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11 November 2014 @ 10:00 am
Questions about Recs  
In honor of Rectober having wrapped up (SO MUCH FUN! all the kudos to birdsofshore for being awesome!), I thought I would ask ya'll a few questions about recs.

Obviously reccing is a big part of what I do on here, and I read a ton of fic with a variety of pairings and in multiple different fandoms. But I was wondering how other people went about recs. My "process" is probably a lot different from those of you who don't do a ton of fandom hopping, so I was curious!

1. What do you like in a rec? What are the things you absolutely need in a rec or in a rec list?

For me, I need a Title/link to the work, a summary, and a rating. If it doesn't have all of those things (especially if it's a huge list from somebody I don't know), I usually back button pretty quickly. But I also think the author's name and a word count should be there. And I really prefer if there is some kind of reason why the reccer liked it.

2. Spinning off of that, how important is the "Why" to you guys? Does what a reccer says about why they are reccing a fic influence you?

It definitely does for me, and I'd say most rec lists I've encountered leave this part off. I'm guessing it's just a matter of time constraints, but I do think those lists are less compelling.

3. Do you look for recs lists? Or do you just stick with recs from people you know/trust? Or do you rarely even read fics based on recs?

I often read fics based on recs. When I break into a new fandom I usually google rec lists and make my way through some of the prominent ones. I also frequently read recs from people I know. Especially this Rectober! I actually ended up reading a fic whose canon I'm not at all familiar with, which was a first for me.

4. I know a lot of rec "forms" have a place for excerpts from the fic. Do you find this useful? Do you look at these?

For me, I don't think I have ever once look at an excerpt included in a rec. I tend to make my decision on whether or not to read based on the header/reccer's thoughts, and it's just as easy for me to get a feel for the writing once I've started reading.

Finally, I had a personal question about reccing:

If I had a fic I liked, but I was hesitant to rec because of XYZ reason, do you think its better to leave a warning about said problematic issues, or just not rec it at all. This has happened a few times, and I've sort of waffled back and forth.

For example, I read an older H/D fic awhile ago that I thought was generally good, but there were (what I felt) were some significant issues regarding characterization and a few other details. In this particular fic, there ended up being a later scene that bothered me so much I had to stop reading, but before that I was enjoying the fic overall and would have recced it, but I don't know how comfortable I would have been doing that it without letting people know about some of the issues (it was a loooooong fic, and I think people should have an idea of potentially bothersome things, if they are planning to commit that much time.)

This fandom especially is super positive, but sometimes I feel like that hinders the ability to completely address problematic issues. I honestly appreciate reading candid notes when I look through rec lists, but I was curious what others thought.

LOL, I probably should have made a poll, but I already typed all this up, and not I'm too lazy to go and create a poll too...SORRY GUYS!
Marianneeidheann_writes on November 11th, 2014 06:14 pm (UTC)
1 -- Title, Author, Summary, Working Link are mandatory. Rating and length are... almost mandatory, but I do occasionally poke rec lists that don't use them. Beyond that, I'm more likely to care about (and follow recs) that include some sort of content notes (be they tags or warnings or whatnot) and a sentence or two as to why it's being recced.

2 -- There's a WIDE VARIETY of preferences out there. Why someone recs something is really important for determining if the person doing the rec cares about the same things I do. I may bookmark rec lists that don't include this, but I only say I *trust* reccers when I know why they are reccing something. Lists that don't include that, I only will read if the summary grabs me, they're just a way to spot things I may not normally, but it doesn't entice me to go out of my way to try anything. But reccers I trust, I'm much more likely to read what they rec just at base.

