Thursday, July 18, 2013

So many books, so little time

What is worst than having nothing to read?  Perhaps having TOO MUCH to read.  Working at the library has caused a constant question in my life..."What should I read next?"  As I watch books come and go from the library, I am constantly adding books to my "to read" list. I will have to live forever to read everything on my list.

When looking for a book to read, I try to find something unique, which in today's world of copycat storylines, is very hard.  It is rare for me to look to the best seller list or a "recommended" list as I often find the choices do not live up to their hype.

I tend to find an author I like and read everything by that person.  When their books run out, I am lost.  I do have some "go to" websites for discovering similar authors.  If you want to find an author that is similar to your favorite, go to www.literature-map.com and type in your authors name.  A funky bunch of names will explode onto the screen and float around.  Once they settle, you will see a screen like this:

I did a search for author suggestions similar to Vince Flynn.  In the center you see his name with a bunch of names all around.  The closer the name is to your original search name, the more alike they are. You can click on these floating author names and go to their literature map. I have found authors that I have never heard of this way.  It is one of the websites that I share with our library patrons.

Literature-map.com is part of http://gnod.net, and is described on its homepage as "Gnod is my experiment in the field of artificial intelligence. Its a self-adapting system, living on this server and 'talking' to everyone who comes along. Gnods intention is to learn about the outer world and to learn 'understanding' its visitors. This enables gnod to share all its wisdom with you in an intuitive and efficient way. You might call it a search-engine to find things you don't know about." You can also do a similar movie and similar music search.

Another website to help you find new authors is http://www.similarauthors.com/.  Type in an authors name and you will get a list like the following, showing authors to try.



One of the things that I love most about my job at the library is helping patrons discover new books and authors.  It is always a good feeling when a patron returns and tells you how much they loved the book you suggested.  Our library has a display of Staff Recommendations, which is very popular.  It is so popular that a patron will ask a staff member who recommended a book they liked, for another book recommendation. 

How do you discover new books or new authors?  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Thanks for reading.

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