hornby on recommending

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It can happen anywhere: a dinner table, a pub, a bus queue, a classroom, a bookshop. You strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know, and you’re getting on OK, and then suddenly, without warning, you hear the five words that mean the relationship has no future beyond the time it takes to say them: “I think you’ll like it.” This phrase is presumptuous enough when used to refer to, say, a crisp flavour; if, however, you happen to be talking about books or films or music, then it is completely unforgivable, a social solecism on a par with bottom-pinching. You think I’ll like it, do you? Well, it has taken me more than 50 years to get anywhere near an understanding of what I think I might like, and even then I get it wrong half the time, so what chance have you got? Every now and again I meet someone who is able to make shrewd and thoughtful recommendations within the first five years of our acquaintance but for the most part the people that I listen to I’ve known for a couple of decades, a good chunk of which has been spent talking about the things we love and hate.

more from The Times Online here.

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