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Friday, April 11, 2008

What Should I Read Next?

posted by on April 11 at 14:09 PM

There are a ton of bad book recommendation search engines out there, but this one seems pretty okay. First of all, I tried to enter a relatively obscure book that’s confounded a couple of other book recommendation search engines, Stanley Elkin’s The Magic Kingdom, which is an evil-but-hilarious novel about Make-A-Wish Kids visiting Disney World.

Some of the results ( Doctor Who: The Infinity Doctors by Lance Parkin, Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow) were insanely bad recommendations, but many of them were books that I’d loved (The Sot-weed Factor by John Barth, The Roaches Have No King by Daniel Evan Weiss). Of course, I didn’t get any actual recommendations out of the search, but other searches on the engine have proven more fruitful. It’s not perfect, but it looks like a good start.

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1

"The Little Friend" by Donna Tart, or for Seattle-interest nonfic, try "Bare: On Women, Sex and Dancing" (can't remember the author and the title might be a bit off, sorry) written by a former Lusty Lady employee.

Posted by Lulu | April 11, 2008 2:20 PM
2

Well, I always recommend the good old Phenomenology of Spirit, but since that's more of a months- or years-long process and since you like words and stuff, you might want to look at Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. It's really interesting. Otherwise you could try Freud's Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, which is actually really entertaining.

Posted by David E. | April 11, 2008 2:32 PM
3

Huh. I typed in "i have a vagina" by "i am a man" and it gave me Josh Feit's resume.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 11, 2008 2:45 PM
4

I'd try Who Stole My Cheese And How Do I Hunt Them Down?

It's a fun story.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 11, 2008 3:02 PM
5

I'm going to make a recommend-bot for Christians that only recognizes the Bible and only recommends the Bible. "You enjoyed The Bible? Why then perhaps you should try reading... The Bible!"

Going to put ads on it and use the money to buy Absolute vodka, pit bull chow and parodies of the Last Supper.

Posted by elenchos | April 11, 2008 3:06 PM
6

Good find, Mr. Constant. Amazon's recommendation system sucks - partially, as my boyfriend points out, 'cause it's based on what people buy (including what they buy as gifts), not what they like. I'm getting awesome results from this site - a great model. Especially great because it lets you enter in books you HATE and EXCLUDE them from your recommendations. Hot. Thanks.

Posted by Sister Y | April 11, 2008 3:25 PM
7

I recently enjoyed City of Words, a collection of lectures by Alberto Manguel; Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Murakami; and The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall.

I did not enjoy The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks.

And I've yet to find any recommendation engine that works worth a damn.

Posted by Gitai | April 11, 2008 3:34 PM
8

A Tribe Apart: A Journey into the Heart of American Adolescence by Patricia Hersch

The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno

The House on the Point: A Tribute to Franklin W. Dixon and The Hardy Boys by Benjamin Hoff

And of course, you can never go wrong with Star Wars: X-Wing - Iron Fist by Aaron Allston

Posted by Greg | April 11, 2008 3:58 PM
9

Heh. I named me band on Rock Band the "Sot-Weed Factor." I've never heard anyone else mention it.

Posted by Ashley | April 11, 2008 4:10 PM
10

A tip on using the site (I have been doing nothing else for an hour, thanks PC): find other lists that match to an Evan S. Connell book and you'll be put in touch with immediate awesomeness.

I was sitting here going "Wow, all people seem to read is sci fi and children's literature," and my boyfriend commented that it might have to do with the sample of early adopters of the technology.

Posted by Sister Y | April 11, 2008 4:43 PM
11

Oh I just loves me The Dick Gibson Show...Stanley rock the house!

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | April 11, 2008 5:33 PM
12

"Points for a Compass Rose" by Evan S. Connell or any other of his amazing books; also Collected Poems by C. P. Cavafy. You'll be enthralled.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | April 11, 2008 5:54 PM
13

How can a story be fun? he willfully asked.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | April 11, 2008 5:56 PM
14

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell; or Independent People by Halldor Laxness

Posted by isabelita | April 11, 2008 6:05 PM
15

Born on a Blue Day--don't remember author, by an autistic person

Crazy--a former WA Post writer researches and writes about how the criminal justice system treats those with mental illness after his mentally ill son goes through an ordeal.

These are books my sister has read.

I read Fat Girl by Judith Moore last summer--pretty good.

Haven't read this, but Awakenings--don't remember author, about a doctor examining patients with severe brain disorders, made into a movie with really famous actors in it (Robin Williams? Robert DeNiro?).

Posted by feom | April 12, 2008 12:46 AM
16

The Brothers Bishop -- Bart Yates

Posted by Alex | April 12, 2008 5:11 AM

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