Monday, 29 March 2010

Could you recommend a book ?

Recommendations. Can you resist them ?
I think I have an innate inability to NOT resist when something is recommended to me, no matter who is the recommender. Well, not everything. Films, TV programmes, music, restaurants, holiday destinations, shops – with these I can listen to someone extolling the virtues of the item or place in question then forget about what they have said, but with books … no chance. Suggest that I would like a particular book or that you like it yourself, and regardless of whether we have anything in common or not, I am likely to seek it out. If not actually buying the book then certainly searching the library for it.

Needless to say this has resulted in me reading and owning a multitude of books that I may not necessarily have chosen myself, but feel obliged to read because someone suggested it. Of course, sometimes this is a great blessing as I might have otherwise missed out on a great read, but sometimes it seems like a mania that I have.

Amazon (though it’s very useful) often makes things worse. They have daily recommendations for me, supposedly based on what I have bought before. Today, James Kelman, Martin Amis, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh and Monica Ali novels based on me buying “Lanark” by Alasdair Gray. This book hasn’t arrived yet so I am not sure if the style of the writings are the same, the themes similar or if the authors are from the same place or what. I know I have never read Martin Amis or Irvine Welsh at all. I have read and own Monica Ali books – but I didn’t get them from Amazon so how do they know? Them recommending a book by the same author as one that I have bought from them makes sense; I can see the logic there. But I have been known to buy a book for a relative and their taste in reading is certainly not mine.
Never mind. At least it saves me from thinking too much on what I could read next. I usually have about four books “on the go” at once, so the recommendations list does get used.

Is anyone else like this? And if so, could you recommend a book on the subject ?

7 comments:

Julie Broom said...

LOL! I've just bought a book this week because one of my friends thought I might like it. It's the 'Heart of London' by Monica Dickens. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned the title in case the temptation is too much for you ;-)

Lexia said...

Thanks, Julie. "The Heart of London" ? Sounds great ! I am ordering it this very minute - honestly ! :)

Alan said...

This is a very interesting blog and so i like to visit your blog again and again. Keep it up.

Alan

http://holidaydestinationinindia.blogspot.com

Lexia said...

Thanks for the comment Alan. Please keep visiting.

Ray said...

Lanark is a fine book! One of my all time favorites. 1982 Janine is also pretty good.

Amis jnr et al are not in the same class.

If I were Amazon, and on the basis that you had bought Lanark, I'd been tempting you with Sam Beckett, Joyce's Ulysses, Vonnegut, Donleavy's Ginger Man, and so as not to forget the Scots, Alexander Trocchi, and yes, maybe even Irvine Welsh. (I have not read anything by Kelman, presumably recommended because he is a scot).

Lexia said...

Hello Ray. Thanks for your post. I have my copy of Lanark now - it's just waiting it's turn to be started!
Your recommendations : Beckett, absolutely. Stuff that never really goes anywhere - brilliant.
Ullyses - not really. Too long and drawn out but I appreciate the theme.As for your other suggestions, well... off I go to Google !
(have just checked out your blog. Get blogging again, why don't you ?)

Julie Broom said...

I must get a copy of 1982 Janine - it's the authors own personal favourite of his works.