The worst thing about being an avid reader is that people think they can just hand you books that they loved and you will love them. Or, worse, they hand you books that someone they know “who just loves to read as much as you do” loved and assume that you will feel an unspoken kinship with their sister/travel-agent/brother/drug-connection/lover/former-classmate/friend/niece because you both ~*~read books~*~.
But books are not socks, or even bottles of wine. They aren’t one size fits all. I don’t want to read your torture porn or your eight hundred page vampire drama romance history or your guide to robotics. I want to read the next book on my to read list, not yours. Maybe I want to read it because my favorite author recommended it on her twitter, or because I love the cover, or because NetGalley gave it to me to review for free. Maybe I actually am reading a book you recommended. But wanting to read a book isn’t like settling for Coke when you really wanted Pepsi.
Wanting to read isn’t like having a hole that I fill with words. I don’t read because books exist. I read because I want to laugh, or maybe because I am in the mood to cry, or maybe I want to be scared, or see a person as in love as I am even though they are in an entirely different world.
I don’t like to mention how much I like reading to people. Not because I’m embarrassed, but because I don’t want recommendations. I am also made exceedingly uncomfortable by people who ask me for recommendations. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s that I have no idea what you want. You may love the book that kept me up until 1am on a work night or you may hate it, and I don’t want you to hate me by extension (PS sorry, Minerva, for recommending Cinder, I just really loved it). If you want a recommendation, tell me what you love and tell me what you hate. Just don’t give me a recommendation in return.