I don't know if it's the effect of spring, or just this ultra-long weekend, but I'm having a killer time trying to fight the urge to acquire more books. To quote Bill Murray in What About Bob, I WANT! I NEED!
So while I'm not saying I WILL be getting my mitts on more books, I'm just saying I've been poking around looking for recommendations. Might I just add that you people added fuel to the fire with all your in-flight reading recommendations. I hope you're happy.
Say you're hunting for new books. Sure, you can always go to Amazon and use their "People who liked this book also liked..." feature. It's solid. It works. No complaints here. But why not mix it up a little bit from time to time? Get a fresh perspective. Keep it real. Which is why I made a little "Whee!" noise (try it! Whee! It's fun!) when I stumbled across the Literature Map. In a nutshell, you enter the name of an author you like, and you're presented with a, well, a map with the author's name in the middle, surrounded by the names of other authors, all of which float and cavort in a rather fetching manner. The names closest to the name of the author you entered (er, you know what I mean when I say "the author you entered," right?) are recommended.
Hm. That description was a bit laboured, wasn't it? Perhaps you should just go and try it for yourself. I tested the system with one of my favourite contemporary writers, Alice Munro, and the map told me I need to read books by Elizabeth Hay, Ali Smith, Jane Urquhart, and Eudora Welty. I haven't read ANY of these authors, so goody for me. Now they're on the list. Which is roughly the size of a phone book these days.
A similar-but-different tool is LibraryThing, which lets you feed into the system rather than just using it. It allows you to catalogue some or all of your own library, and then search for people (and their books) who have the same books as you. It's sort of like Friendster for your books, except that it's not riddled with bugs. (Ooh, snap! I hope that stung, Friendster!) Because books need buddies, too.
Of course, if you're just ass-lazy and can't be bothered with all the tools and the typing and the hitting the "submit" button and the whatnot, I guess you could just go read a bunch of lists of books to read. Warning: There are a LOT of different lists here, from the American Library Association's lists of notable books for children and adults to the Banned Books Online directory of books banned in the US.
Prepare to be overwhelmed. But you've got three days to recover, so I think you can do it. My money's on you, kid.