The other day, a friend told me he wasn’t liking the book I had recently recommended. A normal, well-adjusted human being would probably just shrug and say “to each his own.” But for a book nerd, this is one of the most emotionally devastating things that can happen.
If someone doesn’t like a book you recommended, you start questioning your own literary tastes, how much you really value this person’s friendship and whether you have any remaining credibility with them. You pinball between a dozen varying states of emotion, all while trying to tell your friend that you’re not taking their feedback personally but you are having a really difficult time looking at their face right now and you need space…
Here’s are the 10 awful things you feel when a friend doesn’t like your book recommendation**:
Wait, what? How could you not like this book? It’s won awards! It’s written about a socially incisive subject matter! You probably are confusing this book with another. Are you sure you read the right book?
I’m a terrible friend with terrible recommendations. I should’ve known they wouldn’t like this book! What was I thinking?
How was I supposed to know you don’t like critically-acclaimed, masterful satire? Everyone else thinks this book is great, maybe you’re the one who is boring and uninspired. I can’t account for your strange tastes.
4. Petty, sulky anger.
How could you not like this book? I picked it out just for you. What kind of person are you? Do you even value our friendship? Why are we even friends if we don’t like the same books?
Why didn’t you like it? Why was that character uncompelling? Why did you stop on page 231 without finishing it?
Oh, you say the inaccurate vernacular is distracting and the characters one-dimensional? Ok, you might have a point there. Maybe I spoke too hastily earlier about you being stupid.
Hmm, all your criticisms about the book are actually rather accurate and insightful. Of course, I’ll never admit it to your face.
7. Fear of Judgment.
Don’t judge me on this one mistake! Give me a second chance, I can change and get better at recommending books to you!
Are we still friends? Are you ever going to read what I recommend again? Do you think I have terrible taste? Are you going to tell everyone that I recommended a book you didn’t like and shame me forever socially?
Oh, you want me to recommend another book? Oh happy day. We ARE friends and you DO trust me. Oh you won’t regret giving me a second chance, I’m definitely going to recommend a book you’ll absolutely LOVE this time.
Three days later, you’re saying to another friend, “Oh my god, I have to pick a book out for my friend who is just SO picky. He didn’t like the last book I recommended, _____, can you believe it? He said the language was distracting and the characters one-dimensional. What the hell? Does he even like to read or does he just like taking books down?”
**Obviously I’m not very good at dealing with book recommendation rejection.