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The Best Book Suggester, and a couple of others


click to visit librarything

I know a lot of you are here for book recommendations. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I like to write book-related posts so much: they nearly always result in more recommendations for me to try as well.

Hands down, I think the best book suggester is always going to be another human. But if you’ve ever drowned in one of Amazon’s “You might also like” lists, you know that the algorithms can also lead you down some pretty interesting paths. This collective ability to pester each other and compile our likes and dislikes is one of the major perks of the web that Nichola Carr talks about in his wonderful book The Shallows: How The Internet Is Changing Our Brains.

Other than Amazon’s recommendations, there are also a couple of others I enjoy.


Librarything is a virtual bookshelf. You can catalog all of your own books, and visitors can browse your shelves. For instance, if you want to know what I’ve been reading (or at least what I’ve been conscientious enough to catalog) you can take a look at my own Librarything bookshelf.

Other than the cataloging, there’s a decent community and no shortage of recommendations.

Good Reads

Similar. Good Reads is like a social network for book junkies. I’m no longer a member because I’m trying to cut down my online activity and figured one online book site was enough.


I have also dabbled with Shelfari but never committed for the same reason I dropped GRs. Our library also subscribes to a couple of services that are okay: one is called Novelist, and the other is called What Should I Read Next?

But there’s nothing I enjoy more than talking books with real, live, flesh and blood friends. Or people here on the blog.

Are there any other book communities, blogs, book suggesters, or cataloging services that any of you particularly enjoy or recommend?




Comments on this entry are closed.

  • DC5 April 17, 2011, 12:50 pm

    I have no suggestions for online book communities per se, other than the obvious sources. As you probably know, most libraries also have reading groups—groups where you can actually meet and interact with real live humans. Imagine that! Some bookstores also have reading circles with set meeting times.

    I see from Librarything that you enjoy Dan Simmons. I have seventeen of his books on my shelf–all excellent. I’ve also met Simmons twice. Nice guy.

    • Josh Hanagarne April 17, 2011, 1:36 pm

      Awesome. Simmons might be my favorite in terms of pure enjoyment. I think I’ve reviewed Song of Kali, The Terror, Carrion Comfort, and done a brief mention of Ilium on here somewhere.

  • Brook April 17, 2011, 5:43 pm

    I tend to prefer sites that suggest authors rather than specific books:


    gives you a cloud of suggestions, with authors most similar to the one you’d entered at the center of the cloud.


    gives you a list of authors who had been viewed by others who’d entered the same author.

  • nic April 18, 2011, 7:31 am

    I like fictfact for tracking series (it doesn’t do standalone books). It emails me to tell me when a series I am tracking has another book coming out – I easily lose track otherwise.

  • Jodi Kaplan April 18, 2011, 8:45 am

    In addition to the ones you mentioned, there’s also http://www.whichbook.net (this is automated – choose by “mood” (happy or sad, easy or demanding) or plot/character/setting

    I also belong to this online book club (we’re always looking for people to help feed our need for more and more books)

  • Gustavo April 19, 2011, 8:05 am

    Hi Josh,

    I took a look of your large bookshelf. You do like diversity.

    Have you made a book review about stieg larssons’s books? I would like to know what you think about them.

  • Marleah April 20, 2011, 8:49 pm

    We sometimes use http://www.tastekid.com – get recommendations for authors, books, even movies and music. I’m a GoodReads junkie.

  • Stuart Atkins April 29, 2011, 10:33 am

    Hi Josh. Stuart Atkins, here. If you would like to take a look at my book, Small Business Marketing: A Guide for Survival, Success, and Growth (Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle), I would be glad to send you a copy. What is your review process? Thanks!

    • Josh Hanagarne April 29, 2011, 6:23 pm

      Hi Stuart, I’d love to take a look. No guarantees on a timeframe for reading/reviewing, but I’d love to read it. Send me an email and I’ll give you an address.