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December 4, 2006 11:20 AM   Subscribe

If you like this book, you will not like this book. UnSuggester suggests books that you will not like. [via /.]
posted by Sticherbeast (50 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, that didn't work.
posted by jefgodesky at 11:26 AM on December 4, 2006


Three Trials. 1) The Trial: results: a bunch of books I'd never heard of. 2) Kafka on the Shore: results: mostly Christian books. What, Christians hate Murakami? Who knew? 3) Macbeth: results: nothing. No one one this site reads Shakespeare, apparently.
posted by kozad at 11:36 AM on December 4, 2006


A++++ WOULD SNARK AGAIN

Also, Terry Pratchett seems to be the catch-all antipode to everything Biblical. Which makes no goddamn sense.
posted by Mayor West at 11:37 AM on December 4, 2006


kozad: I guess no one doesn't read not Shakespeare, rather.
posted by Mach5 at 11:38 AM on December 4, 2006


Hm, HST is the opposite of Biblical literature, too. (And chick lit with vampires? Bwuh?)

Actually, I wonder if people who primarily own books like "Knowing God" don't own non-Christian books at all (or don't deem them important to input.)
posted by cobaltnine at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2006


kozad writes "What, Christians hate Murakami? Who knew?"

Maybe it's because Christians are anti-handjob? (seriously, I think Murakami has a "handjob quota" for every novel he writes; there must be at least one!).

The site doesn't work. It just returns stuff at random. I put in two recent books I read ("Failed States" by Chomsky and "State of Denial" by Woodward) and got a very, very random assortment of fiction books, some of which I previously read and liked...
posted by clevershark at 11:53 AM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Apparently, if you like Camus, you don't like doing arts and crafts involving socks. Or at least, you don't like reading books about doing arts and crafts involving socks.

This is, like, soooo useful. I was just going to run out and buy Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch, but now that it's been unsuggested, I'm going to stay in and save time and money. Thanks, Unsuggester!
posted by notswedish at 11:53 AM on December 4, 2006


It seems more like everything Biblical is the antipode to everything else.
posted by dontoine at 11:53 AM on December 4, 2006


Libruls hate teh G*D!1
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:53 AM on December 4, 2006


A search of Star Wars brought up a bunch of books about Star Wars. I guess if I really liked Star Wars, I would hate anything written by George Lucas.
posted by Diskeater at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2006


The site doesn't work. It just returns stuff at random.

I'm pretty sure it's a probability thing. Let's take The Da Vinci Code, for example. Out of, say, 100,000 libraries with millions of books, 7000 libraries feature this book. Let's take some other book - ANSI Common Lisp. Out of 100,000 libraries, 132 have this book. The null hypothesis is that ANSI Common Lisp should appear the same percentage of the time in those 7000 libraries than in the 100,000 libraries. If that's not true, than the book is either a remarkably bad suggestion or a remarkably good suggestion. (Of course this is all guesstimation based on the data given).

Determining the many factors that will cause this analysis to suck will be left as an exercise to the reader.
posted by muddgirl at 12:07 PM on December 4, 2006


Wow, that's a pretty diverse list of unsuggestibles.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:08 PM on December 4, 2006


Hm...Snowcrash came up with nothing, so I typed in Memoirs of a Geisha (which I'm currently reading) and Christian lit. came up too...who's running this operation?
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 12:09 PM on December 4, 2006


Meh, I think it goes a little beyond that and into the "if you read non-fiction then you won't like fiction" kind of thing, unless it's about specific "low-hanging fruit" kind of subjects like politics or religion. And even then, the results when I put in Chomsky books were hopelessly meaningless.
posted by clevershark at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2006


Jeffgodesky: good taste in books, my friend.

Meh, didn't work for me either. The Life of Pi came up with nothing, and apparently if I like science fiction, that means I hate knitting.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:17 PM on December 4, 2006


Middlemarch also resulted in a spate of unsuggested religious books.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:35 PM on December 4, 2006


apparently if I like science fiction, that means I hate knitting

And any Jane Austen novel brings up all programming books.
posted by rottytooth at 12:35 PM on December 4, 2006


Apparently, if you like Richard Price, you really won't like Terry Pratchett, if this contraption is to be believed.

