This reader's advisory stuff is getting easier

It's nicest when people ask for books and it turns out that we have the exact same taste. Because I can just tell them about all my favorites and they think I'm this brilliant mind-reader. And usually we become best friends and I invite them to join our book club.

Sometimes people come in who are interested in something completely cool, like the elderly gentleman who read The Kite Runner and became fascinated with Afghanistan. So it was always fun to have something waiting for when he'd come in. By the time we'd gone through everything in the collection (and some things that I ordered especially for him) he could probably have taught a university class on the subject. Those are the fun days.

The less fun days are when people come in who hate everything good (read: everything that I love). Because what can I even recommend for them? One patron returned a DVD and was really irritated because not ONLY had the characters been speaking some strange tongue but they'd written the English words on the bottom of the screen. Written! To be read! In a movie! My efforts to defend the foreign language film collection (which could not be more my baby than if I'd given actual physical birth to it) fell upon deaf and hostile ears.

I've figured out how to work with this, though. I think of the books and movies that I love and esteem and would protect with my life. Then I take their exact opposites and hand them over.

"Here's The Ultimate Gift. You'll love it."


Shawn Econo said... [reply]

That's the way it works: "Here's something you'll absolutely love...the new Sean Hannity!"

But there are those times when I recommend Terry Tempest Williams or David Foster Wallace or, heaven forbid, EDWARD ABBEY, and my patron comes back and says, "Yeah, that was sorta OK" and I then proceed to glom onto them like a barnacle on the side of an ocean liner and then they're deathly afraid to ever again read a book that I've happened to touch or even looked at in the window of Borders.

RA, bane of my existence!!

Jenny said... [reply]

I have a good reads account and when I look on other people's lists and see stupid crap I cringe. I guess you can be glad they read at all.

Sherry said... [reply]

My mother-in-law bought this movie because somebody recommended it to her. She normally thinks anything with a good message is worth watching, but even she was rolling her eyes throughout the whole thing.

It was SO bad we couldn't stop watching it. Even as it got more ridiculous and more predictable. Painfully ridiculous and predictable.

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

Thanks for all of the recommendations during college. My love of Gaudy Night comes from borrowing your book. Not to mention A Room with a View.

When I'm recommending books to friends I have two main categories of reading: enlightening or entertaining (read--brain sparking or brain candy). I never know how they'll take it. Kids are a bit easier to read what their interests will be. Once you can find out one book (or sometimes even a movie) that they've liked in the past, you can track down a possible book for the future.

Anonymous said... [reply]

So, I guess we can return it to Netflicks and not waste and hour and a half watching it later tonight?


Nemesis said... [reply]

DMA, I thought that was YOUR copy of Gaudy Night. Wasn't it?

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

Nope . . . hmmmm. It just appeared in that room one day--you know the one I mean--and I assumed it was yours. A mystery-loving phantom perhaps?

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