"Your TBR is Here!" - my review of Book Riot's Tailored Book Recommendations service
As if my own "to be read" list wasn't already a mile long, stacks of unread books overtaking every room of my house, my backlog of NetGalley ARCs staring at me accusingly every time I open my kindle... last month I signed up for Tailored Book Recommendations (or "TBR"), a quarterly service from Book Riot.
For $16 every 3 months, one of Book Riot's bibliologists will provide three custom book recs based on the info you provide and (optional) your goodreads page. Note: you can upgrade your subscription to $80/quarter and receive physical copies of the books on your list of recommendations. I decided to start out with the email recs only, because I was (am?) a little worried that the recs wouldn't hit the target, or might be books I already have, or... who knows. I have a hard time parting with money when I'm not *exactly* sure what I'll be getting. But depending on how this goes, maybe I'll change my mind!
So I just got a *BrEaKiNg* *NeWs* *aLeRt* (ok, an email) that MY TBR IS HERE. This means I can now log into the TBR website to get my "recommendation letter" - and I thought I might as well jot down alllllll of my thoughts and share the experience with you, dear reader! Please enjoy the following stream of consciousness! Isn't that what blogs are for? (but seriously, what are blogs for... are they still a thing? am I doing this right? honest question)
OKOKOKOKOK. It's HERE! I am weirdly excited about this. Scrolling... my bibliologist says: "it's wonderful to meet an avid reader, especially someone who loves Janet Fitch's White Oleander, one of my all-time favorite books. I hope you absolutely adore these personalized selections." Ok, you've already won me over by 1) sounding like an actual real live human person, and 2) complimenting my taste in books. Words of affirmation are #1 my love language. Book recs are a close second. So I'm ready to be best friends now. WHADDYA GOT FOR ME, NEW BFF?!?!
First rec: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.
"Since you requested 'some older picks from the past few decades' and you love magical realism, I recommend Esquivel’s unforgettable novel. Originally published in Spanish during 1989, this breathtaking masterpiece, translated by Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen, features the youngest De la Garza sister, Tita, whose recipes foreground each chapter and influence everyone who indulges in them."
Off to a good start. I haven't read this one but I've definitely heard of it... Let me go stalk it on goodreads real quick to read the blurb and see what my friends say about it. Because god forbid I just dive into something without more research (I am sure this says something about me and I need to go to therapy for whatever that is). Described as "Earthy, magical, and utterly charming." SOLD. Plus 5 star reviews from lots of my friends?!? Very excited about this one!
Second rec: Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir by T Kira Madden
"Because you’re interested in memoir and gave Chanel Miller’s Know My Name five stars, I suggest Madden’s powerful debut about addiction, familial secrets, friendship, grief, and love. This stunning coming-of-age memoir reflects on the author’s upbringing in Boca Raton, Florida."
I'm completely unfamiliar with this book and author, with no reviews from goodreads friends to guide me. I couldn't even find a mention of it in our 2500-lady-lawyer-strong Bibliophile, esq facebook group! Totally unchartered waters! That's pretty intriguing, and based on other reviews this one sounds fascinating and gorgeously written. I am loving memoirs lately, too. Especially via audiobook- there's just something about listening to a vulnerable memoirist tell their own story in their own voice. Speaking of #ownvoices, Madden's story is about her experience growing up as a biracial and queer teen.
Third rec: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
"You’re drawn to multigenerational stories and like literary fiction, so I selected Ward’s third novel. Gorgeous and haunting, this character-driven family saga is set in fictional Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and examines ghosts, grief, healing, history, motherhood, and so much more. This award-winning author is a must-read of mine, and I hope you fall in love with her stunning backlist, too."
I have picked this up at the bookstore SO. MANY. TIMES. and for some reason I just haven't pulled the trigger. This is just the push I needed! Described in reviews as lyrical, macabre, musical, magical, mezmerizing... okay, this is shooting right to the top of my must-read list.
"As a welcome gift, a bonus recommendation: Seeing you’ve read V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and are reading Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January this month for your book club, have you read Silvia Moreno-Garcia? I enjoyed Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic."
Oooh. I've heard rave reviews of Mexican Gothic, so I will definitely check both of these out.
The Verdict? I loved TBR's recs. Without actually reading the books it's hard to tell whether the recommendations are spot-on or not, but they all look fantastic and are choices I may have overlooked or missed completely otherwise. I'll be back to let you know what I thought of these picks once I've read them!
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