Alright, it’s the holiday season, and now more than ever the question of what to get your favorite book nerd is hugely important. The answer is books you guys. Obviously. But wait, don’t leave just yet. I’ll get lonely. Plus, picking out a book for another person and either recommending it when they ask for new titles or giving it to them is far from an easy task.
I’ve talked about what it’s like to get weird, random book suggestions from people in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to alienate your friend or have them question your sanity when you recommend some book they’ll only pretend to read to please you, or a book they’ll take one look at and then decide to cut you out of their lives forever based on something probably being wrong with your brain.
It can be hard to think objectively about what another person might truly want out of a book. If your favorite bibliophile has asked you for recommendations or demanded books for the holidays without giving you any titles like a sneaky little badger, here are some tips to help you choose wisely.
1. Calm Down Your Own Inner Book Nerd
Being friends with a book nerd might mean you yourself are passionate about books. Yes, that passion can help you choose some insightful books, but remember that you need to be catering to someone else’s inner book nerd and not your own. As close as you two may be, you may prefer thrillers while she prefers fantasy. She may like comic books while you like cook books.
It’s okay to try and introduce them to a slightly different title you’ve read that you think they might like, but only if you’re legitimately sure this is a book with hooks for them and you aren’t just pushing a title you love, like a eerily smiling cult recruiter. If you’re imitating any behavior similar to how I acted during my Twilight phase, you’re doing something wrong. I learned that through bitter experience, and it’s a rule of thumb I think more people should follow. WWTD? (What Would Twi-hards Do?) Now don’t do that. Stop it. Listen to your dad. He doesn’t want to read New Moon. Edward’s hardly even in that one, and you know he’s Team Edward.
2. Look for Trends
If your beloved book nerd is into a continuing series, things couldn’t be simpler. Just pick up one or more books from the series you know she doesn’t have. Picking books by an author you know they admire is also a great idea, as is picking books similar to the ones you know they like. This is simple advice that might seem hard to follow in practice. How do you know which ones to pick? Fear not.
If you are out of your genre familiarity depth when looking at your friend’s favorite books, look for help. I’ve been to bookstores and libraries with plenty of displays set up on a “Like this read that”premise. You could maybe even ask a real, in-the-flesh person for help, as scary as that may sound. That’s what bookstore employees and librarians are for. They are paid to help you with this sort of thing. They are mostly very helpful and almost never bite or… Oh, the internet. Duh. I almost forgot dear old internet. Never mind this then! People are scary. Let’s go online.
3. Dear Old Internet!
As always, your friendly neighborhood world wide web has plenty of ways to help you pick out a good book for a friend. Ideally, your friend is on a site like Good Reads, where you can publicly view a list of books they have read, are reading, and would very much like to read if only someone would just pay attention and give them a copy already. If you want to make further recommendations based off those titles but can’t for some reason, the internet will definitely do it for you.
Maybe your friend blogs or vlogs or vines or whatever about their favorite books. I hear that’s what all the amazingly smart and beautiful people do on the interwebs. Secretly reading over and over what your friend has to say about this or that book is a much sneakier way to pick out a good title than making them personally repeat their must-read list five times to you as you scribble away on a notepad.
Really, though, the best advice I could possibly offer is to give your friend the great gift of an excellent blog that covers issues concerning book nerds and reviews a wide variety of titles. Follow this magical link. Give it to all of your friends, and they’ll truly find a present worth reading.
Whaaaat?! You’re somehow all back here now, magically? It’s a Christmas miracle!