was no way she would hurt anyone's feelings.  She wanted to know how I handled this situation. 

I run into this all the time because I tend to hang out in libraries and book stores along with the fact that most of my conversations with my friends are about books.  Just because I would rather read than do anything else (especially cooking, cleaning, shopping), does not mean I like to read everything.  They just looooved the book and now you just haaave to read it.  (Of course, I may have said this once or twice, but the book I was talking about was really good)

So how do we handle the well-intentioned friend who insists you read the Divorcee's Handbook after you just served the jerk with papers or the sweetheart who tells you how great you look and then hands you a copy of Dr. Phil's weight loss book or the questionable friend who's thrilled about how happy you are and lends you her copy of Oprah's latest depressing selection. 

My solution is to:

1.  Say thanks (sincerely) and write down the title/author.  Don't take the book, you probably won't read it anyway and they will eventually want it back. 

2.  Talk about their book and see if you can find some common ground and maybe pick a book you'll both enjoy.

3.  Offer them a book you love that you know they'll hate and then you'll be even.

4.  Just read the darn thing…who knows, you may like it.

Bottom line:  Be thankful you have friends

                    

25 thoughts on “"You just have to read this book…"

  1. RevDeb

    Lovely Barb – just lovely and as always a good sense of humor (which is so needed in life) I like your points and as one who receives these book recommendations often – I will take it to heart! Thanks!

  2. Katy

    Oh, I’m that guy!!!!!!! I am forever telling people to read the books I love. And I always feel a little down when they don’t feel the same way as me about them. But we are still friends!

  3. Rika

    Barb, love your idea’s too. That’s some pretty good advice. And it made me LOL. ;o) I don’t push books down people and funny enough its not done to me often. I normally recommend often but don’t insist. There is a feeling we each get from reading books. Sometimes we just want the whole world to feel the excitement we did. Great blog!

  4. Marie

    Rika, I agree sometimes a book has touched you greatly, you feel the need to spread the word.My motto:When people look at you blankly , stop talking and move on to another subject.

  5. CHRISTINE

    I tend to pass along books to my niece since we have similiar tastes but invariably I will have enjoyed a book she thought was so boring she couldn’t finish it. All I can do is laugh. Another reasonable excuse is “My stack of ‘to-be’reads’ is about to tumble down. I really have to concentrate on what’s already there!” The hint’s usually taken. And I don’t know if you crossover from Dark-Hunter to Anita Blake, but the graphic novel version is hot.

  6. Meljean

    I love this advice — a very smooth way to avoid any awkwardness. (And count me in as someone who wants to see the DH series in graphic novel form.) I’ve seen sample pages of the Anita Blake series — it looked fantastic. I’ve just been waiting for them to be collected in a big trade paperback.

  7. Pam

    I’ve been trying to read the books suggested by my 26 year old daughter. Usually I can’t get into it at first because it is so different from what I like to read. But after awhile it starts to grow on me, and then it turns out to be a great book.

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