I don't get it.
posted by jonmc at 12:36 PM on December 4, 2006


Am I crazy for never having heard of this "John Piper" guy? I guess not, since he's been near the top of the unsuggestion list for almost every single book I've put in.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 12:38 PM on December 4, 2006


And if you like Dispatches you won't like Anne Rice
posted by jonmc at 12:38 PM on December 4, 2006


arcticwoman: "Meh, didn't work for me either. The Life of Pi came up with nothing, and apparently if I like science fiction, that means I hate knitting."

So what explains the existence of a whole website singularly dedicated to the correct knitting of Doctor Who scarves?
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:45 PM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Am I crazy for never having heard of this "John Piper" guy? I guess not, since he's been near the top of the unsuggestion list for almost every single book I've put in.

I got him too when I entered Gravity's Rainbow.
posted by brundlefly at 12:49 PM on December 4, 2006


Not that I think this thing is necessarily the bees' knees, but does anybody have an example yet where they're incorrect? I.e., their library actually contains the book searched and one of their Unrecommendations?

Doctor Who scarf-knitters aside, of course.
posted by gurple at 1:07 PM on December 4, 2006


There's an entire book of Doctor Who sewing and knitting patterns.
posted by John Shaft at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2006


James Ellroy also turns up the Christ Lit.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:11 PM on December 4, 2006


LibraryThing is a great site I've been using it since it was first mentioned here on MeFi years back when it first opened. Tim is constantly doing cool tweaks and features. The book stats in general are very interesting.
posted by stbalbach at 1:32 PM on December 4, 2006


UnSuggestions for The Bible by

17 members (58,053 more popular); average rating 4.25 stars. Members with the book have have a total of 17,956 books in their libraries (see good suggestions).

Sorry. A book must be owned by at least 75 members to have unrecommendations.


Huh.
posted by Bugg at 1:45 PM on December 4, 2006


but does anybody have an example yet where they're incorrect

Yes, I love "Lamb: The Gospel of Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" and I also have the following Unreccomends:

"The Earthsea Trilogy"
"The Tale of Peter Rabbit"
"The Hobbit"
"The birth of tragedy out of the spirit of music"

Although I do not any of the dozens of Christian-themed books it said I would hate. It was right about those, go figure.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:49 PM on December 4, 2006


Although most of my favorite books aren't even included. No Catch-22, for instance.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:50 PM on December 4, 2006


So I started with the most obscure book I could think of offhand; "Norstrilia" by Cordwainer Smith (old Golden Age SciFi stuff), and it said I wouldnt like the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Mmm'kay

Then I entered Ray Bradbury's "Death is a Lonely Business" and it said I wouldn't like Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy. Alrighty then.

Guess I'll just go back to skipping between Karen Armstrong's "Buddha" and my latest issue of Maxim.
posted by elendil71 at 2:17 PM on December 4, 2006


Well I love "Animal Farm," but I'd probably enjoy reading books that discuss the new testament, too. Just not in public.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2006


Also, I remember hating a book I had to read back in high school which was about a guy who cheats on his wife. It featured lots of snow, I recall, and it had a very predictable ending. Can anyone think of the name? I might want to read the unreccomendations for it.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:24 PM on December 4, 2006


I spent some time fooling with this a couple of weeks ago after it was linked from the Bookfinder blog. Here is the announcement, which explains in a little more detail how the UnSuggester works. I suspect it's somewhat compromised by the 200-item cap on free LibraryThing accounts, and by people's using LibraryThing to catalog single-purpose libraries rather than their entire collections (if I'm using LibraryThing to keep track of my programmer's reference manuals, of course I'm not going to include Wuthering Heights). But it's still fun to play with.

A fun game: Try to come up with books that are only the opposite of really great books, with as few stinkers on the list as possible. The best I could come up with was Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which seems basically to be the opposite of a well-read life.
posted by RogerB at 2:25 PM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Create table like so:

Books that liberals might like | Books about Christanity
Books geeks might like | Books about shopping
Books about science | Fictional fantasy books
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2006


Yep, RogerB has named the top two reasons I could come up with to explain the weirdness - small libraries, and single-purpose libraries. For all those mainstream protestant books - many churches have personal libraries devoted solely to books like John Piper's. They rarely contain anything but protestant devotionals. Such a library would skew almost all of the unsuggestions towards protestant devotionals. The same with programming reference libraries.

Another sticking point is going to be rare books. If there's only 1 or 2 copies of a book floating around LibraryThing, then the "best unsuggestion" is actually going to be the most popular book in all the libraries.

