Books I’m Afraid to Recommend

Books I’m Afraid to Recommend

You all know I read a lot, and recommend a lot of books here on Modern Mrs Darcy. What you may not know is that I’m really careful about what books I recommend here on the blog.

There are some books that I’ve loved that I wouldn’t dream of recommending to you without a gigantic flashing warning sign. It’s because I’m afraid you’ll absolutely hate them–usually because of the language, sometimes because of the content.

Today I’m taking you behind the scenes and sharing some of the books I’m afraid to recommend. Consider yourself warned.

The Grief Recovery Handbook

The Grief Recovery Handbook

This terrific guide is one of the best books I've never heard of. But what a downer. Unresolved grief may be a major issue in many people's lives, but that doesn't mean they want to read about it in a blog post. Or at least, that's what's kept me from recommending it to you. More info →
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)

Author:
Jen from Conversion Diary calls the Bloggess “The Blogger That I Cannot Link To,” and for these same reasons I’m afraid to recommend her to you:

I know. Bad etiquette. But I simply don’t have the vocabulary to craft a content warning that would be strong enough to give readers unfamiliar with her writing a proper idea of what they might find there. Ten f-bombs, to be sure. But also discussion of insane taxidermy experiments. Pictures of insane taxidermy experiments. Sexual references that would make Hugh Hefner blush. And that’s just in the first paragraph.

More info →
Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Author:
Leman is one of my favorite marriage and family authors: his Birth Order Book deserves to be in the next installment of The Books That Changed My Life. But I haven't recommended this one because:

1. It’s about sex.

2. I’m not 100% on board with all his advice.

3. Sometimes his tone makes me cringe.

More info →
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

Author:
I recently recommended this one to my mom after I’d read the first few chapters, because Tim Ferriss’s diet and exercise advice was surprisingly solid. But then, I got to the sex part. The subtitle should have clued me in: “An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman.” But since I borrowed this book from the library for my Kindle, I never saw the cover–or the subtitle–and was completely surprised by the sex part. When I got there I was super embarrassed I’d recommended this one to my mother. I’m praying she just forgot I ever said anything about this book. More info →

If you’d like to check out some books I’m not afraid to recommend, check out my reading guides.

If you ever have any questions about any book I mention here on Modern Mrs Darcy or over on Goodreads, don’t hesitate to ask! I’d be happy to help you figure out if a book I’ve mentioned sounds like it would be a good choice for you.

What books do you love, but hesitate to recommend?

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78 comments

  1. Melissa Daly says:

    I’ve read all those books. And while they are shocking, I enjoy them because they are so real and FUNNY. I read and enjoy the books, “Little Bee” and “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky”. Both are shockingly real. As a mom, I really feel for women who deal with struggles in their life. I recommended these books to my mom but had a huge WARNING, WARNING before handing them over. I don’t know if I could recommend them to other people because others might think of me as being troubled. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your secret.

  2. Joe Joe says:

    You linked back to this post, so this is the first time I’ve seen it. I completely agree about Sheet Music. It’s so helpful, but as a woman I really didn’t appreciate the tone. I don’t know if that was what you meant about the tone, but that was my biggest hang-up. Plenty of people I know love the book and don’t see it, so I feel ok about recommending to people, you know, if that sort of thing comes up in conversation.

  3. Angela says:

    I feel this way about lots of books. One that comes immediately to mind is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini–so incredibly moving and like having your face held up to a burning fire and being unable to look away; but so disturbing and graphic that I don’t recommend it to anyone that I am not 100% sure could handle it without disowning me. But just because you can’t share a book you love with everyone, doesn’t mean it can’t have it’s full impact on you.
    “Be careful what books you read, for as water tastes of the soil it runs through, so does the soul taste of the authors that a man reads.” — John Trapp

    • Anne says:

      I resonate with this. I started The Kite Runner years ago knowing next to nothing and was deeply disturbed by how things unfolded. I still haven’t picked it back up; not sure if I ever will.

