Before & After #7: Recommending Books

So you guys. Since early 2012 I’ve been working on this post I wanted to do about the differences between myself as a reader before I was a blogger and after I became a blogger because my habits have changed SO MUCH. I kept putting it off because of wedding plans. I wanted to make this cute graphic that was a list but, when I finally started to work on it this year, it was just looking TOO crowded with about 30 different things and overwhelming and not AT ALL what I had in mind. Then I decided…why not make it a series? The more I thought about it — it would lend to a better discussion if I just give you one at a time. I’m kind of glad my original idea didn’t work out because I’m liking this better. Check the end of the post for previous Before & After’s.


I was reallyyy hesitant to recommend books to people. I think I wasn’t confident in my recommendation skills and mostly that was because I didn’t feel like I read enough and was really limited in my knowledge as to what books were out there. Also, a fear I still have to some degree, but I was so scared that someone would HATE the book I loved and had recommended to them.


I recommend books ALL OF THE TIME NOW. Not just through the blog and Twitter but to people in my life. I feel so confident now in my skills of recommending books to people because I feel like I have a good sense of what is out there and what people would like based on other books they have read and loved or based on what they are looking for in a book. I still FEAR recommending a book and they will hate it but I think I’m getting a lot better at being able to give personal recommendations and I LOVE doing it and feel confident now. Also, I just read so many darn books and feel compelled to recommend them! I recommend books in times and to people I probably would have never done so before. I probably would have sat quietly but now I don’t hesitate.



Let’s Talk:

If you are a blogger — Were you always a book recommender or do you think you do it MORE now? If you aren’t a blogger — Are you someone who recommends books a lot to people?Β  For everyone — Who do you feel comfortable recommend to — family, friends, strangers? Do you feel like you are good at giving personal recommendations that end up working out for people?

Previous Before & After’s:

The Time In Between Two Books – 2/27
Being Up On New Releases — 3/6
Book Real Estate — 3/15
Re-reading — 3/20
Meeting Authors + Myths About Them — 3/27
Number Of Books Read Per Year — 4/5

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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. I am still sometimes hesitant out of fear someone would not love it as much as I did. But. you are right in the end I do also recommend much more these days. Even at work where I have a fe reluctant readers I manage to pick the right books for them. It’s awesome πŸ™‚

  2. I agree with this, although yeah, I’m still hesitant too, but I’m a lot more confident both in my reading and my interest in books, and in my knowledge, so I’m more prone to doing it nowadays. But throwing your favourites out there is always going to be scary, they’re like my babies and I don’t want them to get hurt in the big world! πŸ˜›

  3. I never recommended books before, except to say “Oh hey, I really liked this.” It was mostly because I didn’t really know many readers, and I also didn’t read a lot. And before I started blogging, my reading was ALL over the place. Now that I’ve picked a niche and read consistently, I feel comfortable enough to recommend a book to someone based on their interest, or in the books they’ve read before. The best is when they read it and enjoy it!

    I love these posts, Jamie. They’ve been making me reflecting on all the ways my reading has changed since I started blogging.

  4. I for sure recommend more now. People in my real life also ask for my recommendations more now. It’s always a pleasant surprise when people I would not expect, that just somehow found out I read a lot/blog, come and ask me for recs! πŸ˜€

  5. I recommended books before, but not to the extent I do now. And I can customize now. Even if I haven’t read something, I know enough about it to talk about it a lot of the time, or to know it’s right for someone!

  6. I recommend authors and books once I can get a feel of their reading tastes , but yes I do it more since becoming a book blogger more πŸ™‚

  7. I know how you feel. I don’t recommend books to a ton of people (other than on Goodreads and such), but I get nervous doing it. For example, I love the House of Night series by P.C. & Kristin Cast, but I’ve had about a 50/50 response after recommendations, so I’m hesitant to recommend it. However, now that I’m reading more (not just a blogger, but since I’ve been actively reading more), I feel a little more confident recommending books. Oh, on the flip side of your fear, I sometimes get nervous reading books that were highly recommended. I’m always afraid I’m going to be that one person who hates the book everyone else loves! (Which has happened. I was not a fan of The Help, Water for Elephants, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.)