3 -- I have a bunch of rec lists bookmarked. I pull them up when I'm feeling in desperate need of something new to read and there's nothing new popping up on the AO3 Draco/Harry feed. But a lot of ways, it's the same as just pulling up the Draco/Harry feed, just with older stuff included (usually.) I'm weird that I dont' tend to FOLLOW rec lists, though. Just because I want to look at the list when I want to look at the list. (Specifically when I have time to read)

4 -- The excerpt can be useful. I don't always read it unless a) It's the entirety of the rec (some people quote lines or excerpts as their rec, and that's fine. It's picked to be something enticing for the fic, and what is chosen is kinda like learning the "why" behind the reccer) and b) I'm in a "that sounds familiar, is this something I've read already/is this that fic I'm thinking of/do I want to read this again?" place.
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
#2, I agree with all of what you said so much! :D

#3, Yeah, that makes sense. I rarely "follow" lists, though may bookmark them to come back to later. I do follow a few blogs, like capitu's, that do recs individually though.

Keeper of the Cocks: SDK_Patronus magictorino10154 on November 11th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
Taking all of this completely out of order but if you had to stop reading, then I can't imagine reccing it, even if it was good up to a certain point. Things like "I really didn't care for the infidelity in the fic" or "I wish the author had warned for X" and therefore pointing it out are still perfectly valid in a rec. To me a rec isn't always "OMG SQUEE!!!1!". But I think the negatives should be fairly minor or why rec it?

I agree that a reason why the reccer liked it is important. Just "hey check out this fic" really isn't enough. And sometimes, quite honestly, what they like might tell me that I really don't want to read it. Which is helpful in its own way.

I've recced at Crack_Broom and that's the only place I've ever used excerpts. No idea if people use them or not but I don't tend to do it on my own journal. Though I pretty much only rec gifts these days but that's a story all on its own (regarding mods not reccing from their own fests).

I will admit though, that I actually rarely read from recs anymore either. There are a handful of people, very good friends who I know their tastes well, who if they said something to me, I'd probably check it out. Basically most of my reading comes from either the fests I am in or my own flist so I just don't have as much time to read as I used to.

No idea if that helps or not. LOL
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 06:58 pm (UTC)
Definitely helpful! I sort of figured that a lot of the people on my f-list tend to operate similarly to you, where there are enough things on their f-list and fests they follow, that they don't really need to go searching out recs.

Yeah, if I can't even finish a fic, then I definitely won't be reccing it, but I do agree that pointing out minor things isn't a bad thing.
(no subject) - torino10154 on November 11th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gracerene on November 11th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
inglevine on November 11th, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC)
"This fandom especially is super positive, but sometimes I feel like that hinders the ability to completely address problematic issues." *cough* You think?


I can only tell you what I personally want in a rec, and that's honesty. If someone recs a fic containing problematic issues and doesn't mention them, I'll assume the reccer didn't notice them and be wary of their recs in future. That being whether problematic means racist/sexist/otherist or extreme characterisation issues. Or even something like "There are a lot of typos and some ESL issues, but I found them worth overlooking because the rest of the fic was so wonderful".

I also like an explanation as to why the reccer is reccing. Recs that are just a title and an author are pretty pointless for me.

I also like an excerpt, although it's not necessary. It just gives a hint as to the quality of the writing, which is nice.
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 06:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, those are pretty much my thoughts as well. I definitely value honestly in a rec, and I figure, the nature of a rec means that you really liked it overall.

This particular fic had some Harry characterization issues IMO that I wasn't sure I would be comfortable not mentioning if I had recced, I would have felt like I was lying by omission.
(no subject) - inglevine on November 11th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Avid Supporter of the Booty Floolq_traintracks on November 11th, 2014 06:40 pm (UTC)
First off, I like exactly what you do in a rec, and I don't read the excerpts either. I don't want to be spoiled with material the writer themselves didn't want to spoil me with in their summary. Not that I mind being excerpted by reccers myself, though I sometimes disagree with the part of the story they think is excerpt-worthy. ;-)

As for noting problematic things, I sort of feel like you did the right thing with the one you referenced in not reccing it at all. If you couldn't finish it... well, I think that's a big NO sign as far as reccing is concerned.

