Garanimals Blog

June 26th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Looking For a Good Summer Read? Check Out These Recommendation Sites

Read any good books lately? As a very busy mom, I long for time to get lost in a great read. Without that, if I’m going to risk sleep deprivation, I want whatever I choose to be so good that I’ll want to bring it with me everywhere, including the bathroom. Admit it, you’ve done that too.

There are lots of ways to choose what to read. Bestseller lists, friend recommendations, magazine reviews, kindle samples, and the book tables at Costco are just a few. And of course there are websites that can help. Here’s three that I find really useful.

Goodreads is a recommendation site that is really easy to use and fun. Pick the genres that you enjoy and the site gives you a list of the top books in each category. Rate the ones you’ve read and click on “want to read” for any on your list, and the page expands to list similar books as suggested next reads.

I had fun just going through the genres, rating and clicking. When you click on the recommendations link, you can continue to rate/want or you can simply choose “not interested”, and the results update accordingly. I could get so lost in this site.

The Staff Recommends is a site that keeps a simple approach. When you visit, there is a short list of current selections with reviews and a comments section. There’s also a list of past selections categorized by genre. So if you’re looking for a quick recommendation, without having to spend the time rating and browsing, this site fits the bill. And it’s not the regular list of bestsellers that you see in every other best reads list, so you might find some pleasant surprises.

I liked this site right away, because one of the current choices is a book that my good friend handed me a few weeks ago and said was a must read. I think it will be my next one.

The third site that piqued my interest is called Gnooks, which has a nifty feature called a literature map. Type in the name of an author and Gnooks will create a map of similar authors. The closer the author is to your original choice on the map, the higher the probability that you would also like him or her. Click on one of the other authors and a new map will be created.

Another feature uses three of your author choices to suggest additional ones. You can choose whether you like them, don’t like them or don’t know them. You are then presented with a list of Gnooks’ suggestions. This site is more about choosing writing styles than actual books. Clicking on an author will take you to discussions of threads. It also has a map feature for movies and music.

Gnook is based on the gnod search engine which uses artificial intelligence to provide suggestions based on what you and others like. It’s fun to watch the maps build and it’s intriguing how relevant the results are.

Happy reading! And please feel free to recommend a good one. I’m really enjoying Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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