  8. Since I’m pretty new to Blogging I don’t have a ton of experience, but before i started it I did give reccommendations when people asked for them. Almost everyone knows I read a lot and will ask for anything I’d recently read that they may like. However since I started blogging i’m more “nervous” about what I write in my reviews – if they match up to the wonderfulness of the book or explains it well enough to make someone want to read it? It actuallly makes me more nervous to put the posts out in the public now.

  9. I get books recomended to me all the time. Lol. Which is great! I have a close friend I recommend books too. I think I have a wider range in taste then she does tho…

  10. I wouldn’t say that I recommend books all the time, but I have grown more confident when it comes to recommending them. I also work in a library so I try to read books out of my comfort zone, as well as books that EVERYONE seems to be reading, just to see what the fuss is about. I think that really helps me get a feel for what’s out there!

  11. I think I did recommend some of my favourite books to people before I started blogging, but I do recommend more books now that I’ve started to blog. I do that because I have more exposure to books that I did prior to starting my blog. But I’m still scared when I give/recommend books to people that they may not like it. One of my friends recently said that she was scared to go into Chapters (our bookstore chain) because she wasn’t sure if I had read the books she got for me. And she had gone with her sister and she was recommending a lot of ‘girly’ (these are my friend’s words!) books and my friend had to tell her sister “You don’t know her like I do.” which made me laugh. I hadn’t read the books she gave me for Christmas so she was safe :). I think sometimes people get intimidated to recommend books to bloggers which kind of makes me sad because there are so many books out there that I don’t know about and I’d love to read some of the less famous ones.

    Great post Jamie!

  12. Honestly, I’m still terrified of recommending or dis-recommending books to people. I know my tastes can be a little weird sometimes. If I’m the first (of my crowd anyway) to review something, I am terrified, like with Eleanor & Park or Nobody But Us, which are obviously different ends of the spectrum. I’m just always afraid people will go “this book is crap, so why did you make me read it?” I guess I’m not hardened enough to not stress about that. BUT I do still make the recommendations. Knowing people well helps, like I do not hesitate to recommend contemporary novels to you, for example, because I’m pretty damn confident you will also love them.

  13. I’ve always been a recommend-er, or at least, I’ve tried. A lot of times I’m THAT girl who is earnestly trying to convince friends “no, just give it a chance,” and they’re giving me THAT look that clearly says, “you want me to read a book? Girl, you’re crazy!” The difference is now, I’m in a community that LISTENS to my recs, and I’m better at knowing when and where to spend the time and energy recommending. πŸ™‚

  14. See, my recommendation habits haven’t changed all that much since starting to blog. I’ve always been a HUGE recommender. Or, as I sometimes call it, a book evangelist. I like to think I’m good at recommending books to people based on their taste and what I know about them, but I suppose it’s for them to decide ultimately!

  15. I guess I was recommending books before from time to time, but I do it now all the time, with local friends, and a lot on social networks and of course through my blog.

  16. Leticia (@osoordinary) says:

    I’m not a book blogger, but I must say, all these amazing books blogs I’ve come across, (definitely yours included) has made me want to start! Anyway, I’m not one to recommend books often. I have three really close friends and they are pretty much the only people I recommend to because we have similar interests. I think I’d be afraid to recommend because there’s always a possibility that the book won’t be received well.

  17. That is what scares me if people hating a book I loved. Certain people I know not to recommend books to them because they hate every single book.

  18. I was always a book recommender – I recommended so many books before I started blogging that people told me I should start a blog. =P

    I feel really confident in my YA recommending skills…not so much in my adult book recommending skills. There’s a lot more out there for adults, and I haven’t read as much of it. I’m pretty good with classics, but contemporary stuff? Not so good.

