How to Give the Perfect Book Recommendation by Olivia

I have always been the type of person that carries a book with them wherever they go. I cannot remember a time when I was not enthralled with a new plot twist or cliffhanger. My friends and relatives have taken notice of this habit, and, as a result, I am often asked for book recommendations.

Over time, I have definitely honed this skill, which is an incredibly important one. Far too often, students and adults alike become discouraged from reading, and I believe that this could be because these books were not personally meaningful to them. This is an unfortunate issue because I think that there is a book out there for everyone. With the sheer magnitude of books published every single day, it is only logical to believe that everyone has a “perfect book,” a literary soulmate, which tells a personally compelling story that fits their reading style.

Some questions to ask yourself when trying to give a book recommendation include:


What genre of television or movies does this person enjoy?

Typically, the content and the way it is relayed in visual media is very similar to that of novels. For example, knowing that this person really enjoyed the hit sci-fi show, “Stranger Things,” might lead you to recommend Ender’s Game, a very popular sci-fi book.


What characters would they relate to?

If you know the person well, you will likely be familiar with their personality type. If this person typically identifies with motivated academics, you might recommend The Legend series by Marie Lu, for its hardworking protagonist. You can also consider their friend group and who they surround themselves with, as they would likely relate to a narrator similar to their best friend.


What type of narration would they enjoy?

This question also depends on the person’s personality, as they might enjoy a first-person narration if they like having a deeper understanding of one specific character. On the other hand, they might enjoy third-person narration to get a broader scope of the action.


What hasn’t worked for this person in the past?

Having a knowledge of what hasn’t fit this person’s reading style is extremely helpful, as you will be able to stray away from that type of genre or narration. If this person really disliked that historical fiction novel from English class, look for a different genre which might better relate to them and their lives.


What kind of story would pertain to their lives?

Another thing to consider is their current situation. If this person often asks questions about you and your life, an autobiography might be the most meaningful story to them. Similarly, if this person is planning on going to film school, they might enjoy a technical novel about the realities of working on a set.

In summation, when giving a book recommendation, it is important to consider the person. What works for you might not work for them and vice versa. Knowing what this person is interested in and what they typically enjoy can be helpful, but when in doubt, recommending the latest bestseller that you enjoyed doesn’t hurt. The important thing is that you are spreading your love of literacy, which makes the world a better place.


Posted on March 8, 2017, in Editorial Board Essay. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’ve never thought about this topic in such a way! This will definitely get me thinking the next time someone ask me for book recommendations.

  2. Ooh, this is really helpful, Natalie! 🙂

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