This Week’s Daisy Chain

May 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Daisy Chains | 1 Comment

A few days ago I posted about what I called an “idea chain.”  Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog pointed out that she had done a post on the same topic last summer, and she used the name Daisy Chain, which I like better.  It’s sort of summery, you know.

The goal is to take note of anything that seems like a funny coincidence, though I suppose it would also be funny to link things deliberately.  My reading is pretty random because I just read whatever shows up on the hold shelf at the library that week.

I’m going to experiment with different ways of recording my daisy chain every week, and now that I’m thinking about it I’m going to try to keep notes while I read.  It would be fun if a lot of people did this. 

I Don’t Believe in Atheists -> The Crow Road – atheism

The Man in the Picture -> The Crow Road – missing persons

More Information Than You Require -> American Nerd – personal disclosures of authors with similar experiences as nerdy kids

As I’m doing this, I’m realizing that a) I know I haven’t captured everything and b) there are certain commonalities between books that aren’t interesting enough to record.  For instance, two of the books I read both had scenes set in rooms with antique furniture.  *Yawn*  The “pay dirt” I’m looking for is more related to shared vocabulary – I swear there was a really strange Scots dialect word I read in two different books this week, but I can’t remember now what it was – or things like minor characters with the same unusual job.  Or name.  Or something.  The coincidences are going to be in the eye of the beholder, anyway.

Whichbook.net

May 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Book Services | 1 Comment

Have you played with whichbook.net lately?  I love it.  What it does is help you come up with book recommendations based on a blend of features.  You can move a slider bar back and forth between these pairs of opposed qualities:

Happy/sad

Funny/serious

Safe/disturbing

Expected/unpredictable

Larger than life/down to earth

Beautiful/disgusting

Gentle/violent

Easy/demanding

No sex/sex

Conventional/unusual

Optimistic/bleak

Short/long

You can focus on just one quality, or pick several.  Is there something wrong with me that I tend to be more interested in the right-hand side of the spectrum?

There’s also a button for “change to character, plot, setting.”  You can look for books set in a particular part of the globe, or with a character of a preferred race, age, sexuality, or gender.  The best part is the plot.  Do you like success against the odds?  Conflict?  Lots of twists and turns?  Unfortunately you can’t say “yes to all of the above”… Not yet, anyway.

Part of what I love about the site is that it recommends more than just the current season’s books.  It includes anything in paperback in the English language since 1995.

The other thing I love is that whichbook.net is a republic – all the selections are made by a team of 150 people.  Isn’t that an improvement over user-controlled ratings systems that give Twilight and Great Expectations both four stars?  Incidentally, I ran a few titles that interested me through Amazon.com, and they were consistently highly rated by users there.

There really is a certain genius to whichbook.net.  Choosing only fairly recent books assumes that we already have a list of classics to work from.  I played around with it a bit, and found only a scant handful I’d ever heard of, much less read already.  It’s terribly exciting, and a bit addictive.

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