As a writer, I wouldn't mind people reccing me and then pointing out a couple things that didn't quite work for them. So long as it's respectful and not tear-downy language. (It's a rec, so that would be weird to do anyway.) I appreciate knowing what to look out for as a reader, and if someone thinks I lost the plot through the middle 2k a bit or doesn't like that I've gone AU with something rather than canon or that I dressed Draco weird, that's cool with me. :-)

I hope this helps! Fwiw, I don't think you need to change anything about the way you rec. <3
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
LOL, I'm so terrible at picking out excerpts! And then I just pick a random chunk, and hope it's good enough...

Thanks, hon! I definitely was curious about mentioning "issues" in a rec from a writerly perspective, so definitely helpful! <3

(no subject) - lauren3210 on November 11th, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC)
Definitely agree that reason why is super helpful.

And that's what I was thinking re: issues with fics. Thanks! :D
huldrejentahuldrejenta on November 11th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
1. I agree with what you say here - and I have to confess to not always being very good at the "why I like it" part when I rec myself. I always write something, but not always a lot, I'm afraid. Definitely something I can improve! When I rec on crack_broom, I usually add some more thoughts about why I like it then when I rec on my own journal.
And yeah, also title, link, summary, word count and rating.

2. I usually prefer it when recs add this part, and somethimes it can really make me want to check out a fic or artwork. But especially if the reccer is unknown to me, I tend to look at the summary and excerpt (almost) just as much.

4. I rather like excerpts, especially if it's a rec for something I usually wouldn't read. An excerpt might definitely tempt me to check something out just as much as a reccer's reasons for liking it.
I didn't add excerpts on recs on my own journal before, but I did for this Rectober, pretty much because I rather like them myself.

I think it's okay to include issues you for some reason have a problem with, if the majority of your rec is positive :)
If the problems became so huge that I didn't want to finish the fic, I wouldn't want to rec it.

Edited at 2014-11-11 07:14 pm (UTC)
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
Excellent :D

Yeah, it can be hard coming up with the "why" part, I feel like I am just throwing out the same kinds of phrases, and it just doesn't capture the brilliance of the fic I'm reccing!
vulcan_rhapsodyvulcan_rhapsody on November 11th, 2014 07:25 pm (UTC)
If I had a fic I liked, but I was hesitant to rec because of XYZ reason, do you think its better to leave a warning about said problematic issues, or just not rec it at all. This has happened a few times, and I've sort of waffled back and forth.

This is really an interesting and difficult problem! I’ve encountered my fair share of these fics. Recently I’ve read about 60k of a 110k story that was brilliant and then stuff happened that I found deeply, deeply problematic. Strangely enough, the events didn’t even seem to bother anyone else. I was really tempted to write a rec of that fic and to explain why I found certain elements so problematic I stopped reading. But ultimately I decided against it.

Usually I try to stay very positive with my recs – writing and reading fics is a time-consuming hobby, and I’d hate to make an author feel bad by giving a negative review. (I mean, the chances of the author reading the rec are slim anyway, but it’s the thought that counts?).

On the other hand, I appreciate recs that are realistic and also offer points of criticism. I think in an ideal world, criticism would be okay as long as it’s polite. I mean, criticism (or feedback in general) can be helpful for the author and improve the writing process. Besides, I would never give a rec of a fic that I find hopeless – even if I’d criticize a fic, it would still mean that I found the fic engaging enough to read and am confident that the author is talented enough to improve). But yeah…usually I just don’t rec problematic stories. I’m a coward. ;-) And I almost never find authors asking for constructive criticism, so that's another point.
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 08:10 pm (UTC)
A fellow reccer! :D

LOL, that situation you mentioned is literally what happened to me (only it was about 300k into a 450k fic...) And it's a fairly popular well-liked fic, and I sort of wanted to ask people, Why? Not in a mean way, but in a "I can't get past these issues, am I just seeing things weirdly" kind of way. But I didn't want to come off as super rude.

But that's the thing, the very fact that I am reccing it mean that I enjoyed the fic, more than enjoyed it really, since I don't rec everything I read by a long shot. So even if there is a little thing I'm mentioning, it's still a rec.

