Monday, February 13, 2006

What Should You Read Next?

A new service What Should I Read Next? helps you decide just that.
Apparently, if you enter the name of a book, they claim to infer from their database and suggest what you should read next.

Here are a few of my results:
  • Current read: Ann-Marie MacDonald - Fall on your Knees

  • Results (first 5):
    - The Stone Carvers - Jane Urquhart
    - Bertie Wooster Sees It Through - P. G. Wodehouse
    - Dodsworth - Sinclair Lewis
    - Welcome to the Great Mysterious - Lorna Landvik
    - I Do - Cara Lockwood

  • Finished not too long ago: Margaret Atwood - Oryx and Crake

  • - Tea from an Empty Cup - Pat Cadigan
    - Slant - Greg Bear
    - Oxygen - Andrew Miller
    - Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered - Geoff Dyer
    - Cracking India: A Novel - Bapsi Sidhwa

    A few random others:
  • Joseph Heller - Catch 22

  • - The Natural - Bernard Malamud
    - Complete Father Brown - G.K. Chesterton
    - Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
    - Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains - A.L. Kennedy
    - And the Ass Saw the Angel - Nick Cave
    - The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

  • Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game

  • - Golden Key, The - George Macdonald
    - Four Past Midnight - Stephen King
    - Glinda of Oz: In Which Are Related the Exciting Experiences of Princess Ozma of Oz, and Dorothy, in Their Hazardous Journey to the Home of the Flatheads - L.Frank Baum, John R. Neill
    - Tex - S. E. Hinton
    - Golem in the Gears - Piers Anthony

  • Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash

  • - Across Realtime - Vernor Vinge
    - The Club of Queer Trades - G.K. Chesterton
    - Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus - Orson Scott Card
    - Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler, Colin Dexter
    - Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny
I must admit that I'm not familiar with about 60% of their suggestions, and read at most 15% of their suggestions so it's hard for me to form an opinion on the quality of this service and how fitting the suggestions are. What do you think?

Categories: , ,


Pat Kirby said...

I gave it THE WAR FOR THE OAKS by Emma Bull and got:

*The Wood Wife - Terri Windling
Landscape and Memory - Simon Schama
*The Ghost in the Mirror - John Bellairs, Brad Strickland, Edward Gorey
*Dragon - Steven Brust
*Yendi Jhereg #02 - Brust Steven *Merlin: The Pendragon Cycle, Book Two - Steve Lawhead
*Freedom and Necessity - Steven Brust, Emma Bull
*Avalon:: The Return of King Arthur - Stephen R. Lawhead, Steve Lawhead
*The Egypt Game - Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Alton Raible
*The View from Saturday - E.L. Konigsburg

I've heard of one, read two...the rest...? But I guess that's the point, eh. Expanding one's horizons 'n all.

Deborah said...

This is what I got from entering Stephen King's Cell:

Never End - Ake Edwardson, Laurie Thompson
A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil - Christopher Brookmyre
The Hidden Assassins - Robert Wilson
Black Swan Green - David Mitchell
The Risk of Darkness - Susan Hill
Kellerman Untitled Book 2 - Kellerman Jonathan
A Stain on the Silence - Andrew Taylor
Priest - Ken Bruen
At Risk - Patricia Cornwell
Dance with Death - Barbara Nadel

Melly said...

And from the ones you read, would say they were right?

Melly said...

Deborah, do you know any of these books? Gosh, I feel so ignorant with this service...

Anonymous said...

I put in "A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (fantasy) and got these results. Pay particular attention to the first result:

How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
Fool's Fate: Book 3 of the Tawny Man - Robin Hobb
Landscape and Memory - Simon Schama
The Time Ships - Stephen Baxter
Borderlands/La Frontera - Gloria Anzaldua
The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail - Margaret Starbird
The Disorderly Knights - Dorothy Dunnett
Labyrinth - Bill Pronzini
Nobody's Child - Kate Adie
Fragrant Harbour - John Lanchester

Melly said...

That's hilarious, Fred.
Just the book for you ;)

Now it makes me wonder how many of the other recommended books are irrelevant.

I think I like the Amazon "Customers who bought this book also bought..." better.

Deborah said...

I know of the Patricia Cornwell book. The rest, I've never heard of. I'm feeling a little ignorant, too.

Cavan said...

Well, here's what I know:

Book #1: Only recommendation I've heard of is The Stone Carvers. I'm guessing the Canadian female author is the connection there.

Book #2: I know Pat Cadigan, but haven't read that specific book. She writes pretty cyberpunkish stuff that I don't think really goes with Oryx and Crake. I've read Slant, too. Again, it's SF, but aside from that not very similar to Atwood's book.

Book #3: Must express ignorance - haven't read Heller's novel.

Book #4: Haven't read any of those recommendations.

Book #5: I would never think to recommend Pastwatch to a reader of Snow Crash. It was kinda crummy, and they're not very similar at all.

Personally, I think the site would probably work pretty well if you build your book list, but I'm not sure how well it works for individual book recommendations.

Melly said...

Deborah, I hear ya...

Cavan, wow, thanks for that. If you don't recognize many of these books then I don't feel that bad.
I guess I can add to Catch-22 - I read Animal Farm and The Catcher in the Rye. I'd say the latter would be a fitting choice more than the former.

I'll try to put in a list and post again with new results, if any.

Jonathan M. Dobson said...

The data dump on Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat:

A Christmas Carol - Charles
Dickens, James Rice
Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
Le Petit Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Firebrand - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
Farmer Boy - Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
Heidi - Johanna Spyri, Cecil Leslie, Eileen Hall
Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
Sarah, Plain and Tall - Patricia MacLachlan, P.J. Lynch
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White, Garth Williams

Where the Wild Things Are compares slightly, but as for the rest...

Melly said...

So basically, a list of children's classics. Okay...

Jonathan M. Dobson said...

The point is the comparative method they use is off.

Melly said...


Jonathan M. Dobson said...

Oh. I mis-translated "Okay..."

Benjamin Solah said...

I typed in my current read, "The Devil's Feather" by Minette Walters and only got one result - "Thud!" by Terry Pratchett, which is fantasy. "The Devil's Feather" is a crime/thriller so I'm not sure where the connection is.

melly said...

Yeah, doesn't seem to work very well, now does it?
I still want to try and set up a list and see.