Read Lovely Books

I Recommend Books I Didn’t Like Reading (And

I’ve written before in defense of recommending books I haven’t read; it’s pretty much

First off: some of my favourite books are ones I didn’t like reading

It’s an epic alternate history of the Congo that is told over decades and continents from

Being buffeted from one POV to another over and over meant I probably never read more than 20

And the reason I love it is the same reason I struggled with it

This is an ambitious novel that is grappling with colonialism, war, racism, grief, love, and betrayal

Getting so many perspectives means being able to see just how complex these subjects are

And alongside those big ideas are also fascinating, well-rounded characters with complicated relationships with each other

Those books were fun: the pacing and some kind of hook kept me pulled along through the

I rate and review books based on what they’re trying to do, so I’m not

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I often find that how I think of a book will change over time

A book that frustrated me while I was reading it might still be one I’m thinking

I can go one step farther, though: I often recommend books I don’t like, even on

In fact, some of the books I recommend the most are ones I didn’t particularly enjoy

When I worked at a bookstore, I got so many customers who came in looking for a “

The idea seems to be that there are good books and bad, and booksellers, librarians, reviewers, BookTokers,

These gatekeepers heroically filter out the bad books before they can get to your TBR

Of course, the truth is that everyone has different reading tastes, and your favourite book may be

You may be looking for an action-packed plot while I want something focusing on character and theme

I tend to like books that focus on characters more than plot or setting

It’s far more likely for the average reader, especially a casual one, to want a fast-moving

And as strange as it may seem to me, “there are lesbians” isn’t a compelling selling

So, when I hear about someone looking for a fast-moving, funny fantasy series for kids, I’ll

If there’s a particularly troublesome element, I’ll give a heads-up about it, but I won’

Ask about the books they’ve loved — and the ones they’ve hated

Just like gift giving, put the other person’s preferences first instead of just getting them something

Or, as one of the laws of library science puts it: Every person their book