Has anybody checked out librarything.com? I read about in the Guardian yesterday so had a look - it is pretty cool. You add a list of all the books you are reading or have read and from there you can see who likes similar books, get recommendations based on your own catalogue, see books with similar tags and so on and so forth.
I spent an hour or two last night just going through and trying to remember all the books I’ve read and adding them to my list - I actually found that pretty addictive in itself (I’m in Cornwall with the in-laws whilst my book collection is at home in London, so I actually had to put some effort into thinking about what I’d read). Very sad, I know. The only trouble is that the free account limits you to adding just 200 books to your catalogue, so I’ve run out of space before I can even go and check out all the books on my shelves at home to see what I forgot:
What, you mean give up my books… Noooo! I am a “book squirrel”, as I think was the phrase by Paul somebody in that book about the Eastern European guy and the middle-aged woman I read a few years ago, but I can’t remember the name of the book nor the surname of the author and actually maybe it was “badger” not “squirrel”.
Library Thing is pretty cool. (You can see my library here.) I’ve only imported what I’ve read recently. I’m tempted to move my entire catalog from book collector, but I’d have to pay, and Library Thing almost seems like a gimmick. Sure, I’d like to see how my author cloud looks, and I’d like to see what other people have similar tastes in order to find some other books.
Keith, ironically it looks like we only share Jane Eyre (which I found ridiculous) and White Teeth (which I liked, but which, if I remember correctly, you didn’t). Go figure.
[size=75]Of course, neither of our lists are complete, and I like Haruki Murakami, for example, although maybe not as much as you do. [/size]
LibraryThing is definitely a gimmick, and there is no way I’m paying for it - hence my list is stuck at the first 200 I entered.
Indeed. Oh well. Still, it looks like you like Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, which I love, and Tom Stoppard (I’m a big fan of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead); and my other half is currently reading Freakonomics, so I’m getting large chunks read out to me. What did you make of number9dream? That was massively inspired by Murakami (to the extent that it acknowledges so through a reference to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, though not by name). For me, it had the same effect as White Teeth - I thought the first half was fantastic and the last half pure drivel (goat writer - pah! - and a pathetic reference to Murakami’s Sheepman, t’boot).
Looks like our mismatch continues. I only read the first of Auster’s New York Trilogy. I didn’t like it enough to read the next two. Although, I would probably agree with you concerning number9dream, if I had bothered to finish it. I read about 75 pages then decided enough was enough. He never met a metaphor he didn’t like. And (outside of Murakami), I’m suspect of the crazy-dream type plots. I liked Coast of Utopia well enough, however.
I just skimmed Freakonomics. (And now it seems like I didn’t really read any of the books I have on my list. Hmpf.) It was okay. I try not to read non-fiction now. I found myself reading non-fiction after non-fiction for awhile. Then I realized that if I don’t want facts, I want truth. Now I try to read novels exclusively.
The recent books I’ve read that I would definitely encourage everyone to read are:
War and Peace: I remember you wanted a push to read that one, Keith, although you might just wait until the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation comes out this Fall. It didn’t show up on my list, because I’d read an old, pre-ISBN copy. This is a prefect description of Russia during the war. Everything from the unique/universality of love to the individuality that can swell into the movement of nations is just, exactly right. Read it.
99 ways to tell a story: This is a single, one-page comic that is re-told in 99 different styles. (Take a look inside the Amazon link for an idea.) It’s a really good book to help think about style.
In the Wake: This is a good story about loss. The whole book conveyed a wonderful sense of loneliness. And I thought the following description (which is a good description of a book’s influence) is good enough alone to warrant the rest of the book: