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.


Dept. of Obscure but Highly Recommended Books…

When we stumbled across the numerous responses to a invitation at TED for its readers to offer titles of “book[s] that never caught on or is out of print, but that resonates so much with people that they can’t forget it,” we were reminded of a this remark made by W.H. Auden (in his essay “Reading,” from The Dyer’s Hand, 1963):  “Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.” 

Isn’t it reassuring to know that most of the titles posted in the reader’s comments to this TED query are available at…you guessed it, Your Local Public Library? And that if your favorite branch doesn’t own the title that piques your fancy, you can get it – in this case, probably within three days – through placing it on Hold? And that if no library branch in the entire library system owns a copy of that book, that you can obtain it, free of charge, by submitting (via the library system’s website, or in person at any branch), an Interlibrary Loan Request?

Found via Neat New Things I Found This Week