So far most of the authors commenting on here seem to be okay with mentioning little issues, but it's definitely a fine line I feel. Because I definitely don't want to make an author feel terrible, but I also don't want to blindside a reader who decided to read something based on my rec.

Thanks for your thoughts! (LOVE your rec lists BTW, the way you do them is basically exactly what I love)
(no subject) - vulcan_rhapsody on November 11th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gracerene on November 12th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
Reckless Passionlauren3210 on November 11th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
Oooh okay, let me put my two pence in!

1-- I definitely need a title/link, rating and a reason why it was recced. Anything else (author, summary, word count etc) I can get once I've clicked on the link. But I need the link, because I'm not gonna go searching for it, I need the rating so I can guess as to the type of content I'm gonna get, and I need a reason why it was recced in the first place because otherwise I can just scroll through the ao3 tag and there's no point in looking for a rec. I prefer if the summary and author are up there also, mainly because if I can't tell by the title, I can usually tell by either the summary or the name of the author if I've read it before.

2-- For me, the why is incredibly important; it's why I look for rec lists in the first place. I want to know why this fic in particular was deemed worthy of a rec, so i can decide for myself if it looks like I might feel the same way. If there's no reason there, then it's not likely I'll click tbh.

3-- I tend to look for recs whenever I find a new pairing I'm interested in, and then expand by author, author's friends and favourites etc. If I find reccers who update regularly (rather than just a list on Tumblr), then I tend to keep up with them afterwards to see what new things they find.

4-- Hmm, I do look at them if they're there, but that's because language is an important part of fic reading for me (although I know that's not the case for everyone). It's just, I spend all my working hours going over sometimes terribly written stories, and I don't want to spend my free time reading stuff where the author mixes up "then" and "than" for example, or other really basic grammar mistakes that give me a headache during the working day. An excerpt can tell me at a glance if I'm not going to find it enjoyable to read from that perspective, so I do read them if they're there. If they're not though, I can always tell within the first couple of paragraphs of a fic anyway, so it's no biggie. (god does this make me sound awful? Sorry!)

As to your last question, I am definitely of the opinion that if the fic was problematic to the point where you couldn't finish it, then there's not much point in a rec. But, if you wanted to rec it anyway, then there's nothing wrong with saying "I liked this, but i did find that xyz was a bit of an issue, just a heads up" or whatever. Then it's up to whoever's reading to make the choice on whether or not to click.

btw, I LOVE the way you rec stuff, you do it pretty damned perfectly tbh

EDIT: Oh, I also wanted to say that I appreciate it when you write things like "this fic was meant to have a sequel but it's never been updated" and stuff like that, which I guess answers part of your last question? That helps me decide whether or not to read it tbh

Edited at 2014-11-11 07:38 pm (UTC)
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 08:33 pm (UTC)
Yay, thoughts!

1. Yup, pretty much my thoughts :D

2. I definitely prefer the "why". I'll usually still work my way through a list if I am desperate, but the why is my favorite.

3. LOL, this is basically exactly what I do too!

4. No, it doesn't make you sound terrible! I agree that the actual writing style is definitely important. But that's why I don't need an excerpt, because if I've decided to click through based on rating/summary etc, I'll figure out within the first few para if I like the style as well.

Yeah, I totally wouldn't rec a fic I couldn't even finish, but when there are some issues, I think I am leaning towards mentioning it. Obviously in polite way, though. :)

And thanks, hon! LOL, I basically do my recs the way I wish all rec lists would, so I'm pretty partial to mine. ;)

Haha, I'm pretty sure I did that with a recent Cherik rec, didn't I. I'm glad you find that helpful!
(no subject) - lauren3210 on November 11th, 2014 08:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gracerene on November 11th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
nia_kantorka: pic#124082408nia_kantorka on November 11th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
1. Titel, author, link to work, summary are mandatory.
But I like to know about length, pairing(s), tags/warnings either.

2. Of course I like to read why someone recced a fic, but as I found a lot of things on my own on AO3, I'm used to listening to my gut feeling about fics.

