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Recommended reading

Submitted by on 1, December 2, 2008 – 8:30 amNo Comment

You know how you go on Netflix or iTunes and you get this sometimes laughably way-off-target list of suggestions of movies and songs their computers think you’d like, based on stuff you’ve watched or bought? Well, the folks over at Blue Rectangle have taken this process and turned it on its head, ‘coz they may have actually figured out a way to make it work.

Locals Michael and Joy Johnson, whose cute little used book shop on Park Street is just a small part of a wider online book buying and selling empire, bring you the Bookulating Suggest-o-Mometer. It’s a fun online gadget that takes actual information about you, including your age, sex, political inclination and hobbies, and plugs it into its fancy algorithm-driven process.

“We were looking for a fun thing that we could do, a thing you couldn’t find a pre-existing example of,” Michael Johnson says. And he says they wanted to create something that uses actual user input, for better book recommendations.

Just type all your info into their old-timey-looking interface (the typewriter, by the way, came from Pauline’s Antiques), enjoy the funny noises and voila! Book suggestions, with links to Amazon (though we’re also pulling for local book joints like Books Inc.).

I found the suggestions to be pretty spot on for a nerdy almost-middle-ageish blogger who, shall we say, does not have a whole lot of hobbies.

The site’s also got video book reviews, produced right here at the store on Park, and some of those feature local folks. Johnson said one of the reviewers for Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” is an Alameda High School English teacher. And P.S., if you’re interested in providing reviews, they’re looking for folks to interview. They pay 20 bucks in store credit per, no preparation required, up to four reviews per person/interview.

Anyway, if you want more on Blue Rectangle, their site’s here and the store is at 1355 Park Street. Their phone number is 337-0750.

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