Book lovers know this feeling well. You stumble upon a book that no one recommended. It’s not even the type of book you would usually read. But you picked it up, you read it, and you fell in love. That “discovery” is a giddy feeling, not to mention that you now have a new category of books to dive into.
We’ve already shown you ways to find new books to read. But that’s about catering to your own tastes. Discovering a new type of book is a whole new rush. And these sites can help you with that.
1. Recommend Me A Book (Web): Read an Excerpt Without Prejudice
Biases are an unfortunate side-effect of being human. It’s just how the human brain works. We have authors we love or hate, we have favorite genres, and other small biases that stop us from exploring new avenues. Recommend Me A Book changes all that.
The site gives you a short excerpt from a book without revealing anything about the author, the book, or other information that might bring in a bias. Read it, and if you like it, then click the “Reveal Title & Author” button to find out what it was. If you didn’t fancy it much, the “Next Book” button will give you a new excerpt.
It’s a fascinating way to find new books that you would otherwise skip because of their authors or genres. RMAB also shows a large list of covers, if you’d prefer to judge a book by it.
2. Judgey (Web): Judge Books by Their Covers
If you actually like to use covers as a yardstick in choosing books, then forget RMAB and play a game with Judgey. It’s a recommendation engine that actually judges books by their covers.
Here’s how it works: Judgey will show you 10 different book covers. When you see a cover, rate it on a scale of five stars. Judgey will show you how closely this matches with the book’s Goodreads rating. At the end of the ten books, Judgey will tell you how good you are at judging books by their covers.
While you’re playing the game, you can visit the Amazon link of any book cover you see. Plus, your rating can be a decent indication for you to pick up random new books in the future.
3. 100 Million Books (Web, Chrome): New Tab, New Recommendation
The simplest ideas are sometimes the best ideas. 100 Million Books recommends a new book every time you open a new tab. While it’s best used as a Chrome extension, there’s a web app to work in any browser.
Like Recommend Me A Book, 100 Million Books is all about discovering things you would never see otherwise. The app uses no categories, algorithms, or other filters, says developer Steve Jain. The idea is to expand your horizon and expose yourself to any book out there.
You’ll see the book cover, the title and author, and a short excerpt from the book. If you like what you see, click through to get the Amazon link, or add it to your Goodreads collection.
Install the extension on Chrome (or other Chromium-based browsers like Opera), or set your homepage to http://100millionbooks.org/standalone/ in any browser to open it every time you start a new tab.
Download — 100 Million Books for Chrome (Free)
4. How Long To Read This (Web): Calculate the Time Needed
There are times when I’m in the mood for a thick book to dive into, and times when I want to finish quickly. How Long To Read This estimates the time needed to ready any book, supporting over 12 million popular titles.
Search for any book title and the site will tell you how long the average reader took to finish it. But what’s better is that the site has a reading speed test to check how fast you are. This includes a small extract from the book itself, so you get a more accurate idea of how long you’ll take to finish the book.
Remember to read the extract like how you normally would. Don’t try and speed-read here. In this case, it’s all about being an engaged reader and accurately calculating how much time you’ll take to read the book.
5. Takcek (Web): The Most Mentioned Books on Reddit
Nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to book recommendations. Takcek uses the internet’s biggest community of mouths, Reddit, and lists the most mentioned books on the site.
The result a list of books that people are talking about, but you also get to see what they are saying about it. Click any book to find comments about it from across Reddit, as well as which sub-reddits talked about it the most. It’s a different way to find out what a book is about, and you’ll make discoveries like never before.
Takcek also has a great search engine, along with lists by categories, time, and popularity. Don’t use it as a source of essential “best books” lists though. This is all about the tastes of regular people, not critics.
Tell Us About Your “Book Discovery”
Tell us about the time you picked up a book that you would never otherwise read. How did you find it? What did you like about it? How did you feel after you finished it?
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