Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good book recommendation site

Here's a cool site about reading and books. You can create an account as on Facebook or Twitter, where you can archive lists of all the books you've read, are reading now, and intend to read!

Perhaps the most useful aspect of the site for teachers or parents is the fact that it has extensive lists of books that are popular with young adults and children. These are lists of books that young people are actually reading, not lists of books that adults think they should be reading. Of course the Harry Potter books are at the top of those lists, but also very popular are the Twilight series about vampires. I have to admit that I know very little about these books except what I have gleaned from the posters I've seen in Walmart featuring the main characters, a rather ordinary looking girl and a sexy vampire guy.

Another interesting aspect of this site is that they are currently running a contest for the best "status update novel." This is a novel written using Twitter, or other status update online software, where you keep adding information about yourself or a fictional character as a 24 hour cycle goes by. You can only add 140 characters per post, which is an interesting formal constraint. As a child, I used to imagine myself as the heroine of the ultimate novel, which would tell every single thing that I did all day long, every day, for my entire life! It would be told in the third person, by an imagined narrator who spent her entire "life" documenting my life. Sometimes when I was playing after school I would narrate this novel in my head: "Now she's playing with her dog. She's singing songs to her dog in the yard."

Little did I know in 1964 that eventually technology would make this very thing possible. But lately I haven't been singing to dogs. Maybe I should, again.

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