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 ?