Sunday, December 19, 2010

I don't want to read that book


Have you ever been recommended a book you really don't want to read? Working in a library, especially a small town library, I encounter this situation all the time. I never knew how to handle this situation until recently (keep reading to hear my fantabulous new response).

I love my patrons, really, I do. They bring me cakes and gourmet chocolates and knit me scarves and buy me Christmas presents. They totally rock.  They're so nice and I really love spending time with them. They'll come in all excited over the latest book they just read and I get excited with them because I'm happy they're happy.


(I'm working on these chocolates right now from the incredible Mrs. S.)

But then the dreaded recommendation comes. The, "You just have to read this book!" Usually I respond with something along the lines of, "Gee, thanks! I'll add it to my TBR" when really in my head I'm thinking something more like this:

"I am so never reading that book." 

Why don't I just stand my ground and tell them thank you but the book isn't for me? Well, frankly, because I'm a wimp. I'm shy and a pushover and I don't like confrontation. Plus, how do you say no when they bring cookies?

This response usually works at avoiding immediate awkwardness, even if I do sort of feel a little skuzzy for my white lies. It works, that is, until they start following up. They'll come back a week, a month, a few months later and ask me if I've read the book yet. And then they'll ask me again. And then again. After a while, the "Really, I just have a very long TBR" excuse starts looking a little thin (although, really, I do have a very long TBR....their book just isn't on it).

But now, I have a super fantastic amazingly fabulous response that totally gets me off the hook while allowing me to both glide away from confrontation while also telling the truth. What is this response? Here it is folks:

"I write young adult book reviews so I'm really swamped with that at the moment. I actually don't even have time to read any books that aren't YA."

(Have I mentioned yet that I am a huge Star Trek nerd? I don't dress up or anything though. Really.)

Ta da! The beauty of this response is that it's totally the truth, but it's vague enough that it allows each person to project their own feelings into my statement.

  • Some people are impressed. OOooh I'm a snazzy book reviewer (they think I'm getting paid! Ha!)
  • Some people feel sorry for me. Oh look, the poor adult who has to read all those kiddie books (little do they know!)
  • Some people are excited because it turns out that they love YA books too (these people are awesome)

But everyone, regardless of what they think about YA, totally accept my response and don't try to push their books on me. Unless they are one of those people who fall into the last category. Then they actually do help my TBR grow and I actually do have every intention of reading their recommendations.

Ah, I can now breathe a sigh of relief.

How about you? Do you ever encounter the "Oh please don't recommend that book to me" situation? How do you handle it? Are you braver than me? What was a book recommended to you that you would least like to read?


  1. I love your new response, it's very classy and tactful :D I'm a bit of wimp too so i know how that feels when some things get pushed on you and you don't really want them :D

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  2. Remember the genre swap at a certain forum? The book I was recommended... well, I read the first sentence on the back cover and failed to find enough interest to continue. I'd rather read a cookie-cutter serial killer thriller and I don't even like those types of mysteries. Haha, I couldn't even bring myself to open the book.

    Your "Full of WIN" pic is *SO* you, my dear!

    Usually when someone suggests something to me, I just say that I have a ton of new books on my shelf that I have little to no time to read so I probably won't get around to it for awhile. Honesty is the best policy. :)

  3. Oh, this is great. I'm really a picky reader. I don't like books most people are dying to read. For example I've never read The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo series. I don't like romance and I really don't like historical fiction.

    One book I REALLY didn't want to read was Pillars of the Earth. I just told the person it was way TOO long for my style. I'd take an entire year to finish it.

    I like your response the best, I think I'll try it out next time!

  4. Haha, that's a great excuse, I might be borrowing it from you sometime. I usually try to avoid the recommended book topic, by recommending a book back to them, ha! They will never read it either, so that makes us even.

    I'm not really a picky reader, so when someone tells me I MUST read a book, I may give it a try, even though it isn't in my usual genre.

