One Of The Most Terrifying Things In My Bookish Life…

One of the most terrifying things to me, I’ve learned, is lending someone a book that is an all time favorite or when someone tells me that they are reading a favorite books of mine because of how much I rave about.

I get excited for a few seconds where I get entirely too giddy that they are reading the book and that someone else will realize the GREATNESS AND AMAZINGNESS that this book is. I think of how people will THANK ME for my superb taste in books and they can’t believe they lived their life without reading this book but THEN I, the Book Recommendation Superhero, flew in to save the day. Watch out, Clark Kent. But then this cold-hearted biotch named Reality taps  me on the shoulder and reminds me that “Hey, there’s a good possibility that this person may actually HATE this book.” ERRRR. Wait, what? Oh yeah. In my geeky fantasy I forgot that there is this thing called “differing tastes.” With bated breath, I find myself waiting to hear the verdict. Did they love the book? Will they think I have piss poor taste in books and never trust a single recommendation of mine again?! PLEASEREADITFASTOMG.

But honestly, as dramatic as it might sound, that’s how I feel when I lend someone a favorite book or I know they are reading it because of a recommendation I gave them. I WANT them to love it and feel the same feelings I felt towards it, naturally. I want everyone in the world to sing its praises. Maybe it’s because many of my favorite books I had very personal responses to or the moved me or I really identified to the character so it feels like a part of me? Or maybe I want people to trust my recommendations? Or I want them to feel the same way I felt because it was such a great experience? It’s probably a combination of all of those things but I really do get all anxious when I KNOW someone is reading something because I either lent it to them or recommended it to them.

I’m very aware that everything isn’t for everyone. I can’t understand how my fiance doesn’t really like chocolate or how my sister thinks my music is weird…but I can recognize that everyone has different tastes. I get it.  But I still get super nervous when I’m sharing a FAVORITE book or song or movie with someone because there is that CHANCE that this might be something that won’t like.  I had my best friend read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and she really didn’t like it or “get” it. I felt a little crushed. I did. I thought for sure she’d find it amazing. It’s one of my favorite books. But luckily, she didn’t let that “dud” of a recommendation for her make her reluctant to take my recommendations. Since then she read The Hunger Games and loved it and she read Between Shades of Gray and loved it. YAY ME. It’s always those moments that make my heart happy when someone says, “I’m reading this book because you raved about it!” and then ends up loving it as much as I did and having a similar response to it. It makes me connect to that person more, I think. For example, the lovely Asheley from Into the Hall of Books (a blog you should check out — she reads YA and adult..YAY my kind of girl!) told me she was reading The Bird Sisters, a book that was a favorite read of 2011, and I was SO nervous about that. She ended up LOVING it and had a very strong response to it. It made me feel closer to her, as a reader and friend, to read her thoughts and know where my own head was.

I think that’s the beauty of this community. Sharing books and connecting with others who love them as much as you…even when particular books don’t strike everyone the same way. You KNOW there’s always someone out there who DID love it.

Does this happen to anyone else when you lend a favorite book or know someone is reading it because of you? Or am I just super neurotic? lol

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Andrea @ Cozy Up says:

    I know exactly what you mean, I'm always scared of what people think of a book that I love. I talked non-stop to my friend about The Time Traveler's Wife, so she borrowed it and a week later gave it back to me and told me how she couldn't get into it, I was so disappointed even though I know people have differing tastes. I'm almost scared to recommend books to people in case they hate it!

  2. You are definitely not the only one who feels like this! I especially bite my fingernails when I've given them the book for their birthday or other gift-giving occasion and then have to wait for them to read it… And sometimes it takes forever! I always try to be casual about it and go like 'oh, so by the way, did get a chance you read *insert book title I adored* yet?' sneakily inserted into a conversation but I don't think I can pull it off.
    It breaks my heart a little when someone I love doesn't love a book that's one of my favourites!

  3. Michelle (my books. my life.) says:

    I get both excited and nervous as well. And so disappointed if they don't love it. But none of that will stop me from recommending!

