I think it was Kassia Krozser formerly of Booksquare who coined the phrase “circle of trust” as it relates to your book reader friends who you rely upon to give you recommendations. No reader can be without that circle. One of the reasons we have open threads like yesterday is so that readers can communicate with other readers about books they’ve been reading and what they’d recommend. For a voracious reader, the most difficult question can often be “what do I read next?”
At times I feel much like the exasperated person standing in front of his or her closet and muttering, “I have nothing to wear” even as the drawers can’t close because of all the clothes stuffed inside. Many of us have mountains of books to read, but we feel we have nothing so we turn to our friends and ask for recommendations.
And many of our friends are online ones that we’ve cultivated from message board interactions and email loops and twitter exchanges because few of us have romance reader friends in real life. I have one in real life romance reader friend but she and I have almost no overlapping circles of reading interest.
The trusted recommender is one of the most vital positions a reader can occupy. For me, Susan Scribner of the now defunct The Romance Reader was my first trusted recommender. She got me to read outside my comfort zone. Because of her wonderful and thoughtful reviews, I discovered books like Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever and Sally Mandel’s Out of the Blue featuring a heroine with MS.
Shelly, from my email loop, encouraged me to read fantasy books. I read George RR Martin’s first three books, then the Tiger & Del series by Jennifer Roberson (talk about a kick ass heroine), Sharon Shinn’s Angel series, and The Belgariad series by David Eddings (which I like to refer to as the anti Martin because while there are adventures nothing bad happens to the characters I love).
Keishon is another favored recommender. I read Karin Slaughter and PJ Tracey’s stories based on her recommendation. And it was Keishon who got me to read The Bronze Horseman over ten years ago.
I don’t still read all of the above authors, but the books I noted above were all books that I would never have read without the reviews and fabulous interactions with other readers. Currently my trusted circle of readers is peopled by mostly romance readers. Angela James, Elyssa Patrick, and KatiD regularly influence me. Jayne is my go to for traditional historical romances. I succumbed to reading Last Hour of Gann by non stop posts from Jessica Clare.
The trust circle is so vital because we’re constantly looking for something good to read. It’s not about the money so much as it is about the time. When you devote hours to something, you want it to be great no matter if you paid $12 for it or got the book for free.
Share with us your trusted reader’s circle and what recommended books you read that you might not have found on your own.