The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper, serving Greater Manchester

How do you choose how to choose your next book?

Online book recommendation sites get away from best-seller lists and towards personally tailored selections

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How do you choose your next book? Do you ask friends what they’ve read recently, or perhaps wander aimlessly around a bookshop? Do you want to be surprised? Or do you have specific criteria for your next read? Choosing the next book to read can be challenging, but there are plenty of new online formats to help you along the way.

Whichbook is a new website that allows you to find the perfect book based on some very specific preferences. There are twelve parameters, adjustable according to what you want from the book. For example, would you prefer ‘no sex’ or ‘lots of sex’? Simply move the sliders to either side, depending on what you’re in the mood for, and Whichbook will sort you out. You can also find books according to character – age, sexuality, plot, and setting preferences. You can even choose the specific country the book is set in.

If you’re worried about the quality of the website, it may reassure you to know that every book on the site is read by 70 different books’ connoisseurs before they’re displayed online. All the titles are also fairly recent, published in the last ten years or so. Do not expect Fifty Shades of Grey after searching ‘lots of sex’ though, because bestsellers aren’t featured. Their philosophy is that well-known books are already easy to spot so you don’t need another website telling you to read it.

Online book clubs are also a great way to find new books to read, and in fact motivation to read at all. Goodreads.com is a famous example, but there are lots of small book clubs within this website that can be quite interesting. I recently joined the Rory Gilmore Book Club, in honour of the character from the TV show, Gilmore Girls. Other examples are ‘My Vampire Book Obsession’ and ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: An Advanced Roleplay’. You can even create your own fantasy universe (or, you know, other) book club.

Whichever you choose, these sites are all about helping you find great books that you might miss otherwise. Who doesn’t love a good personalised search? Happy reading!