  4. Do I ever feel this way? ALL THE TIME!! Especially since I read YA and a lot of my friends tend to read more "mature" books, and have even made comments about YA being "Not real reading" *insert eye roll, followed by rant* so yes, if I recommend a book (even if I REALLY REALLY love the book.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  5. Karen @ Attack the Stacks says:

    Yep. I always freeze up when people ask me for book recommendations. I hem and haw and they're all, "Dude, you write a BOOK BLOG." And I explain that it's easier to do that than it is to give recommendations to real live people (you know what I mean), because: a) you can really give a lot of info about the book and people can get a good feel whether or not they'll like it before they pick it up; and b) it's unlikely that someone will come back to the blog and be like "your recommendation sucked, I hated the book." Whereas the people in my life would totally, totally do that because we are terrible people and mortify one another for sport.

  6. I'm a big book pusher. If I love a book I try to shove it on everyone. I don't know why, though, because if I succeed in getting them to read it, I start panicking when I realize they're going to have an opinion that might very well be different than mine. So, yeah, you're not alone.

  7. Yes, so much agreement. I'll want everyone to read a book I love and then as soon as they say they're going to, I get all nervous that they'll hate it and think "what is wrong with my friend that she loves this?" It is so nerve-wracking!

  8. Yes, I've had some of these feelings, but I've not had too many books that people didn't like (I'm very careful about what I recommend.) I've also had the opposite. Someone brings me a book that they loved and insist I read it (like they hand it to you and you can't say no) and you KNOW this is not your kind of book…and your TBR is so filled with books you want to read….what do you do? Great discussion!

  9. I think many of us all feel the same way. When I read a book I truly love, it becomes a part of me.. or takes a part of me with it.. It's a reflection of who I am as a person because of how much I loved it, so when I lend it to a friend and they dont like it.. it's difficult to not take that personal.. Like if they dont enjoy the book, then there are parts of me that they dont enjoy either.. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. lol.

    I totally get what you mean about feeling closer to others when they love a book that you do. It's wonderful connecting with others in this community that way. πŸ™‚

  10. Alice Keezer says:

    Yup. When I lend out a book, I'm waiting for the excited text that says, "OMG this is even better than you said!!!" or that they'll call me up in the middle of the night sobbing because it's over and we can bond over how awesome it was.

    It has yet to work out that way. Usually they hand it back with, "Yeah, I enjoyed it."

    Prepared me pretty well for sending my novel out to beta readers, though.

  11. Sam (Tiny Library) says:

    I know this feeling well!

    My husband didn't used to be much of a reader and when he was just starting out with reading I lent him one of my favourite book, 1984, and he HATED it. I will admit that I was a little hurt πŸ˜›

  12. I know this feeling all too well. And this is one of the reasons why I almost NEVER discuss my favorite books (or musicians for that matter) with most people I know in "real life". I think I maybe talk to three people about these things. There is that idea in the back of my head that friends will dislike a favorite book of mine and then silently judge me for having terrible taste. But, it also goes beyond this!

    The books (and the music) I deem to be my favorite are because…well, maybe I identified with an idea in a book. Or maybe I related to a character/song. Maybe there is something that just touches me, ya know? And if a friend hates the book, it's almost like they're saying they hate a part of me. I mean, I know that's absolutely preposterous, but that's the kind of thing that runs through my head. Makes me feel like a crazy person!

    I think this is kind of the reason why I love blogging about books though. I've only shared the link with my parents. Other than that, I can blog freely– to gush about books that other people might not like because at the end of the day I don't really mind them silently judging me! The kind of anonymity that the internet creates makes me feel more bold about proclaiming my love for certain things.

  13. I definitely feel this way a lot! It's always easy for me to recommend books that I love passionately – but then I always get nervous about the person's reaction or feelings towards the book. It's a bit of touch-and-go on occasion, but I'm always happy when I found out someone loved a book I recommended to them!

    And I definitely agree about feeling closer to someone because they're reading a book I recommended or that I've previously read and really liked – it's nice to see what they thought of it, as well as simply being able to fangirl over it πŸ™‚

  14. I understand completely, but I don't recommend books to friends because I am to afraid that they won't love it as much as I did. I know my friends and I know their tastes. BUT, the reason I blog my reviews and rave about books through Twitter is because I want others to experience the story that the book holds within it's pages. Someone out there will love it just as much as I did, I know it.

