Do you really need help deciding which book to read next? Early last year The Digital Reader told us about five sites which offer this service.

My feelings about this are mixed. Given that I’ve sat on the link for over a year one might posit a certain lack of interest. I mean — if you can read, surely you can decide what to read next.

I ended up test-driving them, using Loving by Henry Green as the not common, but not utterly obscure test case. The first site, What Should I Read Next, returned no result, though when I deleted the author’s name it hopefully delivered ten other books entitled Loving; well nine actually as one was a duplication. The second Your Next Read did register a hit: I was offered six editions of the self-same book, one other book by Green, plus a book about a dog called Henry, no doubt a lovable scamp, and a collection of sermons by John Henry Cardinal Newman. The Fussy Librarian involved me signing up, so I resisted the temptation and moved on to The Book Seer. He did pretty well offering me five other books by Green, all from the same publisher, and a not altogether idiotic group of five other titles from the same source (New York Review Books). Which Book works in a different way: you have to select the sort of book you are looking for by indicating how Happy/Sad, Funny/Serious etc. the book you’re looking for should be. My crazy selection did turn up some books which looked interesting.

As the commenters on The Digital Reader post vociferously pointed out there are several other options. I didn’t sign in to Goodreads. This may be a fatal blow to my bona fides as a researcher, but I get enough e-mail guff from Goodreads that I don’t want to encourage them to send any more.  These sorts of site are probably fairly easy to construct. If you Google “What book should I read next?” you’ll get lots of them. As to whether they help anyone — who can know?

In conclusion, if I am sitting around in vacant or in pensive mood, I might just consult The Book Seer, with the expectation of finding something useful. A idle few minutes could be filled at Which Book.

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