I have a problem.
No, not my fondness for singing 80s country in a bad twang during karaoke.
I mean a real, nerd-world problem: I have too many books to read.
I can’t leave any bookstore without buying at least one. For a good bookstore, I’ll walk out with half a dozen or more, balancing them in my arms, hoping none of them fall over.
I get them home and try to squeeze them into my bookshelf of “books I have yet to read” (not to be confused with my “books I’ve read and need to donate” or “books I’ve read and will re-read someday when I have the time” shelves). That shelf is full, floor to ceiling.
My list of books to read is already too long for me to remember them all. And that’s not counting the ones I have sitting in ebook format, waiting on my Kobo or iPhone for me to tap their cover art and dive in.
Faced with so much reading material, so many good books waiting to be read, my question is this: What do I read next?
I could pick based on mood. But that usually means me sitting in front of my physical books, picking out the one that grabs me. I could pick based on which ones I’ve bought most recently, which would probably narrow things down to just my ebooks.
But I want to be able to choose from all of my books, physical and virtual, at any time.
So I wrote a bot to help me.
It listens to my twitter stream for instructions. When I give it the right command, it pulls down my to-read shelf from Goodreads (yes, I put all of my books, real and electronic, into Goodreads. yes, it took much longer than I thought it would), ranks them in order of which ones I should read first, and then tweets back to me the top 3.
I’ve been following its recommendations for about a month now, and so far, it’s working. Footsteps in the Sky was great. Data and Goliath was eye-opening. The Aesthetic of Play changed the way I view art and games.
Now, if only I could train it to order books for me automatically…