  15. This completely happens to me, but doubly-so when the other person is another book blogger. With my friends, I'm to busy being like 'Yes, it's a book. You have to READ the pages.' that when I find a book I know they'll like I just pester them until they read it. Book bloggers on the other hand.. they're tricky. I'm always extremely nervous when they're reading the books I adored, because they have "real" reasons for not liking it other than just "I could never find the time to sit down and read it". Suddenly my favorite book is flawed… I start wondering if maybe I just was blind to it's faults. The good news is, often enough it results in my re-reading the book and reminding myself why I loved it so much anyway. πŸ˜€

  16. Burgandy Ice says:

    Oh yea… but I had to jump online to find people who would actually TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY READ!!!! I was so excited for my sis-in-law to read some of my fav books and then she handed me back a stack with, "thanks. those were good" END OF DISCUSSION – and I quizzed her, believe me!! So… yay for online book-lovers who like to TALK ABOUT IT, too!!

  17. Christina says:

    I totally get this! I'm always hesitant to recommend my favorites to some people. I think its because those books we love are kind of like a part of us; they're kind of our best friends. Its scary to think that someone could "hate" our best friend! πŸ™‚

  18. Karen @ Book Light Graveyard says:

    I think what's even worse than someone hating a book I love is when they're just like, "meh, it was alright." Because then I don't even have anything to talk about with them. At least when they hate it, I can get into a heated debate with them.

  19. lisa [the nerd] says:

    Oh yes, totally have this fear too. I pump up a book so much because I love it so and then when I pass it on, I suddenly freak out that they won't love it or they won't love it AS MUCH as I do etc.

    Although, to be fair, I am totally a book snob and often snub the recommendations of others. Maybe that's why I fear it so much!

    Glad to know we're no alone in our neurotic ways with books.


  20. Don't even you worry… I get like, legit palpitations when I realize someone is reading Jellicoe Road (or Melina Marchetta in general) or Lisa Schroeder because I pushed hard.

    And if/when they don't like it, I totally want to cry. It causes me physical pain. But when they DO love it?! BEST feeling EVER.

    Although, sometimes I wonder if it's worse to STRONGLY recommend THAT book & have them be all, Eh, about it. Not awesome, not bad, just kinda whatevs. I mean, come on!! You have to feel SOMETHING!!

  21. I just recommended the book The Sky is Everywhere, which is definitely one of my favourite books published EVER, to a friend who has said that she can't decide how she feels about it. I was in love by page 2… I'm not going to lie. It breaks my heart. I totaly understand you.

  22. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    Oh my Lord, The Bird Sisters just DID SOMETHING TO ME, ya know? DID YOU GET MY EMAIL????????? I probably scared you away from responding, and that is okay. It really is. It was a large response, but I LOVED THAT SO MUCH!

    I totally understand this fear. I feel it too. I share titles with people sometimes and then sometimes I am also crushed when people don't have the same responses to books. So I find myself becoming more reluctant to share with the in-real-life population. Not so much with bloggers, tho…because I find myself actually reading a book and people will pop into my head like "I NEED TO TELL **** ABOUT THIS BOOK ASAP!" which is the most awesome thing ever…especially when they read it and at least like it half as much as I did.

  23. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    Oh yeah, real life example: I was pushing The Selection by Kiera Cass on people and really ramping it up because it is ALL KINDS OF LOVELY. SO INCREDIBLE. Then I found out about the drama surrounding it and that people didn't want to read it because of that, and I felt kinda sorta dumb for pushing that book, even though I read it before/while the drama was going on and didn't know about it. But still, I recommend the book to people…Don't pet the drama llama. I don't know if people will love the book because the book is good, or give it a chance and hate it because they can't get the drama out of their head. Bah!

  24. andreamantis says:

    I've had this same problem, too. I LOVED Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, raved about it over and over to my book club, and now my copy is making its way to all of the girls in the book club. The first one to read it liked it a lot, but didn't quite have the love for it that I did. The second person to read it (my best friend) took over a month to read it, and pretty much hated it even though she recognized smart and interesting aspects of the book. And I actually kind of have the opposite problem, too. I've had people read a book and tell me that I shouldn't read it, that it was so horrible, and that I shouldn't waste my time. But then other friends really liked the book. So I feel bad because the one friend had good reasons to dislike the book, and I trust her taste, yet we really seem to have very different tastes sometimes. I guess I just need to read it if I want to and she can get over it! (Sorry for the novel of a comment.) πŸ˜‰

  25. I feel the same way. It breaks my heart a little when I recommend/lend a book to someone and they tell me they didn't like it, or worse "it sucked" "it was such a bad book". But I live for those moments when someone has the opposite reaction and feels the same way I do about a book, I love gushing about my favorite characters, moments, sentences, anything , it's lovely finding people who you can share that kind of feeling with.

