Sometimes, I struggle in knowing which book to pick up next. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a never-ending ‘to read’ directory, but trying to decide what genre I’m in the mood for can be tricky… That’s why I decided to let the Internet pick my next read for me!
I found this website called Whichbook (linked) which offers you a list of different properties which could potentially feature in a book, and you simply have to choose ones you’d like to see present in the book they suggest to you.
Here’s the list they provide:
You could also change your list of preferences to character, plot or setting, as shown below:
However, you are limited to choosing four options only! I don’t know if this made it easier or more difficult for me. But, what I did know was that I wanted a light, fairly happy summer read to lift my spirits and give me some positivity, and so I chose from the options accordingly.
From your choices, the website then generates the ‘perfect’ book for you.
At the top of my recommended reads list was Lost Paradise by Cees Nooteboom – a book I’d never heard of before. Choosing to trust this website, though, I went ahead and ordered myself a copy.
This is a 2004 book, written by a Dutch author and then translated. In fact, Nooteboom has been hailed as “one of the greatest modern novelists”, and as one of Holland’s most important authors.
We begin by following the journey of two women: Alma and Almut. They move to Australia together on a spiritual quest haunted by angels. Alma longs to visit an Aboriginal paradise known as the Sickness Dreaming Place, which is in contrast to the more hedonistic Almut, who wants merely to make some money and meet some men. They then later find themselves jobs which require them to dress up as angels. The remainder of the book follows Erik Zondag, which initially comes across to be entirely different. However, their paths later come to cross and the connection between the two apparently unrelated halves is finally made clear.
That’s all I’ll say – just in case you want to pick it up for yourself!
My thoughts on it? Meh.
With only 151 pages, the book was an easy read – I managed to read it in a few hours – and it is not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but I didn’t exactly enjoy it either. I thought that the characters were underdeveloped whilst the plot lacked purpose and meaning. It derived heavily on Milton’s epic Paradise Lost meaning that, for me, it almost lost its own purpose and significance by allowing another work to overshadow it. Regardless of that, though, I did appreciate the attempt at building a story which was haunted by longing, and the idea of rebirth in a fragmented age. The draw on angels was beautiful, and I really liked the descriptions of them.
Overall, I do not regret trusting the website, buying the book or even reading it – it actually was a really fun experience! But I don’t know if I’ll try this method of picking a book again… How about you?
The website I used: https://www.whichbook.net/