Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Literature map


How do you choose your next book to read? Do you rely on personal recommendation from friends? Or take notice of reviews on a book blog such as dovegreyreader, which is my personal favourite. Do you browse on Amazon, looking for authors you are familiar with? Do you read the recommendations and comments there?

Or do you go into a bookshop, where you are perhaps more likely to be swayed by a cover design, or the blurb on the back cover?

For me there are certain authors whose books I would always buy, simply because I like their style and themes. But how do you start to find others who match up to them?

That is perhaps where Literature Map could come in handy. Put in the name of a favourite author and it will suggest authors whom other readers have also liked. I'm not quite sure how it works, though I think it is linked to Amazon.com so presumably based on their sales and browsing data somehow.

For example, I have just entered Maggie O'Farrell. The database has thrown up, amongst others, Jon McGregor, Anita Shreve, Jane Austen, Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, Anne Tyler and Kate Atkinson, all of whom I also enjoy. If you enter an American author, say Anne Tyler, you get even more positive results...Carol Shields, Jodi Picoult, Margaret Atwood, Sue Miller, Fay Weldon, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, all of whom also represent the sort of fiction I read. So perhaps I should also start to explore some of the other suggestions...

This is a wonderful displacement activity and unlike books in a similar vein, should remain contemporary.

Three notable things:

1. After Anne Enright, another literary controversy....

2. Author Emma Darwin's new blog seems interesting.

3. It is half term this week, but as usual son 2 has a different holiday. His half term will start on Thursday and he has all of next week off too, but there won't be any playschemes, as everyone else will have gone back to school. One of the annoying idiosyncrasies of his being in an independent special school...

5 comments:

hellojed said...

Wow, I'm going to be messing around with that all evening!

Angie said...

Thanks for the great tip, I'll be sure to use that (once I get through the pile of books I've bought, but not yet read).

I can only imagine what Lessing will say when she receives her Nobel award, that is if she even goes to the ceremony...

Casdok said...

Yes great tip!
I like charity shops for books, one will always jump out at me.

Cathy said...

Glad you all like it...I find it rather addictive.

I buy most of my books from charity shops too, Casdok, but I do like reading reviews etc online or in the press...doing so gives me ideas of new authors to look out for.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Great information about the books - I don't do enough reading. What a pain with your son's school. I hope he enjoys his half term nonetheless.

Crystal xx