Whose Book Opinion Matters to You & Why?

The other day I was watching a book haul vlog by the heavyblanks, otherwise known as Jason Purcell (@jvpurcell) and he said something that got me thinking. He says (at the 1:12 mark),

This was a book that was recommended to me by a friend of mine, whose opinion on books I trust, more than almost anyone else.

So then, naturally, I grabbed a pen and wrote down, ‘whose book opinion matters to you and why?’ I wanted to think on it and I’m getting older, so writing things down is always helpful (hehe). What I didn’t realize is that it’s actually a hard question to answer, especially when you work in the world of books. There are so many books landing on my desk at a rapid pace that sometimes I pick up something because I read the title description and I form my own opinions. Sometimes, it’s because the second I hear the authors name, I’m instantly drawn to the book. But without fail, there are five people who are always able to convince me to pick up a book based on their opinion and enthusiastic recommendations.

1. My two colleagues (and friends), Jess and Ainsley — These two women read as much as I do and although we all read differently; Jess loves historical fiction, Ainsley’s a fan of mystery and YA and I love me some Canadian literature, yet somehow we always end up reading the same books throughout the year.

Reading Racetrack

As you can see from our annual Reading Racetrack (that we keep up in Ainsely’s office), we read a lot! Last year, each of us read The Dinner by Herman Koch, The Bear by Claire Cameron and The Circle by Dave Eggers. I also picked up books I never would think of reading, because of these two. It was Ainsley who came in raving about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and made me completely jump on the John Green train! And Jess recently had an opportunity to read an advanced copy of Jodi Picoult’s upcoming book Leaving Time and came over to my office with tears in her eyes and said “you need to read this book”. They know my taste, I know there’s and their recommendations have expanded my reading list immensely.

2. Editors Of course, one of the BEST things about working in publishing (in my opinion) are the launch meetings. This is where editors from different divisions share books they’ve recently acquired that will be on sale in upcoming spans (usually, the following year). This is where I heard that BJ Novak was writing a collection of short stories called One More Thing and it’s where I learned about the new David Adams Richards, Crimes Against My Brother. It’s always fun getting to hear what peaked the editors interest and how the plot, theme, character and author, all have a role in deciding to publish a book. Their descriptions of the plot and relationship with the authors are why I walk out of those meetings with more and more titles to add to my TBR pile.

3. Steph from Bella’s Bookshelves — I’ve been following Steph’s blog, Bella’s Bookshelves for years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that Steph and I read very similarly. She, too, loves Canadian literature and always has her finger on the pulse with what’s new and Steph1happening in the CanLit world. Her blog is filled with great reviews and recommendations. It’s why I picked up This Cake is for the Party by Sarah Selecky and why I first picked up the first Harry Potter book.

She doesn’t just review books, she delves into plots in such an intricate and delicate way that you’ll be opening your Goodreads app the moment you finish reading her thoughts.

She’s a  freelance copyeditor, proofreader, and writer (for over ten years now; clients include Thomas Allen, LtdHouse of Anansi PressECW PressUBC Press, and UOP. She also reviews for the Quill & QuireSource.

4. Books on the Nightstand — By far, Books on the Nightstand has to be my nightstand-illuminating1favourite podcast to date. Ann and Michael both have an ability to make you feel like they’re with you at a coffee shop chatting about their latest reads. The number of books I’ve picked up because of their book recommendations exceeds ten, so I’m going to refrain from sharing them all, but trust me, that they know their stuff. They also provide answers to questions and inquiries that viewers send in like, reading aloud to kids and abandoning books. If you’re not already listen to this podcast, I highly suggest starting with this one!

5. Laurie Grassi, Books Editor for Chatelaine Magazine — It was because of her book recommendations that I subscribed to Chatelaine Magazine each month (thanks Mom & Dad for the annual Christmas gift). Her thoughts on AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid are why I picked up both books.

She loves reading and is a familiar face I see out at book events where we always have great chats about the books she and I are reading. Her cover photo on Twitter (@LaurieGrassi) is a dead giveaway about her taste in literature. She knows good books and always recommends them with enthusiasm and excitement. I always find myself walking towards her book recommendations when I step into my local bookstore.

To each and everyone of you listed above, thank you for introducing me to books that I’ll continue to cherish for years to come.

These are the people who influence my reading, but I’d love it if you shared in the comments whose book opinion matters to you and why?



17 thoughts on “Whose Book Opinion Matters to You & Why?

  1. ryandejonghe says:

    I usually spread out and try to get a bunch of people’s opinions on what is out there; I like to keep my reading eclectic.

    I really appreciate this blog, giving me a “behind the scenes” view of the industry.

  2. kmn04books says:

    I met a lot of book lovers during my time as an English major and, when I was getting started, my friend Eden was an amazing source of information in terms of CanLit. We agree on so many issues and when we lived together we would have long discussions about First Nations and literature, women’s rights, etc. She recommended The Birth House by Ami McKay to me (it’s her favourite book!) and though I haven’t read it yet, I know that when I do I will be blown away.

  3. Naomi says:

    I love that bulletin board! My main sources of recommendations are my mother (we have very similar tastes), my good friend (who is also my neighbour), and now there are quite a few book bloggers I have found that I feel confident saying that if they liked it, I will too.
    Great post!

    • LR says:

      My Mom is a huge influence on my reading choices too. Thanks for sharing and saying that you liked the post – it was fun to write.

  4. The Paperback Princess says:

    I’m actually still learning to trust other people’s book recommendations. I do a lot of recommending. My younger sister is one person that I am starting to listen to and I have a couple of friends that read very similarly but in general, I’m the one picking what I read.

    Unrelated but I’m delighted to find that you are the Lindsey in that photo – I’ve followed the Random House instagram for a while and those photos of your reading tallies have always made me curious about WHO those readers are. I definitely read the most similarly to Ainsley!

    • LR says:

      I AM that Lindsey – and we’re at it again this year and it’s so much fun! Ainsley’s a great reader and reads a little bit of everything so be sure to give her a follow on Twitter @AinsleySparkes

      Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Steph says:

    Oh Lindsey! Thank you so much for including me, and for the wonderful things you said! I’ve been following you for years as well, loving your enthusiasm as well as for the awesome books you recommend. I wish I could tell you how many books I’ve read because of you. Thank you, my lovely, sweet friend!!

  6. tanya (52 books or bust) says:

    Since I’ve started blogging I’ve come across quite a few blogger that have almost identical tastes in reading as I do. If they say a book is good, then I’ll read it. And back when I worked in the world of books I had a few trusted colleagues and i would read anything they recommended. They knew my tastes and it worked.

  7. writereads says:

    Great post and thank you for the podcast rec! I already listen to far too many of those, but one more can’t hurt, right?
    There are a good many book bloggers out there whose opinion I trust (many of whom have commented above), a few trusted friends who understand what I enjoy, and Veronica Belmont of The Sword and Laser podcast is my most trusted for sci-fi and fantasy. I just started following Steph the other day and she is amazing! -Tania

  8. Shannon @ River City Reading says:

    That bulletin board is one of the best things I’ve seen!
    Like others have mentioned, there are several bloggers whose reading tastes I’ve started to realize blend really well with mine and I know I can trust when it comes to recommendations. I also turn to several podcasts, including Books on the Nightstand, Literary Disco and BookRiot for great recommendations.

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