Friday, 17 August 2012

Need Help Finding Your Next Read?

Here are some recommendation sites you can try:

The newest book suggestion program I've heard about is Curated Fantasy Books / Curated Science Fiction (they've done some other genres as well).

Here's a little about them:

Here at, we suggest only the best fantasy books, selected by a human curator, and organized by specific fantasy category. Unlike many sites on the web, we can’t be gamed and we can’t be bought. Imagine entering the world’s best fantasy bookstore, with table after table filled with great suggestions. Find the books that you will really love reading.
Another site that's still in Beta is Book Browsr.  Again, the point with this site is personal recommendations.  A bit about them:

The recommendations come from book buyers and avid book readers. These people’s jobs and passion are to read books and choose the very best.
So yes, the recommendations are good. And they will get better and better as you interact with Bookbrowsr and your favorite recommenders.

And one that was suggested to me by the folks at SF Signal for helping with the New Author Spotlight posts, What should I read next?  You type the title/author/ISBN into the database and see what pops up.

I have to admit, I don't use these types of sites often generally use these types of sites myself.  My to be read pile is always too high for me to actually read everything, so the idea of looking for new books doesn't come up often.  And, of course, I see new books arrive at the store (and preview them for my upcoming books segment) so there's always plenty to read.  I'm currently reading old SF novels, I've recently 'discovered' short stories, and with publisher/author requests for reviews...

*Edited to add* Personally I haven't found these types of sites to be very accurate in terms of finding books that I'd enjoy.  "You should read this" types of endorsements don't take into consideration different likes/dislikes, and so can miss the mark easily.  I liked Battle Royale, but I know it's not a book everyone should read.  If my review consisted of, "it's a totally awesome book that'll make you think", I'd be accurate but readers who don't like excessive violence would feel misled reading the book based on that recommendation.

Do you find sites like these useful?  Where do you find your next book?


Tom said...

I'm really interested in the Curated websites but they don't seem to be loading for me :(

The second site seemed exceedingly useless and I regret signing up. Selecting "science fiction" as the genre gave me results that were almost anything but, including fantasy and paranormal romance. There's no way to indicate any further what your tastes might be, in order to narrow down recommendations. What a waste of internet space.

Jessica Strider said...

Hmm... the curated website pages loaded yesterday but I'm having the same trouble (18th).

I haven't found any of these sites to be particularly useful for me. I signed up for Bookbrowsr back when it was called Custom Reads, as one of their recommenders. But there's only so much time in a day, and I didn't have time to distill a review into one sentence (all you were allowed for the site at the time). I looked it over again today and it's definitely changed more than just its name. You can only see one recommendation at a time and the recommendations are definitely more than a sentence long.

My concern with the curated websites is that the books are recommended, but nothing says why. The ratings seem to be out of 3 stars, with no indication of what the different ratings mean or how a book gets it. I found several books I couldn't finish rated in the top category, which just shows that what one person thinks is a great book doesn't necessarily carry on to the next person.

Makes me glad I appropriated the SF Signal pro/con way of saying if a book is good for my reviews, as what I consider a con isn't one for everyone. It makes it easier to know if a particular book will appeal to you.

When I recommend books to people at the store I try to get an idea not only of what they've read and liked in the past, but WHY they liked those books. If they liked Game of Thrones because of the political intrigue I'd recommend a different book than if they liked the inclusion of dragons into the story or the heavy focus on war.

Sorry I got you to sign up for the bookbrowsr site. I didn't realize how much it had changed. And just so you know, you don't have to sign up for the curated stuff to get their top books (you may have to for later stuff, I can't remember, and as the site is down I can't check).

Thanks for commenting.

Curated Science Fiction said...

Hey there,
My name is Travis and I represent Curated Science Fiction (as well as our other genres). I really appreciate the post about our site! That being said, the websites were down for maintenance the other day, but are back up and fully operational! And yes, our Curator's are human, so there are obviously a few discrepancies, but we feel that it's better than most websites with aggregated search results or keywords or rankings involved. You can click on the Curator's bio page to see who is doing the selecting, but often they are highly respected in the specific genre's field.

Once again, thank you so much for discussing our website!