The Biblioracle Speaks

Sometimes, I do something, then immediately forget that I’ve done it.  Then, I discover whatever it was months, weeks, or days later and am pleasantly surprised to discover a thing has been done in my mental absence. This often applies to chores, sometimes homework when I was in school, but mostly they’re little things.  It’s kind of like that thing where you leave ten dollars in your winter coat all spring and summer, then find it again when you dig it out of mothballs in the late fall.  Of course, I also have a lot of times where I totally blank on something, then panic the moment I realize I never did it…

In this case, I had read about a really cool article/interactive feature over on The Morning News (which is worth a read every now and then) called The Biblioracle.  The basic idea is this: via the comments of the article, you give the columnist – John Warner – the titles/authors of the last five books you have read, and in turn he will give you a suggestion for a new book that you should read.  I have no idea what sort of voodoo he employs, but I’m assuming it’s just his vast reading knowledge combined with looking for themes amongst the five books you give him.  Extrapolating taste is definitely a talent!

The last iteration of this happened six months ago, roughly November-ish.  I commented with my five books that day and put it out of my mind.  Today, I remembered, my memory jogged by a little feature on Warner’s occasional column over on The Millions. If you want to go try to find my comment in the above, go for it (it’s five or six or seven down, if I remember correctly.  I got in early!), but here are the books I’d put down, and Warner’s excellent suggestion:

1. Aurorarama – Jean-Christophe Valtat
2. 1493 – Charles Mann
3. Luminous Airplanes – Paul La Farge
4. Cain – Jose Saramago
5. Pirate King – Laurie R. King

New suggestion:  Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks

I’m pretty tickled, because I’ve never read it, and judging by the book summary, it looks to be something I’ll enjoy a great deal!  I’ve got a book and a half to finish before I pick this one up, but it’s definitely coming home from the library with me soon.

UPDATE: All done!  Was done a few weeks, maybe even months now, ago, but I’ve fallen into several pits lately.  Moving, traveling, visiting, and, sadly, a lot of working.Caleb’s Crossing was enjoyable, but very sad.  It purports to be about Caleb (of the title), but is actually about Bethia Mayfield, a girl who is alternately Caleb’s sister figure and lover figure.  Bethia is at the behest of the men in her life, usually following their whims, made bereft because their wishes conflict directly with hers, and, mostly, just beset by bad luck.  I expected cliches (well, history really, but well-trodden history), and to be a little bored, but Brooks is very good at creating and maintaining an emotional tone.  So, it’s a very feeling book, and enchanting for that reason.  There is no melodrama there, just helplessness, hope, and getting fucked over throughout the course of your life because of your gender and your station in life.


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