A Computer-Based Alternative to Book Browsing?


The New York Times has published an article about a brand new Internet application called Tertulia, designed to condense the immense amount of online “bookchat” into digestible chunks of recommended titles.

Excerpt from the Times article:

Using a mix of artificial intelligence and human curation, Tertulia aggregates book discussions and recommendations from across the web, drawing from social media posts, book reviews, podcasts and news articles to generate reading recommendations that are tailored to individuals’ tastes and interests.

To get personalized recommendations, users answer questions about which genres they like and what types of people they want to hear about books from (options include space explorers, poets, chefs, historians, entertainers and book critics). Users can also sign in with their Twitter accounts, which allows the app’s algorithms to sift through their feeds to pull out book recommendations from people they follow.
Each day, Tertulia generates a personalized list of five books. Elsewhere on the app, users can browse lists of notable titles in different genres, which are ranked according to buzz, rather than sales.

The Tertulia app is available for free from the Apple Store.

Best U.S. Cities for Booklovers

We’re not sure how this ranking of U.S. cities by how well (or how poorly) they score for people who love books ended up on a blog otherwise devoted to lawn care, but this recently-posted survey is definitely worth a browse.

The blogpost, written by researcher Sav Maive, contains some fascinating graphics and interesting commentary – including a list of which cities booklovers might want to consider visiting (if they aren’t lucky enough to be living in one of them already).

Read the article.

Destination Bookstores

A listing of unique bookstores, both here in the United States and elsewhere, is a topic regularly revisited by many of the Internet’s travel advice blogs and websites.

Road Affair’s list is a recent example.

If you’d like to take a gander at additional stunning photos and enthusiastic descriptions of visit-worthy bookstores, here are the links to ten previously-posted roundups:

Manhattan for Booklovers

Booklovers planning a trip to New York City will find plenty of bookish pilgrimage sites there; the problem may be finding enough time to get to them all, along with all the other, less bookish places you’re likely to have on your to-see list.

Utah-based fellow biblioblogger Rachel, aka The Booklist Queen, has put together a short list of must-visit sites for bookloving travelers to New York City. Read her excellent guide here.

Why Do We Bother Reading?

One of my favorite bloggers, Patrick Kurp, recently posted a link to a digital version of a bookish essay written by Walter de la Mare [1973-1956] that was published in 1919 in a magzaine called The Living Age.

Remembering Patrick’s previous recommendations of de la Mare’s writing, I clicked on his link to the essay, assuming I’d probably find a few pithy quotations to add to my collection of Bookish Quotations.

What I found was an essay so full of memorable (or at least delightful) passages that this short essay deserves to be read in its entirety. Here’s the link to de la Mare’s essay. Enjoy!

P.S. Readers who don’t already enjoy Patrick’s daily (!) blogposts about his recent reading (and reading recommendations, and a blogroll full of links to other well-written bookish blogs) might want to start treating themselves to his always-excellent blog, Anecdotal Evidence.

Source: Anecdotal Evidence, March 17, 2022

Bookends for . . . an Entire Bookcase?

We’ve seen photos of some interesting bookends in our time, but this is a first for us: a set of bookends for an entire bookcase!

Leave it to enthusiastic artists of Europe’s the rococo era to come up with such an ornament!

This creation can be found in Bavaria’s Abbey of Wadsassen, and was installed during the 1820’s.

Found at the Facebook page of Ancient Wonders of Archeology, Art History, and Architecture, February 8, 2022

More Gift Ideas for Booklovers

The UK-based website For Reading Addicts sells a variety of drool-worthy bookish products.

For sale are all sorts of book-themed clothing and household items – everything from scarves to coffee/tea mugs to shower curtains. And of course, times being what they are, book-themed face masks.

The shipping charges for U.S. customers make purchasing some of these products a bit pricey for some of us, but you might take a gander at For Reading Addicts if you’re searching for ideas for gifts for a bookloving friend (or, of course, for yourself).

Finding Public Domain Books Online

Sometimes you may need to consult the text of a book you don’t own and don’t have time to find at your library or a bookstore (or via Amazon or the other bookselling websites).

If the book you need to inspect (or, God forbid, actually attempt to read on a screen) is an older one, you may be in luck if you have a good Internet connection.

The Internet contains dozens of websites that archive the texts of books (and plays and stories and other types of texts) whose copyrights have expired – everything from familiar and obscure classical works to more recently published titles whose copyright protections first expired on January 1, 2022.

Five years ago, Nothing in the Rule Book posted links to 45 such resources. Take a look at the list.

The same year that Nothing in the Rule Book posted its list, EBook Friendly published a similar list of 25 websites containing downloadable books, and described each of these sites. Take a look at EBook Friendly’s list.

Happy hunting!