The personal view from the reccer is the icing on the cake, and, if I know the person (and trust their recs), I'm more likely going to give fics a chance I might have not, based on summary and excerpt alone.

I have to admit that double and triple recs on my flist do the trick as well.

3. I love rec lists and bookmarks on AO3 and everything about recs. I can browse for hours over/through other peoples recs. And I'm hoarding fics and books. It's terrible a challenge to try to read IT ALL. :D

4. I love to read excerpts. If I feel immediately connected to a fic/an excerpt, I can be over 95% sure that I'll love the fic as well.

I agree. H/D fandom is like a shelter and not what I'm used to by other internet forums or book/reading platforms, so I'm trying to be way more polite and nice to address problems I had with fics, if I mention them at all. Maybe I should change that and be more candid. IDK

Edited at 2014-11-11 07:47 pm (UTC)
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
LOL, I know you like recs! :D

Yeah, I feel once you get a feel for the kind of things a reccer likes (and if you like the same things) then it becomes less necessary to have the "Why" part, because there is that trust there.

OO, yeah, I didn't even think about what it would be like coming into this fandom after being elsewhere, where people tend to be a bit more critical. I definitely tend to not be at all critical/candid in comments, because that doesn't seem to be the place for concrit, but even when author's specifically ask for it, I feel so hesitant giving any.
welcome to villa cariño!capitu on November 11th, 2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
Now I want to answer this myself. :D

I don't often include an excerpt, maybe a small quote once in a while, but I rather like the reader discover their favourite bit. :)

Sometimes I make a comment about an issue, but generally I let the readers discover for themselves, too. Sometimes what bothers me doesn't bother someone else, and if they see it on the rec it's all they can think of. I don't know, I don't often do it, but once in a while I do. ^^

Seriously. I want to answer everything! LOL
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC)
LOL, answer away! I love hearing your opinion, especially as this is about recs, and you are kind of a reccing fiend. ;)

That is a good point, and one of the reasons I sometimes feel hesitant about bringing up an issue. If I say that I really enjoyed a fic, but at times Harry felt a bit OOC, I worry, that the reader will focus only on that bit, and then not give it a read. But, at the same time, I know some readers have a low OOC tolerance, and so my putting that disclaimer in there, could save them the annoyance of clicking through. Tough call, man!

You are another person that does recs with all the kinds of info I like! <3
쉘리 Unmistakably Oatmealsdkshelly on November 11th, 2014 08:42 pm (UTC)
Back when I was reading and reccing semi-regularly, I definitely had those moments where I'd want to rec something but in order to feel comfortable about it, I'd have to put the caveat in and so I'd always go back and forth--should I mention these few negatives or just not rec at all? I'll be interested to hear what you decide to do going forward...I always sort of took it on a case by case basis though.

But when I read recs, I do appreciate that type of thing included. Especially if it's something like consent-issues that aren't warned for or things like that, do you know what I mean? Or something like "Draco's a bit OOC in this, but it didn't take my enjoyment away, or was necessary to the plot..." so I can kind of know that going on. Okay, Draco's a bit OOC, I can handwave it because the summary looks interesting and Grace has good taste, etc.

I sort of started at the end there! But as to your other questions:

I definitely prefer recs that have a "Why I liked it" section, especially if the summary doesn't necessarily grab me, I can get a better feel for why it's being recc'd. 9 times out of 10 I'll ignore excepts unless it's a totally out-there pairing for me, but the idea intrigues me and I'm on the fence about reading it.

I usually go to recslists that I'm familiar with or from people I know if I've been gone for a while and looking to catch up. Otherwise, if I just have a weird itch for something outside my normal reading habits, I'll google recs lists and just click around until I find something interesting. I will say that I hardly read anything outside of things that are on my flist or are recced on my flist unless I'm looking for something specific. I don't really seek outside the general circle I'm in and I sort of want to break that habit!