    Love the pictures by the way

  5. HA! Love your response, I'm going to adopt it if anyone tries to recommend something to me that I have no desire to read:) I usually just do the nod and smile, and since I don't work in a library or bookstore so the people doing the recommending will never know if I took them up on their suggestion.

    I do get the funny look every now and then when I'm at the register buying a bunch of YA books, the look that says "really? you're a little old for these." I use the nod and smile in this situation as well:)

  6. Lol, I go through that too! My usual excuse is "Oh, I want to, but I have too many already!" XD

    Awesome post!

  7. Oooh, my mom's mom does this to me all of the time. She reads smutty romance novels (sorry if you're a fan), and they just aren't for me. She'll go to recommend them to me, and I always feel bad because my other grandma recommends books that I'd actually read, so I don't want my mom's mom to be jealous!

    Basically, I just don't like confrontation and I'm a wimp, so I'll take them for a little while and then tell her that I thought they were "okay."

  8. I used to work at a library too and always had this happening to me... I used to turn it around and start recommending them a ton of books and overwhelm them, which would make them forget all about the books that they had recommended to me that I knew I would never read... ;)

  9. My problem is a friend HANDED me a book - one of hers - to read. It's a book that I would like to read, and it's short (thank goodness) but my TBR pile is so big now I don't want to, but I feel like I have to read it so I can get it back to her, and I can't give it back without reading, because she's gonna want to know how I liked it. UGHHH!

  10. That's a perfectly political response! I'm afraid I lack tact at times ;)

    I usually say. Oh heeeeellllll no! No chance. Sorry. haha

  11. So what's wrong with dressing up like Star Trek? I personally have three different uniform tunics in the back of my closet. ;-)

    My students keep recommending books to me. I tell them that I already have about 1000 books on my TBR stack and just can't add any more to it. That has worked so far.

    Happy reading!

  12. Great response :o) In Tech I have zero interaction with patrons, but I work at circulation on certain weekends and I get a lot of patrons asking me what I would recommend they read. I always smile and respond that I read mostly YA and urban fantasy. In return I'll get a funny look or the obvious question: What is urban fantasy. LoL :o)

  13. Haha, that is a perfectly diplomatic response! Very good thinking. If enough people reccemmend the book, I will give it a shot even if it didn't initially seem to be my type - that happened with The DUFF, and I ended up really liking it!

  14. lol, yay! Fun post to read while I'm taking a break from studying. I've never been in this situation before because I'm more of a reader than any of my friends are. So, I'm always the one who is pushing book recommendations on them! And I don't take no for an answer! lol. I'm sure I can be very annoying about it sometimes :D
    ... okay, back to studying now... blah...

  15. Oh, that situation is always so awkward! I sympathize. Usually I say something like, "Oh, I'll keep my eye out for that one," along the lines of your original response. But I could see how that could wear thin if you keep seeing the same people and they keep asking!

  16. I just say I'm sorry the book doesn't interest me but I'll keep an open mind or I'm too busy at the moment. When I have time, maybe, I'll check it out. XD.

  17. I love your response! Isn't it so annoying when people just keep nagging you about something -- it's like, "I'd have told you if I'd read it, now wouldn't I? Thankyouverymuch."

    People do try to recommend books to me too, because they know I'm a huge book nerd. I really hate adult contemporary novels, and that's all anyone seems to read nowadays (except for my lovely bloggy friends) so I get recommendations for these horrible, depressing books, or for really chick lit-y books. Ugh. I think I'm going start using your response! Because no one seems to understand that when I say "LONG TBR LIST" that I really truly mean I-have-to-buy-a-new-bookshelf-every-other-week. Gah! Great post =)

  18. Nina, Thank you! It’s such a relief now.

    Moony, Yeah….I had to stop my involvement in almost all forum book clubs because they just kept reading books I had zero interest in reading. Glad you like the picture :) I am a hopeless Picard fangirl.

    Gina, Ooh, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is exactly one of the series I was thinking of when I wrote this post. People are going nuts over those books and I just have no interest in reading them. Pillars of the Earth is another one. You’re right, it is MASSIVE. Hope my response works for you!

