Why Do You Like to talk about and Recommend books that You've Read?

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
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#1
This is probably one the the silliest questions I've ever asked . If so , my apologies for asking. But of late I've been asking myself why I do it and why I constantly recommend the same list books to people.

Many of the books that I recommend tend to be decades old and in many cases older, out of print and and not well known to today's readers. Why do I recommend them ? Because they are great books that should not be forgotten or discounted because they are old. These books and writers do matter because they are the foundation of everything that has come afterwards. Without them, we would have far less to enjoy. I cannot write fiction , ive tried, I don't have the talent, but i can appreciate good writing . When I recommend great old books to people who have never read them or heard of of the writers who wrote them , Im doing two very important things, increasing their knowledge and opening up whole new worlds to them. In effect I'm trying to do my part to make a difference in the world by keeping alive the memories of these writers and the books that they've written.

And yes There are plenty of great modern writers that I like and recommend as well . :)(y)
 
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Randy M.

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#2
1) What you said about old books.
1a) I'd add that in some cases, while the concept or premise may have been used again and again, it wasn't improved on, so I see it as paying forward to alert younger readers or readers with less access to those books to look out for them.
1b) Also, one of my early pleasures in reading s.f. was finding older work so I had an idea of the genre's history. I was lucky in that I began reading s.f. -- late '70s -- when a good deal of older work was being reissued or, in the case of short stories, re-packaged; plus, there were dozens of used bookstores around almost any city you went to and you could find old editions cheap.

2) With still living writers, it’s a way to try and bolster their fan base and keep them in print.
2a) You can’t read everything, there’s too much. If someone tells me of a great book that escaped my attention, I’m grateful, so again I try to pay it forward.

3) Talking about books leads to seeing them from different perspectives. For instance, in Toby Frost’s forum Toby, Theophania Elliot and I are discussing The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Theophania approached it from a direction I wouldn’t have thought of, and Toby … is just wrong J, but it’s interesting to read his perspective that it’s a good character study but a failed ghost story. Because he’s articulate, Toby gets across his reasons and I can understand them even though I disagree.

Randy M.
 

dannymcg

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#3
I'm very glad people feel they should do these recommendations. Since I joined this site I've had a good few messages with lists of books that, in the main, I'd never heard of.
Plus scouring the forums and copy/pasting titles to my browser.
The lists you can find online are good but depressingly similar so once you go through the first fifty or so books it's deja vu all over again
 

Inari Writer

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#4
All good points.

I agree that newer readers, and particularly newer writers, should have a chance to read older books that have influenced the genre.

It helps people to find the more original and innovative work in the current market after all. And it helps writers to make their own innovations.

Incidentally; I can recommend a modern book which is largely about the wonder of classic sff and how it can help people through tough times - Among Others by Jo Walton.
 

Randy M.

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#5
Incidentally; I can recommend a modern book which is largely about the wonder of classic sff and how it can help people through tough times - Among Others by Jo Walton.
On the TBR I hope for later this year. Also pertinent to this thread, Walton's What Makes this Book so Great?, her love letter to the books -- mainly s.f. -- that she loves.


Randy M.
 

Theophania Elliott

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#6
I like to read, therefore I like to discuss books.

I think it's a natural desire to share what makes us feel something strongly - whether we love it or hate it.

One of the things I most enjoy is discussing a book with someone who comes to it with a slightly different perspective (or a massively different perspective!) - providing people are willing to have a civilised discussion. If you only talk to people who think the same as you, you never learn anything new. Thinking about The Haunting of Hill House, I'm struck by how different people get completely different things out of it. I can certainly see why it could be regarded as a 'failed ghost story', because, to be honest, in the blood-dripping-down-the-walls stakes, it's pretty anaemic. It's much more of a psychological haunting, and there's not much that couldn't be explained by hysteria and delusions. For some people, that does not a ghost story make.

And some people get nothing out of Hill House - I've read some of the reviews on Goodreads, written by people who didn't seem to get anything out of it at all.

I wonder if Hill House functions as a sort of mirror - what you get out of it depends largely on what your life experiences (and possibly book experiences) have been so far. I haven't read much horror, so the lack of blood and screaming didn't bother me much; on the other hand, I could very much relate to Eleanor.

So talking to others about a book you've both read can give you new insights into it, and perhaps increase your enjoyment and understanding of it further.

And it's fun. :)
 

Extollager

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#7
In answer to the thread question --

One reason is gratitude. C. S. Lewis wrote, at the end of his little book An Experiment in Criticism (which I wish you all would read), "Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realise the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors." Even when I'm not reading, my consciousness is liable to be affected, more than I realize, by my reading (of course also by what I have heard in conversation, etc.). I doubt that I can go for a five-minute walk without my perception being affected, probably without my being aware of it, by my reading. Among other things this has conduced to my ability to be happy in a small town in rural North Dakota, enjoying the light, sky, colors, shapes, sounds, textures -- so that though I might not actually be thinking "How would I describe this, how would I use words?", my way of seeing is fairly close to what it would need to be to write about it. It would be easy to move from the way I'm perceiving it to writing about it. (Not every moment, but probably at points during every walk.) What a boon that is. I would like others to experience it too. So it's not just a matter of recommending particular books, but of liking it when "books" come up in conversation. "You, too," I sense.

If any of what I just said appeals to you, along with the Lewis book I would recommend Owen Barfield's Poetic Diction, which despite the title is not a book of advice on how to write poetry. It is about language, creative imagination, consciousness. Also his History in English Words. There are people at Chrons who have never read, maybe never heard, Barfield, but who, should they get into these books (also Saving the Appearance), might find he is indispensable to them.