Er, I am not sure I answered all of your questions. Hopefully my babble was somewhat helpful!
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 11th, 2014 09:25 pm (UTC)
LOL, your babble was definitely helpful! :D

You know, I think I'm leaning towards reccing with caveats when necessary. It seems to be the general consensus, and I'd feel bad if somebody did trust my recs, and then I rec something without disclaiming ans then that trust sort of disappears? Like some fics I read have light character bashing, which in general I don't like, but on occasion fits the story, so I'm okay with it. But I feel like I would have to disclaim things like that (assuming the weren't in the warnings) because I know some people really don't like it at all. Though I think case by case is sort of the way to go.

I think that process of finding recs is definitely a popular one. TBH, I'm the same way when in comes to HP fic, the only time iI really go searching outside of my f-list is when I'm getting into a new fandom. And even then, I usually start with recs from my f-list if I can. I think both Sherlock and Teen Wolf I got started with through HP people who also read in those fandoms. Recs can be so subjective, that branching into lists by unknown people can be a bit risky. :D
Amoretteamorette on November 11th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC)
Haha... I laughed so hard when I saw this post :D Because I was feeling a bit guilty for making all those noncon recs and not leaving my actual feedback on why they are good. In that case, I was actually just really, really lazy. I had been coding that post for so long that the idea of going back and thinking about things to say was, ugh. Thinking is hard sometimes.

But in general, I prefer people leave a reason why they liked something. It will help me determine if I will like it too. Like if someone recs something and says, "It broke my heart and it was wonderful!!!!" I'll be like, "Ooookay, so not reading that..." xD
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 12th, 2014 03:01 am (UTC)
LOL. But I thought since it was a themed list, and you had all that other info about what you like in non0con etc, that they almost didn't need your individual comments, at least for me. :)

HAHAHA, yeah, generally if somebody says, "my heart was shattered into a million pieces and I loved it", I sort of back away quietly...my heart can't handle that kind of pain!
writcraftwritcraft on November 11th, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
I wasn't around in the days of Painless J's recs, but they were pretty much where I started in HP fandom in terms of choosing what to read. I read mainly on archives, coupled with the recs on those lists. So yes, I find rec lists enormously helpful. I think the recs Painless J wrote go to your final question about the hesitation in putting caveats on recs. It seems that's more recent perhaps, as opposed to having been the HP fandom norm. I don't mind caveats on recs at all, just looking at Painless J's list again I remember why I found those comments really helpful as a reader and I also appreciate that the reccer is clear to explain how their own personal tastes might have had an impact on what worked for them less well.

Ultimately, choosing whether or not to rec with a caveat is something for the person making the recs to decide, depending on what they are most comfortable with. As a creator, I would be thrilled to be recced on any basis, caveats or not :)

With respect to your recs, I think they're great! They give me the sort of info I'm looking for, in particular the why you mention which is absolutely very important to me. I love reading recs, even when they are not in fandoms I'm reading or writing in, and sometimes they push me towards something different which I really enjoy.

So thank you! :D

Edited at 2014-11-11 11:50 pm (UTC)
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 12th, 2014 03:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, I remember browsing through Painless-J's recs when I first got into fandom, and I defintiely appreciated their candor. And recs are obviously so subjective, which is part of why I want to disclaim, because I know some things that maybe only bothered me a smidge might be a bigger dislike for others. :D

Aww, thanks!! I basically started "reccing" just to keep track of my favorites, and I started trying to include all the things I had appreciated in other rec lists, so I'm glad they work for you. <3
(no subject) - who_la_hoop on November 15th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
i can see your house from herewho_la_hoop on November 15th, 2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
What I like in a rec is the pairing, the word length (or just a ballpark short/novel-length), a very short summary, and a longer 'why'. It's the why that makes me take notice of a rec - and it's the hardest part of a rec to do, I think! Which is why I don't rec that often :D

I definitely think that recs should include concrit where appropriate - it's a rec, so that should balance out any criticism. But I know that others can be more sensitive. It's another reason I don't rec that often!
wicked smut goddessgracerene on November 15th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
LOL, yeah, the why is definitely my favorite part, and it's also he hardest to come up with! I always feel like I'm not doing a very good job of explaining why I loved something.