whichbook should I read?
June 23, 2003 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Whichbook: a neat little flash app that permits you to select on a sliding scale up to four different features of a novel and then recommends a list of prospective reading to you. (Plain-text available here). (via sixdifferentways).
posted by Ufez Jones (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Witty at 11:16 AM on June 23, 2003

damn i went for extremely disturbing, violent, sexy and unpredictable and it gave me Hardy Boys-book on tape
posted by Peter H at 11:21 AM on June 23, 2003

That's really bloody cool.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:34 AM on June 23, 2003

Just what I've been looking for. Thanks!
posted by mikrophon at 12:01 PM on June 23, 2003

This seriously rocks. What a great way to find new books to read. I wish there would be something like this in the US (for the borrow feature), but I guess that's why there's interlibrary loan, right?
posted by eilatan at 12:11 PM on June 23, 2003

Drat! I just returned from the library. I'll use it next time. So cool - thank you thank you.
posted by rainbaby at 12:21 PM on June 23, 2003

Yay Ufez! Danke!
posted by dejah420 at 12:29 PM on June 23, 2003

Yet another person won over here.
posted by stoneegg21 at 12:39 PM on June 23, 2003

Fan-freakin-tastic!! Hopefully they'll expand it to include other titles published before 1995 (the apparent current cutoff date). This "Lottery Funded" stuff is neat; isn't the Old Bailey Online project also lotto funded?
posted by arco at 12:44 PM on June 23, 2003

The interface leaves much to be desired, but the concept is cool
posted by Outlawyr at 1:05 PM on June 23, 2003

arco: The "parallels" section, at least (the small print stuff under each mini-review) includes pre-1995 titles. I recognized "The Wizard of Earthsea" (Ursula Leguin) and "The Sorceror Belgarath" (David Eddings), anyways. Excellent idea, anyways. One of my favourite used bookstores once had a clerk who loved to pick stuff based on the most abstract descriptions, and she usually came up with stuff that was at least worth reading, but sadly she doesn't work there anymore. So this is almost an automated version of that.
posted by arto at 1:16 PM on June 23, 2003

Ya know, I don't know if I'm blown away. I really don't want to dial up literature on a menu. "Give me something with lots of sex, that's unusual and beautiful!" Eh. Less than enthused.
posted by solistrato at 1:27 PM on June 23, 2003

solistrato, I agree it might not be useful for some (many?) people, but these are the kind of vague notions and outlines librarians often have to work with when doing reader's advisory (the "what do I read next?" questions); i.e. we got lots of people saying things like "I like books that are funny, but have no sex in them at all." This could be helpful with those users, and/or it could be something we steer them towards so they can do their own exploring.
posted by arco at 1:34 PM on June 23, 2003

bit suspect about some of the pieces of criticism, though it threw up some interesting choices.

but it is a nice idea and some work on the quality of the content and the interface should make it a winner.

also, they should license it to Amazon.
posted by johnny novak at 1:34 PM on June 23, 2003

nifty UI - but it's always the data behind this kind of thing that matters. Flash sliders? Pretty ok, I guess. I find this site's UI to be a real hoot.
posted by scarabic at 2:25 PM on June 23, 2003

It always seems to come up with something, no matter what you put. I tried to put in the most contradictory things I could, to see if I could stump it. With the pointers all the way towards funny, sad, conventional and disgusting, it gave me: Previous Convictions by Simon Temprell, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle, Moscow Stations by Venedict Yerofeev, and Bordersnakes by James Crumley. All of these were only "fair" matches, though.
posted by Shoeburyness at 2:51 PM on June 23, 2003

With the pointers all the way towards funny, sad, conventional and disgusting, it gave me: {snip} The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle

That's a pretty accurate description of that book (although disgusting would be a bit of a stretch for me). TWWWID is a fantastic book that takes the reader through a slow realization of what is happening to the main character through her own eyes. Amazing book.

Now, in terms of the UI - there's a few sliders that I'd like to see added. I'd like a surveillance slider that allows you to chart between 'not an eyebrow raised' to 'Ashcroft alerted.' I'd also like a timeline slider that allowed you to select only recently published books as opposed to books written years and years ago.

By the way, Porno, by Irving Welsh is a fantastic followup to Trainspotting.
posted by DragonBoy at 3:40 PM on June 23, 2003

It does have some pre-1995 books, because it recommended Pedro Paramo, which I read in the 70's.
posted by teo at 3:56 PM on June 23, 2003

This is very, very cool. I don't see this as a flash app that 'suggests' books as much as a very slick way of browsing. By clicking and sliding one can find many books that they've never heard of or haven't thought of in awhile. Amazon should buy this and implement it immediately.

On a side note, I kept trying to anticipate the apps responses. I put Sad, Violent, Disturbing and Sex in it a got Filth by Irvine Welsh as my first response and AM Holmes' End of ALice as my second. I was shooting for American Psycho.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:14 PM on June 23, 2003

[this is neat]
posted by muckster at 4:37 PM on June 23, 2003

Apparently there are no non-human quest driven stories set in mongolia. So if anyone here is thinking of writing a novel that might be an in.
posted by arha at 6:00 AM on June 24, 2003

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