Even though we all know that the local library is the place to go for book suggestions, it’s still fun to play with the many websites that offer to find you read-alikes for your favorite books and authors. Many of these work through the magic of Amazon’s purchase tracking (“customers who viewed this item also viewed…”), rather than through the magic of librarians. Thus, it’s a little difficult to get specific reading suggestions out of these websites–you can’t tell the BookSeer, for instance, what sort of mood you’re in or whether you need something short and easy to take on vacation with you.
All that being said, here’s a new website put together by Amazon and the site GoodReads: Your Next Read. Here’s a description from their “About Us” section:
The team behind YourNextRead love to read but do not always have lots of time to search for their next book. The enormous volume and choice of books you can find both online and on the high street these days is both fantastic and daunting. Online reviews and social book websites could be useful and sometimes pointed us towards other interesting books, but in the end we would often ask friends and family for book recommendations.
Curiously, librarians aren’t mentioned as go-to’s for book recommendations. Hm. Such oversights aside, this site is worth a look if you’re on the prowl for a read-alike (or if you’d just like to discover something new). When I tried it, I did a couple searches with varying degrees of success. I said I really liked Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, and was offered Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue (okay), Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (???), and a few others (I was most intrigued by Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, which might be a very good choice for readers who want more books about coming to terms with one’s sexuality in a very restrictive environment).
A search for another favorite author, Christopher Moore, led me into some sort of Christopher Moore Vortex–the only suggestions for his books are his other books. Eventually you are directed toward Tom Robbins, but I can’t remember how I got there!
I will say that I like the way that Amazon reviews (for what they’re worth) are listed in the sidebar for each title. It gives you a bit more insight into a particular book, and thus more information to let you know whether it would be a good match for you or not. You can also give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to recommendations, and your input is logged in order to improve the service (great feature!).
Happy Friday, and see what you think of this Readers Advisory tool! Here’s the link again: http://www.yournextread.com/us/