Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Book Recommendations

Some Thoughts on Reading and Social/Technological Change


There is no doubt that the last two decades have seen some remarkable changes in how reading can be done; and, folks seem to want to draw broad generalizations and cite suspicious surveys and “studies” to support some fairly radical ideas about what all us readers are doing… 

Modern Reading

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There was an article on Digital Book World a few months ago that related some common (but possibly false) reflections on readers—it’s title is How Are Books Changing?

Here are some of the comments I can’t agree with completely:

“The act of reading for pleasure is often considered just another activity—and perhaps a boring one at that—up there with watching a TV show, listening to a podcast or sending endless texts.”

“It’s clear that reading does not hold the overall importance in today’s society that it did for previous generations.”

“…for many, the way we’re reading books has undeniably changed…”

And, one comment in particular seems to me to need some deep fact-checking:

“Not as many people read as before, and for many people who do in fact read, they have neither the desire nor the time to read something lengthy, or to waste any time reading a book they may ultimately put down unfinished.”

The only other thing I’ll say about that article is that a number of the comments folks left are illuminating

Since I’ve been spending so much time over on Wattpad, I wonder if folks like the author of that article are paying attention to the Wattpad phenomenon

Here are a few stats:

“Wattpad’s monthly audience is 45 million.”

“The Wattpad community collectively spends an incredible 15 billion minutes each month using Wattpad.”

“There have been over 200 million story uploads.”

“Wattpad is available in over 50 languages.”

By the way, that 15 billion minutes/month of use equals 250 million hours; and, that’s about 8 million hours per day

So, that’s at least one place there’s a huge amount of reading going on (and, none of the users have to pay a penny for the service…)

And, if you just don’t have enough book recommendations in your life, here are 6 YouTube channels where some varied folk give varied recommendations ( and, other bookish ideas and activities, none of which I can vouch for :-)

1. climbthestacks

2. PolandBananasBooks

3. jessethereader

4. Jen Campbell

5. padfootandprongs07

6. Jellafy

Happy Reading :-)

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Book Recommendations to Stir Your Imagination and Perk-Up Your Creativity


There’s an organization called TED that shares video talks that are, usually, extremely interesting; and, often enough, quite amazing.

From TED’s history page:

“TED was born in 1984 out of Richard Saul Wurman’s observation of a powerful convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design. The first TED included a demo of the compact disc, the e-book and cutting-edge 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines using his developing theory of fractal geometry.”

Well, TED’s blog had an article entitled, Your summer reading list: 70+ book picks from TED speakers and attendees; and, even though summer is more than half over (in the Northern Hemisphere…), I’m going to share a few of those books with you.

There are ten categories, each with a number of books—I’ll pick two books from eight of the categories and let the truly curious take the link to the article (there are also brief “reviews” for each book in the full article)

Mind-bending fiction, picked by David Eagleman

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Books on art and race, picked by Anne Pasternak

Who We Be: The Colorization of America by Jeff Chang

Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East edited by Anthony Downey

Illuminating nonfiction, picked by Bill Gates

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization by Vaclav Smil

How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff and Irving Geis

Incredible interviews, picked by Dave Isay

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Haunting novels, picked by Ava DuVernay

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

Books on historical moments, picked by David Rothkopf

A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit

Books on creativity, picked by Tony Fadell

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

Thought-provoking fiction, picked by Nadia Goodman

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

Happy Reading :-)

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25+ Book Recommendation Sites


Last year I wrote a post listing the “top 10” book recommendation platforms.

Of course, any listing of the “top” sites has a bit of bias built in—your “top” may not be my “top”…

And, plenty of people would say GoodReads is the Top since it’s touted as the largest and most-used reading-recommender.

However, last month, I found an article in the Self-Publishing Review that lists 10 alternatives to GoodReads.

So, since I know many folks are hard-pressed for time and may not take every link in a blog post (“Just give me the ‘important’ ones!”), I’ll list those 10 sites right here—with the caveat that there is a bit of overlap from the post I first linked to; and, with the hopeful encouragement to take my last link so you can read SPR’s Tips for Using these Sites…

Shelfari

LibraryThing

TheReadingRoom

Libib

BookJetty

Riffle

BookLikes

BOOKish

aNobii

Readernaut

If you know of other Book Recommendation Sites, do, please, give us a link in the Comments :-)
And, Check Out our Latest Poll…
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Founder of Book Recommendation Service “Slams” Self-Publishing


Simple post today… 

Book Recommendations

Image courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/nkzs

Let’s start with the idea that most readers don’t mind having books recommended to them.

Also, it seems many recommendations come from friends.

However, Aaron Stanton, founder of The Book Genome Project, feels there are certain books that live in some subterranean world that one should avoid.

I’ll let him speak for himself (quotes from an article on Digital Book World):

“The relative ease that independent authors can publish content directly to a digital store has created a tremendous swell in content with no editorial oversight. The vast majority of these titles have almost no reliable meta-data about what’s in them. It is a large, invisible ocean of content that most people are not really aware of.”

Sounds somewhat reasonable, eh?

Well, what he’s describing is what he calls a “DarkNet” and he’s talking over-generalizing about Self-Published books:

“On the internet, the Darknet is a collection of underground or largely unindexed websites that you have to know exist in order to find. A lot of questionable content has grown around these Darknet communities — if you’re familiar with the Silk Road that was recently taken down by the authorities, you’re at least partly familiar with the Darknet.”

To be fair to the man, he’s talking about “incest, rape, and underage erotica”.

However, the way he argues could be misunderstood:

“Do I really think that the combined categories of self-published Erotic, Incest, and Bestiality compete in scale with Computer or Literature books? I certainly think it’s possible

He then gives three caveats that add up to proving absolutely nothing

Then he finishes with a sales pitch for The Book Genome Project:

“In terms of accuracy, our tools for identifying erotic content has a better than 99% catch rate, and a less than 1% false positive rate. The same is true with bestiality.”

So, if you’re walking down the street, and someone hands you a book, don’t you dare look inside it—have it checked by an expert before you’re polluted.

My God, there are plenty of places to find reviews, descriptions, and opinions about books

Like one’s friends

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This post was brought to you by Alex’s rant machine ( which only works about once a year :-)

By the way, the title of the article all those quotes are in is The Literary Darknet of Independent Publishing—great way to misrepresent the best thing that’s ever happened for books, eh?

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BONUS MATERIAL (former posts about book recommendations)

10 Places to Seek and Offer Book Recommendations

How Do Readers Discover Books?

A Free Personal Librarian?
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10 Places to Seek and Offer Book Recommendations


Last month, Digital Book World had an article about book recommendation sites.

Some of them you may already know about, some not

I’ll give you the links here but let you go to the article to read why they picked them-—>Top Ten Book Recommendation Platforms.

1: Amazon.com

2: Book Bub

3: BarnesandNoble.com

4: Bookish

5: Goodreads

6: Jellybooks

7: Riffle

8: Sony Reader Store

9: What Should I Read Next

10: Which Book

Do, please, go read what they say about each of those sites

They also have some Honorary Mentions:

Book Scout
BookLikes
BookShout!
BookSlice
Bookvibe
Gnooks
LibraryThing
Next Read
Shelfari
The Reading Room
Your Next Read

If you use any of those sites, please share your impressions in the Comments :-)
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