Here's Malcolm Guite, author of the excellent book Mariner on Coleridge, talking to the Temenos Academy in London. He is introduced by Grevel Lindop, author of excellent biographies of Thomas de Quincey and Charles Williams. Guite and Lindop are both poets.

 

psikeyhackr

Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental
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#9
On average, authors are more intelligent and knowledgeable than people you normally encounter. So reading has resulted in my having what I think is a broader perspective than I otherwise would have. Partly that is one think I find odd about my so called education, in retrospect. I can't recall a single teacher recommending a book that was not in the curriculum. I wonder if this was school policy because schools might not want parents after the school for a teacher's actions.

I learned about atheism and agnosticism from science fiction. But since I was attending a Catholic school I was escaping the box.

But reading takes up time and it is all very well for a book to be "fun" but I think it should have a more lasting effect than that. So I usually don't recommend a book unless I think it is more than just fun.

psik
 

Ignited Moth

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#10
If I really enjoy something I like to share it with other people so they can hopefully find joy from it too. :)
I do it with all sorts of things: books, films, recipes, etc.
It's also important to me because it may help to support the author by introducing more people to their work. If someone has taken the time to create something so wonderful that I genuinely enjoyed reading it I feel as if I should spread the word. Pay it forward, I guess.
But books are especially fun to talk about and recommend when you find a good one because the author has managed to spin a tale in just such a way that these words they've arranged on paper are capable of making strangers truly connect to it and feel something from it. It's so impressive in my opinion. Reading a book is not a passive activity. It requires the reader to use their imagination and to speculate at what is coming next in the story. A good book is thrilling and allows us to build connections with the characters. It's an exciting experience in its own way, so it's also just plain fun to talk about and gush to other readers about. :p
 

The Bluestocking

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#13
I do talk about books I read *if* they have left a strong impression on me/got a strong reaction out of me. Everything else in between (i.e. the ones that make me go "meh") don't get talked about unless I'm asked.

My recommendations happen in several ways:
  • In my private geek groups - if I read something I love tremendously, I'd recommend the book/series to folks with much enthusiasm.
  • On Chrons - I sometimes join in the "What are you reading this month" thread and record my responses to the books I've been reading there.
  • If I'm asked - If someone asks me to recommend books of a certain genre/flavour, I'd respond.
  • In my Goodreads reviews - I've only just started doing this because some Chronners have books out and asked me for reviews.
  • Indirectly through my work - my anti-Violence Against Women charity works with many award-winning and/or bestselling authors and we do our due diligence before we invite them. We're spot on 99% of the time because the vast majority of the time, authors' stories reflect their worldviews whether they do it consciously or not. So being invited to our Read For Pixels campaign is usually the unofficial seal of approval.
 

EJ Heijnis

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#14
This is probably one the the silliest questions I've ever asked . If so , my apologies for asking. But of late I've been asking myself why I do it and why I constantly recommend the same list books to people.

Many of the books that I recommend tend to be decades old and in many cases older, out of print and and not well known to today's readers. Why do I recommend them ? Because they are great books that should not be forgotten or discounted because they are old. These books and writers do matter because they are the foundation of everything that has come afterwards. Without them, we would have far less to enjoy. I cannot write fiction , ive tried, I don't have the talent, but i can appreciate good writing . When I recommend great old books to people who have never read them or heard of of the writers who wrote them , Im doing two very important things, increasing their knowledge and opening up whole new worlds to them. In effect I'm trying to do my part to make a difference in the world by keeping alive the memories of these writers and the books that they've written.

And yes There are plenty of great modern writers that I like and recommend as well . :)(y)
I mostly recommend books because I want other people to have the same awesome experience I had when I read them. When friends or acquaintances mention having an interest which I happen to own literature about, I'll offer to lend what I have. It feels good to share books. :giggle:
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
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#17
Ive picked up writers all over , Bookstore and online recommendations, Books mentioned in other writers books. :)
 

JoanDrake

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#18
I've stopped talking about books I've read some time ago, when people started to actually get mad at me for having recommended one or the other, and I don't recall I ever did that to anyone. Though quite a few have recommended books I didn't like I was always polite if they should ask, but lots of people act like they're really offended that I wasted their time, so I stopped doing it. I wonder why that is, I don't think I gush.
 

psikeyhackr

Physics is Phutile, Fiziks is Fundamental
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#19
I've stopped talking about books I've read some time ago, when people started to actually get mad at me for having recommended one or the other.
Yeah, that's a problem. Different people like or dislike books for different reasons. And then there are people who won't quit reading a book once they have started even if they don't like it.

For some reason lots of people say they like the works of Philip K. Dick. I don't. That is why I read reviews by Jo Walton. She says she does not like PKD either.

psik
 

Vertigo

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#20
I try to write down a few thoughts on every book I read whether I liked it or not. I find the process helps me appreciate the books better and, possibly, scratch the surface of just why I like some and dislike others. It also makes me read a little more critically; some might feel that could detract from the enjoyment of the story but I find it enhances my enjoyment of a good story and makes me more willing to give up and avoid wasting my time on a bad one. Posting these thoughts in the Chrons Review forum sometimes results in some discussion with others which, again, is something I enjoy and, particularly in the case of a good book, can extend my enjoyment of the book over a longer period of time.

I rarely actually recommend books; I'm acutely aware that when it comes to books it really is horses for courses. I don't say I never recommend books, just rarely.
 

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