I was taken aback, although I'm not sure why. Nowadays, (and yes, using the word "nowadays" makes me feel dated) we get most of our recommendations electronically, it seems. Customer reviews and starred ratings are available online for everything from toys to transmission shops. Consumer Reports Online (available right here on our website) can tell you which car or toaster to buy and Yelp will happily point you toward your next great meal. Those are only two among a multitude of digital advisers many of us use daily in order to wade through our endless choices so we can, well, choose.
Entire dystopian novels and movie franchises have been crafted around the hazards of letting machines tell us what to do, but despite Sarah Connors dire warnings, here we are, taking tips from "Dear Search Engine." I don't intend this to be a cautionary tale, exactly, more of an observation. I accept the recommendations fed to me by my laptop and smart phone all the time. But a library staff member suggested my last great read. And I do think there is great merit in personal endorsements given by a trusted fellow-human.