A Little Help with Your Next Read ~

pile of booksMost of us are always looking for a recommendation of what next to read – despite our toppling TBR piles, there is always room for a new title! – And those of us who read Jane Austen, and then re-read Jane Austen, are forever asking what to read after you have read it all, again and again. 

So I enjoyed this article I found at the Guardian.com book blog on “the murky business of book recommendations” by Chris Powell – he refers to a website that offers book suggestions by just typing in the last book you have read:  The Bookseer at www.bookseer.com– there are two lists, one from Amazon.com [they are everywhere; so much for your local bookseller], and Library Thing.

This is sort of fun, so try it [though when I tried it tonight, there was a problem with Library Thing loading its data – Powell in his article says that when he loaded Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, Library Thing brought up Wuthering Heights and then a slew of Jane Austen books – so a tad off course perhaps – for me tonight, all I get is “nada” for the Library Thing list [the Bookseer is also on Twitter where there is some talk about this problem…]

Anyway, this is too much information – I have typed in Emma, and get all six Austen novels and nothing else;  Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson and get a list of other Regency-related works [including a new one I did not know about!];  John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men, and I find I should read Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Blood Brothers, Lord of the Flies, and A View from the Bridge [all your basic uplifting stories, and all of which I have read… thank you very much, but it is a nice list] – and if you type in The Grapes of Wrath, it is a similar list with the addition of a few other Steinbeck titles and The Great Gatsby.  Library Thing is still saying “nada” – so still not working, which is too bad because I think that list is more interesting [I think that Jane Austen titles come up for all requests…]

But you can really get into this and try to figure out the brain behind the computer – if you put in Evelina by Fanny Burney, you get the expected 18th century staples and then Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson pops up!  [I am having way too much fun…] – but if you type in any book by Mark Twain, all you get is a list of Mark Twain titles [he would be pleased…] [BUT Huckleberry Finn brings up Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest – go figure…

And here is my favorite:  The Bible [no author] [it came back and said, “by Jove, I need an author for that!] so I typed in “God” and these titles came up:

THE SHACK!! – OMG, now that’s some incredible marketing! And Amazon must assume the Bible is a childrens’ book…yikes!

But I save the best for last – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and along with a picture of P&P and Zombies [I am not kidding…] we get the following booklist:

…and LibraryThing recommends:

Nada…

Ok, I am done with this…but I just HAD to share – let me know what YOU come up with!

Posted by Deb

Rejection Letters

We all know that Jane Austen’s first attempt at getting published [her book was First impressions, later to become Pride & Prejudice), was a humbling experience ~ an outright rejection from the publisher her father had approached; her second book, Susan (Northanger Abbey), sat on a publisher’s shelf for 10 years before she bought it back, and it was not actually published until after her death.  So Austen was familiar with rejection…but she went on revising and writing and we are all the better because she persisted.

Today I see a blog post from the Guardian.co.uk on the “Fine Art of Literary Rejection Letters”by Jean Hannah Edelstein on her own history as an editor writing more than 1000 rejection letters and her discovery of a book to be published by Bill Shapiro (author of Other People’s Love Letters) titled Other People’s Rejection Letters [click here for the author’s request for letters, and here for his letter outlining the book].  See Edelstein’s article for some excellent and humorous comments from rejectees, and this blog link to Literary Rejections on Display where you will find all manner of the polite and impolite “no thank you.”