Do other people influence what you choose to read? When a family member recommends something, or a friend says they hated a book you were planning to read … does it affect your reading choices?
My immediate response was no, but I think that’s just because you mentioned family. My family aren’t big readers. We always had copious amounts of books in the house, but they were mostly self-help or travel books. And my brother just finished a book I got him a few years ago. The last time my mother forced me to read something—it was either Silas Marner or Anna Karenina—I was still enough of an angry little wombat that I spitefully forgot everything about the book but the title. (I was an extremely mean child.) My parents also confiscated my copy of Lit Riffs once as a kid (they’d bought it for me sight unseen), so I think I just figured out at some point in my pre-adolescence that my reading, thin on the ground as that was, was best kept to myself. And that’s colored our bookish relationship; I’m the one that recommends.
But I do take some recommendations from friends. A very few come from friends in real life, but the most come from the wonderful book bloggers I’ve come to know over the past three years. I think Ana, Jodie, Renay, and Eva have the most recommendations to their names on my giant spreadsheet. It’s still fairly sparing, but I think that’s because most of my recommendations have come out of Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust and More Book Lust, so.
As for people telling me they hated a book I was planning to read… I usually power through to see what the fuss is about. If it’s awful, then we’ve got something to snark at together! If it isn’t—well, taste is so subjective.