I received a free trial of Anne Knows Books in exchange for my feedback and honest review.
When I was invited to a free trial of Anne Knows Books, I was intrigued. The idea of having someone take the time to learn your tastes in books and recommend books for you personally seemed very fun and kind of decadent to me. Honestly, it’s not a service I would have tried had I not been offered a free trial. I have a very hard time saying no to ARCs, so I typically accept as many as I can, which means paying to have another book to read every month didn’t sound like something I needed. However, I enjoyed the service enough that I’d like to share it with you since I think some of you might really enjoy it.
Here’s how it works. For $3 per recommendation, you can get a recommendation once every 1, 2, or 3 months. When you join, you fill out a questionnaire about the things that you take into account when you choose a book. Some of them are multiple choice, but there are also a number of short answer questions that I felt could do a good job of capturing most of the things I take into account when choosing a book.
My first recommendation was The Shoemaker’s Wife. This seemed like a perfect fit in a lot of ways. I’ve been loving historical fiction lately and I can’t get enough of dual narratives. The description included the phrase “star-crossed lovers” which is something I usually avoid because I find things nearly working out in books very frustrating. On that count, I was wrong to be worried. The star-crossed-ness of the lovers was fine; however, there was an element of insta-love I disliked. Although the book was in part recommended to me for the beautiful writing, the writing style didn’t entirely work for me. I found the descriptions overwrought, slowing down the narrative without showing truly beautiful use of language. This isn’t a book I’d have picked up on my own, I haven’t seen it reviewed very often by other bloggers, and it was published in 2012.
I think my experience illustrates both the perks and dangers of having someone else pick out a book for you. It’s hard to write down everything you know you like or dislike in a book. For instance, I didn’t think to put “star-crossed lovers” in the box for things I avoid in books. You can also, of course, have different taste then the person recommending the book, as in the case of the writing. Fortunately, there is an opportunity for feedback with Anne Knows Books. Whoever recommends your book shares why they recommended it and you can let them know what you liked or disliked about their choice when you’re done reading. This means that you can continue to update your list of things you like and dislike and as the person recommending the book learns your tastes, I anticipate that recommendations would get better.
The good thing about having someone else pick out a book for you is that it might push you to pick up something you wouldn’t usually and you might find that something that usually bothers you (like star-crossed lovers) can be something you enjoy. I also think it could be a great help to readers looking for backlist titles to enjoy. I know a lot of blogger reviews focus on the newest books, but if you want something you can get from library without a wait, older titles can be the way to go. If you’re looking to branch out and try a new genre, you could get a recommendation in that genre or if you’re someone who has a hard time finding a book you like, this could be a good way to enlist some help. While I don’t think I’ll be using Anne Knows Books myself (at least not until I have a shorter to-read pile!), I’m hopeful some of you might find the service helpful. If you’d like to try it out, I’m excited to share with you a promo code for one free recommendations. Just enter “doingdewey” when you sign-up!