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Cover Image of Daughter of Fortune: A Novel by Isabel Allende published by Harper Mass Market Paperbacks
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Mapping Authors Through

abstract:Here is another creative technology websites that uses a unique mapping system to help readers find, compare and explore published authors. It's called and it works like this. Type the name of any writer you wish to research. The site will come up with a page listing that writer's name as well as all the writers whose work is similar to them. The closer the names appear to each other, the more alike their body of work is supposed to be, and the more likely - it is said - that you will enjoy the style, subject matter or body of work of the close relation. TRY IT! I entered John Irving and got this.


August 25, 2008
— So the closest author to John Irving is T.C. Boyle. What do I think of that? Well, I've read almost all of Irving's novels and only two of Boyle's. I do like Boyle's work, and it does make a biting social commentary and explore an aspect of societal mores. The Cider House Rules deals with abortion, while Torilla Curtain deals with Latino immigration to Southern California. So in this case I do agree that I like both writers.

In the satellite of authors further out, the list includes: Charles Dickens, Pat Conroy, Jonathan Safran Foer, Tom Robbins, Nick Hornby and a few more. Well, I do know that Dickens is Irving's favorite author and the person he considers his work to most resemble (how modest of him.) I'm teasing. Irving did go on to say that, like Dickens, he writes in epic proportions, multi-generation stories that follow character arcs through their entire lives. That would also be true for Pat Conroy. Nick Hornby, on the other hand tends to write shorter novels spanning only a portion of his main character's life. But the characters are similar in that they are quirky, and struggling with some inner personal trauma. Hi Fidelity is the story of a music geek who gets dumped by his girlfriend and goes on a quest to locate past girlfriends to find out why they didn't chose him as "the one."

So I can agree that while the close authors aren't exactly alike, there are similarities, and it's true that I do like the authors within the arc of my original selection. I think if you are attempting to branch out from an author you like to other books and other writers is a great tool to use.

What happens when you click on the author? You are taken to a forum with posts from people on the author or one of their titles. It isn't necessarily great, earth-shattering information. It's just opinion. And the strength of an unbiased opinion is just that. For some websites, like Best Buy, the forum is their most popular feature. If you are unfamiliar with an author listed close-by, click on their name to see what other members think.

All in all, I think that this is an interesting site. It also maps music and movies. There is a lot more they could be doing other than a google tower ad for books on the side. But it's clean and simple and easy to use.



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