I went to a booksigning this past Saturday. While I was sitting there smiling at Barnes & Noble customers and in between signing books, a lady walked in. She looked me up and down, and ignoring the stack of books with their very obvious romance covers beside me, she said, “what kind of books do you write?” I said, of course, “historical romances.” Then she asked, “are they clean?” I pondered this for a moment, both because they were brand new books and as such were very clean, and because I had a very good idea where this conversation was heading. Anyway, I said, “No.” She sneered at me, said, “that’s too bad, isn’t it?” and walked away.
Now. I could have said something about how Taming an Impossible Rogue was about two people who fall in love, save each other, and have a loving, supportive, monogamous and adult relationship. Ooo, how dirty. But clearly this woman wanted to say something snarky to someone, and she wasn’t going to like anything I had to say to her.
In other words, she probably wouldn’t have liked any book I recommended to her – and if I may, vice versa. On the other hand, when Karen Hawkins – who has never insulted me and who likes many of the same movies, TV shows, and books that I do – recommends a book to me, I purchase it. The lady at my dentist’s office who I’ve only ever seen filing and polishing her nails and chewing gum, not so much. Likewise the guy down the street who likes to tune his ATV’s at 3 a.m. and then ride them up and down the street. I don’t like him, so I certainly wouldn’t be inclined to listen to his book recommendations.
When Oprah used to have her book club, I knew to avoid those books. Not that I didn’t respect Oprah, but it didn’t take long to figure out that she tended not to select light-hearted reads with happy endings. Personally, I prefer to close a book feeling better than when I opened it.
Do you read a book based on someone else’s recommendations? Who are your best recommenders? And whether you’re friends or not, are there people whose idea of a good book doesn’t mesh with yours? Should I have pantsed that woman?