    Are there genres you feel better about recommending? I am SUPER confident in YA contemporary and action-adventure, not so good with paranormal or fantasy…basically, I can talk about one or two paras or fantasy books that I loved, and I think would appeal to everyone, but with contemp, I can recommend based on the person.

  19. I’ve never hesitated to recommend books to my close friends before, but now after blogging I’ll be browsing in the bookstore, and I’ll see someone trying to decide between books (which, if it were me, I would be like, BUY ALL THE BOOKS) and I’ll recommend one over the other. To complete strangers. They probably think I’m nuts, but once you have an idea of what bloggers (and yourself) like, it’s easy to recommend books from different genres. Plus, my dream is to work at Chapters, so I guess it’s just practice πŸ™‚

  20. Before I was a blogger, I would recommend books but not frequently. After I became a blogger, OMG. People not only on my blog, twitter, but in real life as well, ask for recs all the time. It’s gotten to the point where some friends text or call me before going to a book store to check my opinion on all of their purchases, haha. I love it. I feel very confident about giving recs. I mean there are times where I will be like “man, will they love that book? I hope so” but I try to recommend books taking into account what they are looking for and their taste as well.

  21. Yes, it’s the same for me! Before, I would occasionally recommend a book to my husband only. Now that I’ve been blogging for a while, I tend to recommend a bit more. It’s just like you said: I have a much better feel of what’s out there, and I’ve read a lot more books so I can gauge things better.

  22. I was always a book recommender. Even though I have the same fear as you do, my want for the other person to love the book as much as I did overruled that.

  23. I was very much the same way before becoming a blogger – I didn’t think I’d really read enough to recommend to people. Plus most of my RL friends aren’t readers, but the few there were, I got comfortable recommending to them once I learned their tastes. Now I recommend books constantly – to family, to friends, to fellow bloggers. I have wide reading tastes and feel like there aren’t many people I couldn’t recommend SOMETHING to. There are a few people online I feel like I know really well and whenever I read a book and think they’ll love it, I don’t hesitate to tell them…even though I’m like you, and I do fear they’ll hate it…but I think it’s worth the risk!

    ~Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer

  24. I think that recommending books is the type of activity where if you read regularly, you’ll only get better at it as the years go on. Obviously book blogging encourages a lot of us to read more and to main a pretty consistent reading schedule. For me, being a librarian encourages me to read regularly as well. So I think the fact that you now feel more confident in giving recommendations makes a lot of sense, but I’m sure you were great at it already.

  25. Before blogging, I would only be the type to recommend books to my family members and best friends. Then, it wasn’t so much a conscious activity – I’d only do it if they asked me or if they were with me on one of my frequent trips to the bookstore.

    These days, I’m much more comfortable talking up books to people. While there’s still something easy about recommending stuff to people I know well, like family, friends and bloggers, I also think that it’s fun to recommend books to people I meet in the library and at bookstores. Sometimes, they appreciate having an opinion from someone else; others, they end up shaking their heads at me because they walk out with more books when they came in.

    I’m not the best at recommending books, honestly, but I try!

  26. Sometime’s I’m still hesitant to recommend book, not because I don’t know what out there but because I’m scared if someone doesn’t like a book I recommend they won’t let me recommend more to them! haha– I usually make sure I have a good grasp on a person and what they like to read before I recommend somethine to them!

    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  27. I used to recommend books before I blogged, but it was on a smaller scale. Basically, just family and really close friends. Now, I will talk books to anyone, anywhere. At a library book sale, I noticed a guy had picked up a historical fiction novel so I handed him another one that I’d read and loved. He read the back blurb and bought it too!

  28. I DEFINITELY recommend more books now, vs. before I was a book blogger. I recommend books to my blogging friends, people on Twitter/Facebook, friends, family, reluctant readers, people I meet in a line or on the plane… LOL! I just read so many books now that I feel like I can recommend books to people more (and from the feedback I get, I do it well)…


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