Not unlike dreams, the sharing of books can be personal, intimate, even revelatory. Sometimes you want to share them with the world. Other times, you want to pretend they never left the dark, wondrous imagination of your nightstand. 

It’s hard to know exactly what to share. Or, with whom.

When someone you admire or trust, or want to learn from, recommends a book, or an author, or a subject, you instantly find yourself endeared to that new terrain. You try to track it down. Learn from it. Follow its curves. You’re enchanted by the labyrinth, and the promise of the surreptitious landscape. The unfamiliarity draws you near. 

Secrets keep well those who empower them with their desires.

In seemingly unexplainable, mysterious ways, the panorama summons you forth, rough-hewn and precipitous. You listen. You survey the craggy meadow from above, trying to apply your honeyed, honeymoon eyes. You take notes. You’re attentive to the nuances, as a new set of possibilities present themselves for you to navigate. 

Everything is as if for the first time.

Recommendations arrive like storks in the night. You’re not sure if they’re fairytales to be believed. You conceive of the risks involved with a new enterprise: the feasibility, the practicality, the chance occurrence. Then, as if unexpectedly, everything else slowly fades away. You follow the myth into the moonlight.  

It’s just you and the recommendation.

The joy of exploration, and everything that accompanies those loud, embolden sirens of happiness, surpasses everything. Desire, to be sure, trumps satisfaction, every, single time. You are contented in the recommendation, as you try to figure out if it suits you just so. The right recommendation can yield a life-long friend.

Recommendations can deliver us from the abyss.

Whether the recommendation was betrothed, or you discovered it on your own, the happenstance becomes your songline. There’s a sense of excitement. You’re passionate about the unexamined depths of expansion, incorporation and, maybe, if you’re lucky, maturation. 

Recommendations provide encounters.

Yet, what does this relationship entail? Not only what comprises a recommendation - the etiology, so to speak - but also, how they are delivered, how they affect us, and ultimately, how they are archived. What exactly is in the nature of a recommendation?Is it purely a selfless act of generosity, or a form of selfish identification with another? Or, perhaps more basically, a need to share with the world?

There’s a lot at play in a simple recommendation.

In a very deep-rooted, almost idiosyncratic, individualized way, learning itself is but a curation of recommendations. I say ‘but’, yet, it’s so much more than that. It’s the way your lover recites Sartre in a cafe, or how your favorite professor lends you his personal copy of Nietzsche, or a stranger on Twitter, in a moment of strength, confesses their secret love for The Story of the Eye.

Recommendations participate in the world.

Bobby George