    Celine, :) Thanks. I hope it works well for you! I love your idea. I’ll have to think of some really noxious books I know they’ll never want to read…Glad you liked the pictures :)

    Jenny, :) Good luck! Everyone who doesn’t know me thinks I’m younger than I am, so I usually don’t get the strange looks when I take out YA. One man recently asked me when I was graduating and if I was planning on going to college. I told him I graduated a few years ago and that was college. I just hope they keep underestimating my age as I get older!

    Dazzling Mage, Thanks! I wish that worked for me! I think people think I must be lying when I say I have a ton of books on my TBR.

    Jessi, Haha, no I’m not a fan of smutty romance novels (but I have a secret guilty desire to try one out some time). That’s a tough situation you’re in! Have you ever said a book was ok only to have her start asking you details about the plot?

  19. Avery, This is a great suggestion. I think I’ll have to try it, but I have to be crafty about it. Most patrons usually ask me for recommendations, and since I know them well I know what they’ll like and so I make my recommendations based on that. I have a reputation of being a good recommender. :)

    Melissa, Thank you! Haha, I am impressed with your boldness. I really should try it some time. I can’t imagine they’d be offended and storm out on me!

    Kathy, Haha, you know, the first thing I thought when I read about your uniforms was, “Ooh, which ones?” :P Maybe I should try giving a concrete number. 1000 books really puts into perspective the “I have a REALLY long TBR. Honestly!”

    Laura, Thanks :) Haha, aw, YA shouldn’t get funny looks! It’s a very misunderstood and underrated genre.

    Linds, That happens to me a lot in the blogging world, but not so much at my job. Most people at work are reading books I just don’t want to read at all, but bloggers are at least reading in my genre. The Duff was a book I initially didn’t think much of, but after reading a bunch of inspiring reviews (yours included) I now have it on my TBR.

  20. Aylee, Yay! I’m super happy to be able to give you a fun break from studying :) Haha, so I have to ask, how many of your friends have read Harry Potter based on your recommendation?

    Danya, Yeah, I can hear this one patron’s response if I tried that one. She’s old, tiny, and bold. She’d follow up and if I said the same thing again she’d look at me and say, “Wad are ya blind? Keep yer eye out for it my butt!”

    Need-Tea, Another honest and diplomatic response. I’m writing all these down!

    Casey, Thanks! It is very annoying. I want to say exactly what you said here! Or, if I actually did read it and wasn’t saying anything, that probably means I didn’t like it, so don’t ask! Oh gosh, I know the books you probably mean. They’re very popular here. For those at least I am honest and I say I don’t want to read anything depressing now. Serious, what’s up with people not getting LONG TBR! What do they think I mean, fifteen books? Try fifteen hundred! At least we book bloggers understand :)

  21. Annette, oh gosh, those are THE worst. My friend did that to me and I felt obligated to read the book. It took me five months to finish it and I hated every second. It was the first book in a four book series (he gave me all four) but I just had to tell him I couldn't go on. It was very awkward. At least the book your friend lent you is short!

  22. Lol, that's a great response and it sounds super impressive.

    Man, you sound like you have a great job. Not only do you work at a library but you get chocolates and cake? Where do I sign up :P

  23. I have definitely been in that situation with a coworker who kept insisting I read such-and-such book or author. I think you have the right tactic - to politely say that you read a specific genre. The only problem is when they start making recommendations in that genre too! lol

  24. Holy crap I feel the same way! I usually act totally interested and say I will read it. Unless it's totally out of my interest zone, to which I will say "I honestly probably won't read it, but don't be offended 'cause I still like you as a person."

    It works for the most part. I am a person that will recommend books to people depending on how much I know their reading habits. Unless it's super incredible, I usually try not to gush into everyone's faces.

    I wish everyone had the same "please-read-this-book" morality.

    Merry Christmas!

