How to net new authors
As summer approaches and the subject of holiday reads comes up, the tendency is to go for the flavour of the month and be lured by the recommendations of a book club. Of course, we all have individual tastes and finding reads that match can be difficult, particularly if you want to widen your horizons.
Several websites offer searches that suggest books based on your tastes or reading history, the best of which I found to be bookseer.com.
Free from clutter, you simply fill in the title and author of your last book and it will return a list of titles that are deemed to be similar, based on results from other book apps and -- you guessed it, Amazon.
Testing the site with a popular read was hardly a challenge, Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol returning every other Dan Brown title, but also suggesting 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs and Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett, among others.
Trying something more obscure, I keyed in a book sitting at my elbow by Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun, called The Ring is Closed. The search again returned the author's back catalogue, plus a few others that I have never heard of; which is, I suppose, exactly what I wanted.
To prove the website is not just a slave to populism, they recently compiled their most searched titles and while the Harry Potters and Twilights are all in there, it is refreshing to see classics such as The Great Gatsby and 1984 as well as critically lauded but not so widely read titles such as Water for Elephants and The Perks of Being A Wallflower.
Other sites worth a look are bookarmy.com, which is more of a social networking site and demands time and energy to read and review books and to enter into discussions with other readers.
Whichbook.net is a novel but clumsy site that offers a selection of categories to choose from -- sex, romance, adventure etc -- even down to pinpointing a place on a virtual globe. Looking for a sex romp in Kazakhstan the site came up blank, so I went to whatshouldireadnext. com, which, like bookseer, suggests books based on your last read. But with The Road returning just about every book with the word 'road' in the title, you can be sure the results are simply based on key words.