Finding my next recommended read...
Sometimes, I struggle in knowing which book to pick up next. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a never-ending ‘to read’ list, but trying to decide what genre I’m in the mood for can be tricky…
What about an automated recommended reads tool?
That’s why I decided to let the Internet pick my next read for me!
I found this website called ‘Whichbook’. On this site, you have the option of choosing books based on four main options:
- mood and emotion
- the world map
- character and plot
- familiar bestsellers
Once you have decided between these four, you are given ‘sliders’ to make your very own idealistic combination of exactly what you want in a book.
However, you are limited to choosing four of these options only! I don’t know if this made it easier or more difficult for me. But, what I did know was that I wanted a light, fairly happy summer read to lift my spirits and give me some positivity, and so I chose from the options accordingly. From this, the website then generates the ‘perfect’ book for you.
So, which book did the recommended reads tool choose for me?
At the top of my recommended reads list was ‘Lost Paradise’ by Cees Nooteboom – a book I’d never heard of before. Choosing to trust this website, though, I went ahead and ordered myself a copy.
This is a 2004 book, written by a Dutch author and then translated. In fact, Nooteboom has been hailed as “one of the greatest modern novelists”, and as one of Holland’s most important authors.
We begin by following the journey of two women: Alma and Almut. They move to Australia together on a spiritual quest haunted by angels. Alma longs to visit an Aboriginal paradise known as the Sickness Dreaming Place, which is in contrast to the more hedonistic Almut, who wants merely to make some money and meet some men. They then later find themselves jobs which require them to dress up as angels.
The remainder of the book follows Erik Zondag, whom initially comes across to be entirely different. However, their paths later come to cross and the connection between the two apparently unrelated halves is finally made clear.
What did I think of this chosen recommended read?
My thoughts on it? Well, meh.
With only 151 pages, the book was an easy read – I managed to read it in a few hours – and it is not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but I didn’t exactly enjoy it either.
I thought that the characters were underdeveloped whilst the plot lacked purpose and meaning.
It derived heavily on Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, meaning that, for me, it almost lost its own purpose and significance by allowing another work to overshadow it.
Regardless of that, though, I did appreciate the attempt at building a story which was haunted by longing, and the idea of rebirth in a fragmented age. The draw on angels was beautiful, and I really liked the descriptions of them.
What did I think of the Whichbook tool?
Overall, I do not regret trusting the website, buying the book or even reading it – it actually was a really fun experience! But I don’t know if I’ll try this method of picking a book again… Will you try?
You can see which book the internet will choose for you on Whichbook - why not give it a go!
Miss R Campbell, Teacher of English, Monifieth High School