Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lit: Uniquely Portable Magic - What's On My Nook?

E-readers really do give new meaning to the Stephen King phrase "uniquely portable magic," don't they? Taking up no more space than a novella in my purse, I can carry multiple books at once and read whatever strikes my fancy.

Every day my Nook gives me recommendations of books I might enjoy based on my recent activity. I'm not always sure what activity it's looking at to make that determination. The day after I first set it up, it had recommendations based on my "recent activity." Really, Nook, I hardly think we knew each other well enough at that point for you to be telling me what to read.

I got my first Nook several years ago as a Christmas gift, before the price of Nooks plummeted. Given what my family spent, I'm sure they expected to see me with that thing in my hand constantly. Certainly, over the years, I have used it to read quite a lot of books, especially "big" books that I definitely appreciated not having to hold.

My use of my Nook as changed as the capabilities of my phone have increased. My almost sole purpose now is, again, as a reader, and I tend to download several books a month. There is much more activity now on which to make recommendations. It turns out those algorithms can be pretty accurate. And how do I know that? Because so often what my Nook recommends for me to read are books I've already read and enjoyed. But algorithms can only go so far unless you have enough books loaded up for it to really see what you might be interested in reading.

So what does my Nook have to look at when it's making recommendations for me? I think I must really confuse it sometimes!

Of the 103 books currently loaded on my Nook, 29 are nonfiction and include biographies, essay collections, and self-help books. Three of the books are collections of short stories; one is a play. Nine are mystery/thrillers; seven are considered classics. Several are what I would call "light" reads for when I need to cleanse my reading palate. Three I have already read and need to archive or delete. About a third have been published in the past three years and an equal number were published at least ten years ago. To be honest, two or three are books that I now feel I might never get around to reading.

Once upon a time it was pointed out to me that I was reading vastly more books by men than women. So I worked to rectify that and now find that I read more books by women than men. But slightly more than half of the books on my Nook are by men.

In many ways, I almost feel like my Nook is a better representation of my current reading interests than my bookshelves are. I'm a person who wants to read more nonfiction, toys with short stories and essays, likes to throw in a mystery/thriller occasionally, and doesn't read as many classics as I'd like. All of which means, that Nook algorithm might be better at picking out books for me than I am these days!

1 comment:

  1. You are brave to even go through what's on your Nook. My Kindle has many, many books on it. Mostly fiction. Lots of good stuff. I just read I had more time to read. I am left with probably only an hour a day these days.