Monday, June 29, 2009


Dan just generated the world's first ever book recommendations based on a computer measuring text. It's not like Amazon recommendations that say "this person bought this book AND this other one." Go to to read up on what they're doing. The system won't be available to the public for a little bit, but I'm privileged since this piece of HISTORY was made in MY house. This is only the second time I've ever felt like I was witnessing history in the making. The first time was September 11, 2001.

The way this works is that I give Dan a book. He plugs it into a magic machine and spits out other books that are similar in writing style. The first book is the one that I asked him to plug in. The totaldiff measures how dissimilar any book is to the one that I ask him to plug in. Naturally, the first book should have 0 difference from itself. The lower the totaldiff numbers for the other books, the more like the original book they are.

If you like Tom Robbins's Jitterbug Perfume, then try reading some other books on this list!


author genre title totaldiff


1. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Jitterbug Perfume 0

2. John Updike Literary Fiction Terrorist .8802958

3. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates 1.097272

4. Gary Shteyngart Fiction Absurdistan: A Novel 1.117625

5. Ian McEwan Fiction Saturday 1.135522

6. Salman Rushdie Literary Fiction The Moor's Last Sigh 1.228756

7. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Another Roadside Attraction 1.264306

8. Jonathan Raban Fiction Waxwings 1.266642

9. Barbara Chase-Riboud Historical Fiction Hottentot Venus: A Novel 1.310913

10. Herman Melville Fiction Classics Billy Budd, Sailor & Other Stories 1.376428

11. Peter Mayle Literary Fiction A Good Year 1.381948

12. Dean Koontz Suspense The Taking 1.391685

13. Miriam Decosta-Willis Erotica Erotique Noire/Black Erotica 1.409069

14. Dean Koontz Fiction By the Light of the Moon 1.414718

15. Kurt Andersen Fiction Heyday: A Novel 1.429005

16. Diana Gabaldon Fiction The Outlandish Companion 1.436414

17. Peter Mayle Fiction Chasing Cezanne: A Novel 1.452523

18. George MacDonald Fraser Historical Fiction Flashman on the March 1.520791

19. Nancy Reisman Fiction The First Desire 1.540411

20. Frederick Zugibe M.D. True Crime Dissecting Death: Secrets of a Medical Examiner 1.541348


p.s. sorry the columns don't line up quite right.

p.p.s. I just bought Terrorist by John Updike on and it will be the next book I read.

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