      • Angela says:

        It’s definitely on my list of “I’m so glad I read it, it affected me deeply, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again” books. None of his others has had the same visceral effect on me.

      • Lisa says:

        I haven’t read The Kite Runner but it is on the reading list for many high school english classes. To have adults say it bothers them makes me question why it needs to be on a teenager’s reading list. But I feel the same way about Night — it was depressing and left you without hope.

        • Laura Bourdo says:

          The Kite Runner, for me, was a profoundly hope-filled and healing experience. A significant factor in the storyline, however, is a male on male rape and the ramifications of that event. To me, this aspect of the story fed more into the religious and political implications of the plot – even moreso than the emotional/psychological. It was not, by any means, a gratuitous addition by the author. For me, that’s what makes sexual violence hard for me to read about – when I feel that it’s been written in for the shock value, and doesn’t legitimately drive the story line. The Kite Runner is primarily a story of redemption.

          • Lisa says:

            Ah. Thank you for this reply. I would have to agree with you as to the inclusion of this part of the story, since it seems to be a key part of the narrative. I will have to read this — it has been on my list for a long time and it sounds like it is worth the time.

  4. Pam says:

    A Little Life is the best book I’ve read in years, but I’m afraid there’s not a single person I would recommend it to.
    Middlesex is another favorite that I pretty much keep to myself, but when I find someone that I know will appreciate it, I recommend it highly!

    • Jennifer says:

      I completely agree with you about A Little Life. One of my favorite books of all time, but I can’t think of a single person I could recommend it to.

    • Linda Martin-Desy says:

      I agree with your assessment…..I have read both of those books and A Little Life is on my short list of best books I have ever read; however, I am reluctant to recommend to just anybody. I also loved Middlesex.

      • Melanie says:

        Adored A Little Life and recommend it often with the caveat that while it’s content makes it a difficult read, it is also quite moving and beautifully written.

  5. Megan W says:

    I love Jenny Lawson’s books! I’ve gifted Let’s Pretend This Never Happened to do many people!! My mother, grandmother, and father all loved it! Her second book is also very powerful and moving and helpful for anyone who struggles with mental illness or anyone who knows someone who does.

  6. A very late comment, but I totally understand the feeling. At least two of my 5 star books this year I haven’t recommended to many people…both because they’re slower, character-driven novels with somewhat dislikable narrators that I assume will turn lots of people off.
    I’ve also noticed over time that I’m more likely to put a book I might have rated 4 or 4.5 stars and recommended to everyone I know on my Best Books of the Year List over a 5 star book that I don’t recommend that often. It’s funny how “times recommended” can change my opinion of a book.

  7. Paige says:

    I just read this link ..
    I felt that way after I recommended John Irvings
    Hotel New Hampshire to my sister.
    To me this was relatively tame , but my sister , not knowing anything about him or or novels (and more of a chick-lit type)
    was a bit shocked .
    Such a great story !

  8. Laura Bourdo says:

    This is an old one, but I haven’t been able to recommend Angela’s Ashes to anyone. Way too painful, if beautifully written, and I seriously worry that it might be a major trigger for someone. (It was for me.) As a matter of fact, this book was given to me by my sister (!) the Christmas (!) after I had recovered from a period of deep depression. Maybe she should have had access to this blogpost!

  9. Julie says:

    I read racy romance books and a lot of chick lit when I need a break from heavy reading. I’m sure a lot of us do have books that we wouldn’t admit to reading, and would be embarrassed to recommend to anyone. I for one like racy regentcy romance, and I admit it only to my book friends in the book club

  10. Amanda Hensley says:

    Thank you for considering people like me! I’m one who doesn’t like a lot of language, violence, really any graphic content at all. I’m a very PG, maybe 13 rated reader , which is why I tend to gravitate to the YA novels (although some of those can be a little questionable). So I very much appreciate the filtered reading lists.

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