What do you think of author recommendations?  I can’t remember why I wondered this, whether it was an article I saw or a thought that leapt into my addled brain after reading the latest Goodreads authors newsletter.  There may have been something encouraging people to recommend books to other people, as if your standing on Goodreads depended on it. Not that I’m aware of any particular ‘standing’ that Goodreads imposes on us.  Or maybe it was from turning over books in Waterstones and reading the recommendations when I was really looking for blurbs?

But it made me wonder whether reading other authors’ recommendations was in any way a recommendation to you.  I can understand, of course, that reading what I say about books I’ve read may lead you to pick (or avoid) because you know you always agree with me.  Or disagree with me.  Knowing whether your tastes are diametrically opposite can be as important as whether you agree with each other.  But… Stephen King recommends… do you go for it or not?  Elly Griffiths loves….?  Agatha Christie had this on her bookshelf (well-thumbed)…?

After setting the poll below, I went in search of some pictures for the post, and of course found it hard to find books with author recommendations on the back… save for my newest paperbacks acquired at Noirwich.  Is this a new trend?  Has someone decided we trust other authors more than newspaper reviewers?  Or maybe that one-worders from The Times or the New York Times might not hold much influence these days on non-newspaper readers?

So, a little quiz for you…  two questions on your response to recommendations, and one on your response to authors who have recommended something you’ve read (and liked).


Feel free to comment on your answers!

Author recommendations
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10 thoughts on “Author recommendations

  • 20 February, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I always suspect that authors are lying when their recommendation appears on the back of books. Surely they’re only saying this thoroughly mediocre piece of work is “brilliant!” and “the next big thing!” so that the author whose work they’re commenting upon will do the same for the commenting author’s future work. Cynical, I know.

    • 20 February, 2017 at 9:48 am

      I suspect some of the authors cited in the pic above are in the same ‘stable’ of authors either with the agent or publisher. The other thing is – with a shorter quote, is it more likely to be a soundbite hidden in something worse, e.g. “I thought this would be a gripping, highly charged thriller, but I was wrong”
      I know I’ve done something similar for a highly praised mg book I read that I didn’t think was much good – but it was a blog tour.

      • 20 February, 2017 at 9:51 am

        “This was clearly (not) the greatest book I’ve ever read!”

        • 20 February, 2017 at 10:27 am

          I don’t think that would pass the advertising standards test!

  • 20 February, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Hi Jemima – sometimes I take note of a book I’d like to read … but that’s it – I don’t dash out and buy … but it’s interesting … and are they their choices … who knows! Cheers and have a good week – Hilary

  • 20 February, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    There are a few authors, particularly in the mystery genre, who I follow on GR, and when they recommend a mystery, I’m more likely to look at it, since I imagine our tastes might be at least somewhat similar. For the most part, though, I’d take a recommendation from you over any author I know only through their writing. We’ve shared enough for me to know when I’ll like what you like, and when I won’t 🙂

    • 21 February, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Thanks! Yes I agree – we have the luxury of sharing our views openly and learn where are tastes overlap. What I enjoy most when turning over books in a shop is seeing what the quotes are when it’s a book I’ve already read!

  • 21 February, 2017 at 12:25 am

    I barely pay attention to book recommendations. Not even friends’ suggestions will get me to go check out a book. It all depends on the moment and if I have the time to look.

    • 21 February, 2017 at 9:18 am

      I expect you’re like me, Patricia, not “what would I like to read” but “which one on my TBR needs to be read next”!

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