How to recommend a book

Mrs Phelps - illustration by Quentin Blake

  1. Don’t expect them to read it.
  2. Don’t inquire if they’ve read it. Ever.
  3. If there’s a book that's truly worth your proselytizing, buy a separate copy and never ask for it to be returned. Lending someone a book is essentially the same as saying, 'here, do this thing you probably don't have time for.'
  4. Know your audience. Don't be the guy who hands off Franzen to the girl who only reads chick lit novels.
  5. Never recommend a book to improve someone, or enlighten someone--that's just arrogant, and will likely backfire anyhow. Instead, recommend good stories.