Recommending books — a little like matchmaking?

I’ve always found recommending books to be a little like matchmaking . . . . you know, you size up your friends and think about their likes and dislikes, and then you run through your mental list of your favorite books until you think “AHA! I know the perfect book for that person.” And so you make the recommendation and then sit back, a bit nervously, hoping that it will work out, because of course your recommendation is also a reflection of you and what you think of your friend. It’s hard not to take it a little personally, after all, when your friend says “What were you thinking? I kept trying but I couldn’t get past page 32.” On the other hand, what a feeling of glee when your friend emails you to say “I stayed up until 1 in the morning reading and I don’t want the story to end!”

Here’s a sampling of the book recommendations from the Friends’ February board meeting. Your poor scribe could not write fast enough to get the reports down verbatim, but this will give you a general idea (think 2-line Weekly personals ad) of the promised attractions. I hope one of these ends up being a perfect match for you!

Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar: “This book answers the age-old question of what is the purpose of life . . . . i.e., to be happy. I was glued to it! When I was young I thought the goal was to be happy all the time, and of course it isn’t that at all.”

The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike. “The women featured in this novel were first seen in Updike’s earlier book The Witches of Eastwick, but it picks up 30 years later – and you don’t need to have read the earlier book. It reminded me of how a really good writer can convey images and feelings so effectively in a compact fashion.” Special note: An autographed John Updike novel (unsure of which novel at this time) will be available at the Spring Booksale Auction, so Updike fans and autograph hounds should make sure to look for it at the Auction.

Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman: “This juvenile fiction book won a Newberry Awards Honor Book designation and tells the charming tale of a medieval girl whose father wants to marry her off to the highest bidder, and of her efforts to thwart his plans.”

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, and Diane Eyer: “This was a good reminder to just let kids play. We get so hung up sometimes on making them do things when we should just give them a chance to relax.”

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: “This is a fictional book of letters between a group living on the Isle of Guernsey in Britain during World War II and a young woman who is the author. I’m listening to the audio version, and I do not want it to end! When it ends I’ll feel like I’m losing a group of friends and will have to go into mourning.”

Just click on the links in this post and it will take you to the SPL site to reserve your copies today.


4 thoughts on “Recommending books — a little like matchmaking?

  1. that’s a funny analogy. I know what you mean about recommending books. I recommend Man in the Dark by Paul Auster. An older insomniac book critic tells himself stories to get to sleep at night. All the action in the book takes place in one sleepless night. It’s a quick read that deals with the idea of parallel universes and ways that people cope.

  2. Yay, more book recommendations! I’ve really found the new feature of the user book reviews on the SPL website useful too. I have had the pleasure of enjoying 3 good books based on other user’s input. Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian”, “The Zoo Keeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman and “The Last Chinese Chef” by Nicole Mones.

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