  25. Just realized I said "totally" twice in one post and sound like I am in high school again. Apologies.

  26. I get those-not so much from adult patrons and my co-workers know I rarely read adult titles. My teens will recommend things and I'll be honest and say hmm, that's not really my usual thing, but maybe I'll give it a try. And I'm also honest with them and I tell them if I tried to read it and didn't like it. Or I do what you said and say I already have a huge pile of books to read and can't add anything new.

    And I'm a total Star Trek nerd and I dress up!:)

  27. You know, I was actually one of the last of my friends to read Harry Potter. Believe it or not, I actually thought it sounded silly and lame at first. And yet somehow I ended up becoming the most obsessed out of all of my friends.

  28. Well... my friends sometimes try to push Paranormals to me. But I don't really like Paranormals so I often just say "Uh huh, I'll get to it later," and when it doesn't work I just say I'm busy with school and life and slowing down on reading, surprisingly, a lot of people believe me.

  29. A Canadian Girl, Thanks! A lot of people are impressed, so it’s an added bonus. I do have a great job :) It’s so tiny, just me and then two other women who alternate days and we know all our patrons. It’s very nice.

    Logan, Yes, most responses have so many loopholes and a recommender will always find them!

    Book Geek, first off, I totally use the word totally all the freaking time! So don’t worry. When not writing formal papers, my vocabulary shamefully degrades to high school speech, 1990s slang included! I love your answer about still liking them as a person. So cute!

    GreenBeanTeenQueen, it’s good that you’re honest with the kids. I would feel more comfortable declining a recommendation from one of my teens. Yay for Star Trek nerds!!

    Aylee, oh gosh really?! I never would have guessed! Haha, at what point in reading did you realize you were going to have to eat your words?

    AnimeGirl, I think a lot of people understand the “life getting in the way” excuse. Unfortunately, I can’t use that one because all my library patrons see me with a book glued to my face every day!

  30. lol, it would have to be the very first line, "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal thank you very much." Hmm, well that's just off the top of my head, that might not be word for word what the first line actually is.

  31. LOL! You got the quote exactly right!

  32. You work at a library! So cool. I didn't think there could be a downside to it. LOL!

    Great post! I think that no matter what genre, it is always fun to hear about books. I work with students, so I'm always asking what they are reading. If it is book I don't think I'd be that interested in, I asked them to tell me more about it, at least that way I feel like I've read it. LOL

    I'm a complete whip too, so good for you for saying what you do. :D

  33. Haha, well, it's a very tiny downside! And it's totally obscured by all the upsides.

    Thank you! I like your idea of asking them to tell you more about the book. At least that way we could share and discuss. I know I'd love for someone to listen to me gush about my latest "OMG I LOVE THIS" book :) Thank you for the idea!

  34. Actually I know exactly how you feel when it comes to being recommended books. My old English teacher has an extensive classroom library that has a couple of LARGE, FLOOR-TO-CEILING bookshelves, and some smaller ones. All for one classroom!

    I often visit her and still checkout books, but many times, as she knows that I am an avid reader and that I have my own blog suggests different books to me. The thing is... I have trouble turning her down because she was my teacher, and I don't want to disappoint her as I often check out books from her.

    So, really I'm worse than you, as I tend to say, "Oh, okay! Great, I'll definitely read it," and then check it out! But then, I either never read it, or try to and the book is just not for me.

    I completely agree with you, because it is hard to turn people down when they get soooo excited over the book they are recommending.

    That should be one of my 2011 New year's Resolutions-Try to turn people down when they offer me a book that I know I won't read or am not interested in :)

  35. Oh wow, that classroom sounds amazing! I would have a terribly hard time telling her no. I think it's one of those things, though, where the first time is the hardest and then once you do it it gets a lot easier. Good luck!

  36. Wonderful response! I, sadly, can't have that excuse. Used it once and lets just say, it doen't work so well if you're a student whose supposed to be doing homework(

  37. Haha, no, I guess it wouldn't work then :P


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