(also, the search function isn't very good right now).
posted by muddgirl at 2:59 PM on December 4, 2006


Although most of my favorite books aren't even included. No Catch-22, for instance.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:50 PM PST on December 4


Weird - I was just posting this link (I didn't notice Sticherbeast's post until I did a preview.) In my FPP content, I specifically listed Catch-22 (my favorite as well). Search with the hyphen, arcticwoman - you're least likely to enjoy Vogue Knitting on the Go: Socks Two.

It's right. That book sucked.
posted by bonecrusher at 3:21 PM on December 4, 2006


The most interesting thing about the UnSuggester is is that it shows that we really DO live on different planets from each other.

The people who have a lot of SF really don't hold any books in common with the born-agains. The owners of the hard-core programming manuals don't have any overlap with the owners of Chick Lit.

It's a pretty common-sensical observation, but it's depressing to have it demonstrated.

Oh, and by the way, LibraryThing is one of the top reasons the internets were invented.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 3:38 PM on December 4, 2006


Any decent literature I put in returns a bunch of christian books. Not that that surprise me.
posted by 2sheets at 4:20 PM on December 4, 2006


Phillip Pullman's "The Golden Compass" gets me a whole list of Christian books. ("Northern Lights" has nothing.)

"Living Wicca" gets me, among others, "Blink" and "Freakonomics" - which I actually do enjoy. Hmm.
posted by divabat at 4:51 PM on December 4, 2006


Hm...Snowcrash came up with nothing

Snow Crash unsuggestions

LibraryThing is fantastic. Unsuggester, not so much. Why would I be looking for books I don't want?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:02 PM on December 4, 2006


This is a slightly (and only slightly) interesting thing to try :

1. Choose any book. Any book at all. Get UnSuggestions for it.

2. Take the top choice, and get UnSuggestions for that.

3. Repeat step 2 until you are bouncing back and forth between two books. These are books that, according to the algorithm, are more unlike each other than almost any other pairing.

F'r instance, Catch-22 and Vogue Knitting on the Go are very unlike each other, but Slaughterhouse-Five and Vogue Knitting on the Go have an even wider gulf between 'em.
posted by suckerpunch at 5:12 PM on December 4, 2006


Now that I'm really trying this out, too many bookpairs rate as exact opposites. Damn you, you small, single-purpose libraries!
posted by suckerpunch at 5:17 PM on December 4, 2006


I feel like I'm back in junior high.

If you like Duran Duran, you will not like Van Halen.
posted by dreamsign at 5:19 PM on December 4, 2006


Okay, pitting mostly non-fic against fic is annoying and ridiculous.
-Experiment: input book I didn't like, A Million Little Pieces which is labeled biography but really fiction.
-Am given a list starting with Design patterns : elements of reusable object-oriented software. Haha, that does sound like something I would like.

I can see how something like this is useful, or at the very least amusing. Though I would like it if they would limit unsuggestions to the same lit. category.
posted by moonshine at 6:13 PM on December 4, 2006


Things that polyamorous people wouldn't like (apparently):
- Pratchett
- Tolkien
- Anything about the Revolutionary War
- Popular literature (Stephen King, Agatha Christie, etc)
- Hemingway

But most of all, they HATE Josh Grisham with an unearthly passion.
posted by mazatec at 10:41 PM on December 4, 2006


Citizen Premier: you were asking about a book from high school?

Also, I remember hating a book I had to read back in high school which was about a guy who cheats on his wife. It featured lots of snow, I recall, and it had a very predictable ending. Can anyone think of the name? I might want to read the unreccomendations for it.

Might that have been Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton?

If so, you're unsuggested towards both Christian theology and programming books. Fantastic!
posted by janell at 8:56 AM on December 5, 2006


Another example where it's incorrect: I put in What Katy Did and unsuggestions included The Hobbit, Slaughterhouse Five, A Widow for One Year and Grendel, all books I have and think are good. But I do see the point of unsuggesting 13 Stephen Kings in this case.
posted by paduasoy at 11:48 AM on December 5, 2006


Alright, it makes sense, maybe, that science fiction would turn up lots of Christian unsuggestions. And the point about solely devotional libraries is probably true. Still, it seems strange that A Canticle for Leibowitz would have so many. What with the monks and the Pope and the Jesus and all.
posted by crake at 3:36 PM on December 5, 2006


Lies, all lies.
posted by seanyboy at 4:20 PM on December 5, 2006


Yes, Ethan Frome was it. But, interestingly, it still suggests those who liked it wouldn't like religious books.

I suspect the people who are listing these religious books don't or can't read anything else.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:57 PM on December 7, 2006


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