Sitting at the table for our morning meal at a bed and breakfast a couple weeks ago, I happened to mention to all the guests that I was a librarian. A woman at the other end of the table blurted out, “Oh, I love to read. What book should I read now?” After a short pause she added, “I like historical books.”
Now I read a lot—two or more hours a day on MARTA gives me plenty of time to bury myself in a book. Still, whenever I’m asked to recommend a book, my mind instantly goes blank. Then when I do think of a title, my next thought is, “That’s a terrible recommendation. Everyone has already read that. You’re a librarian—can’t you think of something that isn’t on the NYT Bestseller Lists?”
In this particular instance, the only book I could think of was one that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. I was sure she must have already read it. But I had no other ideas. So I asked her, “Have you read All the Light We Cannot See?”
She hadn’t even heard of it.
And this was a woman who loved to read, liked historical books, and even came down to breakfast with her Kindle.
So I’ve decided I need to stop making assumptions about the books that everyone has read, and need instead to simply recommend good books.
Here are a few books that “everyone” has read. If you’re not yet among that everyone, I recommend putting these on your to-read list:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Often people follow the crowd for the sake of following the crowd.
But sometimes people follow the crowd because the crowd is going in the right direction.