A friend just sent me the link to the Literature Map, and if you enter an author’s name (Jane Austen, say), it comes up with this nifty visual of authors who are similar to the primary name. The closer the names are to the original name, the more likely it is that a reader will like both of them. Certainly that is true for me with Jane and the Brontes. I think it’s odd that Raymond Chandler is on the list; I love both, but I don’t think they’re similar.

Unless the universal themes of people and their petty wants and desires is their common bond?

You can click here to see the visual.

Jane Austen

What else do readers of Jane Austen read?
The closer two writers are, the more likely someone will like both of them.

Jane Austen Charlotte Bronte William Shakespeare Charles Dickens Harper Lee Goethe Emily Bronte Descartes Agatha Christie Barbara Kingsolver George Eliot Helen Fielding F Scott Fitzgerald Georgette Heyer Maeve Binchy Phillipa Gregory Margaret Atwood Thomas Hardy Isabel Allende Bill Bryson Joanne K. Rowling Robertson Davies Dorothy Sayers Virginia Woolf P G Wodehouse John Irving Rosamunde Pilcher F. Scott Fitzgerald Anne Rice Edith Wharton Jasper Fforde Sue Monk Kidd Oscar Wilde Elizabeth Peters L.M. Montgomery Patricia Cornwell Diana Wynne Jones Henry James Amy Tan Tamora Pierce Raymond Chandler Nora Roberts Philip Pullman Marian Keyes Anthony Trollope Alexandre Dumas Graham Greene Salman Rushdie

Anyway, I was talking about peer-to-peer recommendations on my own blog, and it seems as if this a more mechanized version of that. Cara has been raving about Diana Wynne Jones for eons now, and seeing her name here reminds me I’ve been meaning to check her out, based on Cara’s recommendation.

Anthony Trollope I tried, and hated. In general, though, I’ve read a lot of these other authors and do like them, so maybe there’s something to this? What do you think? Do these kinds of recommendations work for you? Do you rely on a good friend for book recommendations? How do you find new authors?

PS: The puppets are from this amazing site.