Can a book critic transform herself into a human algorithm? You're soon to find out. This week, we're embarking on an experiment here at PageViews. For the forseeable future, my coworker Will Delman will read everything I tell him to read. Rather than impose my tastes upon him, I'll attempt to figure out what he'll like based on past preferences. Every week, he'll tell me how I did, and I'll modify my reccomendations based on his feedback. In addition to his weekly report card here on PageViews, he'll post capsule reviews on Twitter nearly every day.
We're going to call this experiment "The Book Rat Project." Because he's a lab rat, but for books. Ha?
My first course of action was ascertain what Will [herewith refered to as "the subject"] might like to read. I sent the subject a brief questionnaire. Here are some of his answers.
1. What are your favorite books and authors of all time?
3rd Man, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou, Swimming Pool,
Ghost in the Shell, The Trial, Batman (the Michael Keaton one), Star
Wars, Primer, Clue, Crouching Tiger, The Life of Brian, Kill Bill 1
& 2, Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Moon, 2001.
8. And your favorite TV shows?
In no particular order: Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who (going all the way back to Tom Baker), Arrested Development, Prime Suspect, An Idiot Abroad, Coupling, The Wire, Portlandia, STNG, Psych, Monk, Misfits, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report
Anything about the power of god and/or angels. Also Ayn Rand, or anything by
Glen Beck (though I have no idea how I'd end up at her place if she was a
Beck fan) Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn would also be a cause for concern, but I'd probably stick around.
truth is I'd probably be more put off by a complete lack of books.
People without a bookshelf in their house/apartment freak me out on a
My next course of action was to take the subject over to the bountiful Phoenix bookshelves (made less bountiful in our recent officewide cleanup).
For his first assignment, I allowed the subjct to choose his own book, observing and judging him closely. He chose The Rook by Daniel O'Malley because someone who blurbed it compared it to Monty Python. I'll post how well he liked it here next week. In the meantime, you can check out his review tweets here.