  26. I do the same thing with writing. I use to write a lot and I never wanted my friends or family to read it..

  27. I have a big ego where I think I have superior taste and whoever doesn’t like my favorite books is just wrong. Okay, okay, I’m just kidding.

    But yes, I have this fear too, so I am cautious about recommending books and it breaks me heart slightly when people say they didn’t like a book I liked. In middle school I loved Twilight (forgive me, I was 12 or 13 and thought it was perfectly normal for girls to be stalked) to the point I went out and bought New Moon (GIMMIE MY EIGHTEEN DOLLARS BACK!!) immediately because I didn’t want to wait on the library waiting list. I remember liking it and I lent it to a friend. It took her a looonnng time to read. She later confessed (years later) she found it super boring and didn’t really like it (I think she hated it and was trying to be nice.) I am still apologetic to this day.

    Recently, one of my best guy friends asked me to pick a book off my bookshelf for him to read because I told him my bookcase had stuffed with unread books that I won’t get to any time soon. And he was in the reading mode (for a full-time college student, he has a LOT of free time.) And I think I spent an hour trying to find the perfect book. Partly because I have no idea what his reading tastes are except for Ender’s Game and espionage novels. He’s also a “serial DNFer” so I worried about slow pacing. “Maybe Blood Red Road? But the main character is a girl, so maybe he will not relate…maybe this mystery novel, but the reviews aren’t too good on Goodreads! Maybe this dystopian…but maybe he doesn’t like romance??” I eventually settled on a non-fiction book called The Violinist’s Thumb because he said he wanted to read it at the bookstore once and he’s a violinist. The book also had good reviews on Amazon. …Then he gave up at a hundred pages or so, returned it to me saying it had too much biology stuff. I’ve recently been badgering him to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, one of my favorite reads of the year, and one fast-paced enough to hold his interest…and the main character is a guy. BUT despite saying he will get to it, it’s been months and he still hasn’t picked it up. hmph. Maybe he thinks I have poor taste. OH NOOOOOEEESSS.

    But I have become more cautious about recommending books and I check out what the other person has read and loved before to gauge my recommendations. Or maybe recommend a popular book that EVERYONE (or at least New York Times) likes so I can tell them “it’s your problem!”

    And then sometimes I’m on the other side: when I read a book recommend to me, but I hated it. I end up struggling for words when they ask me what I thought of it.

  28. I feel exactly the same way when I give a recommendation to my friends.
    It happened to me last year when I recommended a new friend (inducing a bigger challenge!) one of my favourite series: The Hunger Games. I loved it so much, I even decided to read it once a year. It’ll be the third time this year and I’m looking forward to re-re-reading the entire series!
    Anyway, last year I was reading Book 1 for the second time and she asked me what it was about. She had never really heard about it because it isn’t very popular in France.
    I didn’t lend it to her; SHE BOUGHT IT. It added stress to the fact I was responsible for her buying a new book without even knowing if she’d like it. In the end, she LOVED the entire series and now asks for my opinion now and then. We even went to the sneek peak of the movie in Paris (which wasn’t as good as the series but, well my expectations were very high) together!
    I think that’s the story…!

  29. I had lent a friend city of bones (I think that was the book) and I liked it a lot and she said she was interested in reading it… then called me (because she lives further away and we can’t see each other very often) and said she couldn’t get into it. That didn’t hurt me or anything, I wasn’t upset or broken hearted by it. We do have different tastes. But, books she has recommended to me I have really enjoyed – her idea of recommending is ‘I really liked that one.’ and 99% of the time after I’m done reading – I totally agree with her about how awesome that book is.

    I get upset when I lend out a book – mint condition and it comes back to me in NOT so mint condition. I mean it’s just a book. But it just bugged me.

  30. Ohmygoodness. YES! This is so me! I lent The Book Thief to someone and they HATED it, broke my heart. I mean, I shouldn’t care… But I can’t help it! I take stuff like that personally even though I shouldn’t! *sigh*

  31. I must admit that I get kind of mad when someone doesn’t love a book that I’m over the top crazy about. It really bothers me which is insane because like you said everyone has different tastes and I love that that is so apparent with books. But it really does burn me.

  32. I feel the EXACT same way. There have been many times I have recommended a book and the person did not like it. I was like ookkkk.


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