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May 30, 2006 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Find your next favourite author or, use the literature map to see how authors relate.
posted by jacquilynne (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Great link, but unfortunately the literature map is a double. Still, thanks for reminding me about it!
posted by greatgefilte at 8:57 PM on May 30, 2006

Well, this litmap bugs me just as much as it did last time.

Who is the closest writer to two of my favorites, Haruki Murakami and Franz Kafka? TOM ROBBINS! Well, I admit I read a book or two of his when I was eighteen, but I'm all grown up now, and too curmudgeonly to bear to see this lightweight floating over the heads of Kafka and the author of Kafka on the Shore.
posted by kozad at 9:05 PM on May 30, 2006

New to me. Pretty cool how a search on Neal Stephenson bring s up a map with Tom Robbins in it. I thought I was the only one that had read both of those.

On a different note, Dan Brown showed up, too. I was just thinking about the connection between Da Vinci Code and Another Roadside Attraction today.
posted by webfanatic at 9:08 PM on May 30, 2006

Sigh. I searched on both URLs in all three versions of the search.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:11 PM on May 30, 2006

Great link! I guess I missed it before. Thanks
posted by RussHy at 9:59 PM on May 30, 2006

Apparently it gets smarter the more info you enter. So get typing!
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:14 PM on May 30, 2006

Neat idea, and relatively accurate, even!
posted by chicobangs at 10:32 PM on May 30, 2006

This is pretty cool, but it seems so close to the tastes of my friends (who, like me, also spend way too much time on/with/around/over/under/prepositionofyourchoice the internet) that I wonder if perhaps it's strongly biased.

Also, Haruki Murakami seems to pop up everywhere.
posted by blacklite at 10:44 PM on May 30, 2006

Anyone remember the previously posted music map not by Gnod? It was graphical, and had little spheres representing "influence" and their proximity was intended to indicate similarity. It was flawed, but I liked it, and it was one of the first posts that drew me to MeFi. Linkage?
posted by dreamsign at 11:03 PM on May 30, 2006

I kind of wish it didn't tell me to read Joyce, Orwell, Kafka, Camus.... as if I'd never heard of these people. The idea means well, but I just don't think literary interest can be automated. Maybe this is necessary in a cultural vacuum, but if I'm out of books to read (and I never am), I just ask someone whose taste I trust.
posted by bukharin at 11:47 PM on May 30, 2006

I wish liveplasma would add books to its features, as I find that interface much more useful than literature map.

Besides, I typed Joseph Heller and got Ayn Rand. Ugh.
posted by bcveen at 11:49 PM on May 30, 2006

Ah, yes, Dreamsign, I think liveplasma is the one you're thinking of.
posted by bcveen at 11:50 PM on May 30, 2006

I'm enjoying this link and generally agreeing with the maps I've tried. But yeah, who is this Haruki Murakami guy?
posted by telstar at 11:52 PM on May 30, 2006

I can't tell whether you're being serious or not, telstar, but Murakami's one of my favorite authors. I preferred A Wild Sheep Chase and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle myself, but Norwegian Wood is his best known (and most mainstream) novel. I'm crap at drawing comparisons between authors, but I think Thomas Pychon or Don DeLillo are probably the most apt comparisons I can think of at the moment.

Of course, if you were kidding, I'm now going to feel really dumb.
posted by bcveen at 11:58 PM on May 30, 2006

but if I'm out of books to read ..., I just ask someone whose taste I trust.

Yeah but I think after a while that you develop a taste in books that is particularly 'you'. Ie there's no point asking people, because while their taste may be quite similar to that of yours, its not the same. Though this website is nothing but an acccumulation of tastes of people, still might throw out authors that you've never heard of just because of the sheer scale of the data.
posted by dhruva at 12:53 AM on May 31, 2006

I like this. Seen similar for music. Works quite well. Thanks.
posted by econous at 1:07 AM on May 31, 2006

I wonder if this (or a similar algorithm) could be worked into a kind of scrobbler-type system for books, kind of like last.fm/audioscrobbler does.

So, take this toy and expand the data until it's useful, and then create communities where people who like Writer X or Style Y or Era Z (or Philosophy A or Historical Figure B or Fetish C) could get turned on to something new-yet-related.

Or am I missing something or somewhere obvious where this is already happening?
posted by chicobangs at 3:01 AM on May 31, 2006

Cool. But I've typed the same fave author in a few times and keep getting different names in the inner circle... except for Tom Robbins who seems to pop up nomatter what name I type in...
posted by missbossy at 3:42 AM on May 31, 2006

I typed in three authors and all the recommendations it gave me were clearly linked to only one of the authors I typed in. I guess it doesn't let you know if it doesn't know who you are talking about. When I went to search for the authors individually it said it didn't know them.
posted by jessamyn at 5:18 AM on May 31, 2006

Am I the only one that remembers Firefly circa 1996? Everything old is new again.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 6:06 AM on May 31, 2006

The Firefly process is called "collaborative filtering" (Mattis and Ubois, 1998). Firefly users enter the system either by registering at Firefly.com for a free "Passport", or by visiting one of the affiliated sites where they fill out a forms-based questionnaire. Firefly uses a 1-7 rating scheme. Clients are asked to rate items from the Website such as movies, articles, or books. When they have rated at least six items a database collaborative community profile is established. The data is collected in a database and potential relationships are suggested or matched for like-minded individuals among the on-line community. Over time, the recommendation system will increase in accuracy as databases share data across multiple interest groups (Vonder Haar, 1997).


posted by ereshkigal45 at 6:13 AM on May 31, 2006

Cervantes and Orson Welles are closer to Celine on the Celine map than, um, Louis-Ferdinand Celine is. Moving on...
posted by O Blitiri at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2006

This is what a good public library circ clerk does nearly effortlessly. And they do it much better.

Here's how it goes; circ staffer notices that Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith read similar books. When Mrs. Jones returns a book, the staffer asks how she liked it. If she enjoys it, she recommends it to Mrs. Smith, who then thinks the clerk is a genius who has read every book in the library.
posted by QIbHom at 10:22 AM on May 31, 2006

Any service that recommends Richard Marcinko to me on the basis of my enjoying Steven Brust is not a service I think I need to use.
posted by Fontbone at 12:04 PM on May 31, 2006

I'd like it better (as well as the movie one) if it didn't have irritating typos (Oscare Wild? Shakespear?).
posted by Amanda B at 2:56 PM on May 31, 2006

EF Benson, Charles Dickens, & John Irving suggested to them that I like to read nonfiction:

James Trefil who writes about science
Witold Rybczynski who writes about architecture
Henry Petroski who writes about engineering and design.

I requested books by all three from my library just for fun.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:35 PM on May 31, 2006

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