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Ah, the inner wondrous world of books! When things are not hunky dory outside, you can grasp a measure of calm in the imaginative and fictitious world conjured by magicians of the word. Books have always been an abiding interest. The easy availability of eBooks, and the reach of online shopping have only fueled the appetites.
I have been a long-standing member of sites like GoodReads and LibraryThing, two well-recommended book services for timely book recommendations. But the eyes roam around, trying to pick up new book titles and authors. At most times, it is random browsing; but it has led to some cool discoveries of not only worthy page turners, but also different ways to reach the goal of finding a good book to read next.
Here’s a sampling of seven places that a book lover ought to visit.
Discovering Books via a social reader: Flipboard
If you love to consume news and generally any information around the web, there’s a chance that you have Flipboard installed on your iPhone or Android. The social magazine has a category reserved for books. The multiple categories include NPR Books (What to read next), Arts & entertainment, Children & Teens, Business & Fiction etc. The Flipboard Books category is an affiliate portal into Apple’s iBookstore. The angle is that Flipboard and its multiple book categories are more attuned to discovery of books. It is also a more natural progression for someone on Flipboard to see what the latest in books is out there alongside all the interesting things he is reading on the social reader.
I couldn’t find more information about it, but from a Techcrunch article it appears that it is available in U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Brazil, France, and Germany.
An intelligent browser tool: Book Discovery
Discover books related to the website you are browsing. The browser extension for Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer suggests books similar to the theme of the website or blog you are browsing through. While on a website, click the icon of the extension, and it will display a list of books related to the topic along with their thumbnails, their prices and a link to read their reviews or buy them directly from sites like Amazon. You can sort list and also disable some of the book recommendation sites the extension plugs into., Firefox [No Longer Available],
Track books by series: FictFact
FictFact is simple. Register and log in to track your favorite series. FictFact sends you notifications when a new book is added to the book series you love. FictFact gives you six ways to find your favorite series. You can browse by series or author to start off. You can create a list of series’ you want to follow and manage it from your user account. Watch your inbox as you are likely to receive weekly emails from FictFact containing useful information about your series – for instance, new books which get added to the series.
The best book club picks: Book Movement
The Book Movement is a single-window site for tracking what’s happening in book clubs around the country (U.S.). 32,000 clubs and 20,000 book guides give you an idea about what’s happening around some of the more read-worthy books published. The ratings from the book clubs are collected and published as weekly top club picks. Book Spotlight takes you to the Top rated books and the Latest book club selections among other things. Suggested reading guides should also help you discover books to read if you are confused about where to start from. Beyond it all are chats with authors and giveaways to be won if you enter them.
Twitter Book Clubs: #1book140
— #1book140 (@1book140) December 18, 2012
Yes, even 140 characters make for great conversations around books. I discovered #1book140 thanks to a New York Times article in May. It is crowdsourcing around books and some pretty good recommendations come in from its 70,000+ followers. Here’s how it’s done in Jeff Howe’s words…
Every month we pick a literary genre (in March, for instance, we chose science fiction and read “Neuromancer,” by William Gibson, the following month) and solicit nominations. After a few days my editor and I cull through these suggestions for a shortlist of six books, which we then put up for a vote. Readers campaign for their, and by the end of the month we declare a winner. Books are procured — more often than not, downloaded — and the discussion begins.
Book Lists: The Top Ten
From Amazon lists to those on other book sites, you will always find recommended books in the guise of lists. The Top Ten is a little blog I discovered some while back which is a compilation put together with recommendations from 125 top American and British authors who listed their 10 favorite works of fiction of all time. I am not familiar with all the names of the authors on the list, but the books they have suggested should make for a lifetime of reading. The site is going beyond the 125 authors and tapping more; then it is also taking in recommendations from readers. So, stay tuned.
A Visual Book Shelf and a Social Recommendation Engine: BookLikes
BookLikes is a well-designed book service on the lines of Shelfari and GoodReads. You can create your personal shelf of books that reflects your reading tastes and is also the cue for BookLikes to offer recommendations using its algorithm and from other trusted sources. BookLikes is also a sharing platform like any other social site these days. You can see what other people are liking and reading, and use social behavior to get more idea on new books to read. Your activities through the months are reflected on a timeline. You can also write and share reviews and make your experience more personal.
The site seems to have gone for an overhaul but it remains free. You can log into BookLikes after requesting an invite with your email address.
And then if your appetite is not refilled to the brim, do return to the old trusties. We have covered a world of books with these archived posts:
- 8 Bestseller Lists To Find Books To Read
- 5 Websites That Alert Book Lovers About New Book Releases
- The 7 Best Book Review Podcasts & Shows To Discover New Books
- 7+ Sites To Help You Decide Which Book To Read Next
- 4 Great Sites To Do A Book Search By Plot or Subject
Do you have your own recommendations for book recommendations? Do you depend on a website, or is it still the old (but gold) word-of-mouth way? Send them in. Tell us how you go out to discover new books to read.