I was reading this little zine of a book the other day. It’s called Chandelier, written by Mieko Kawakami (and translated by David Boyd) and I got it for free at my local bookstore on Indie Bookstore Day back in April. It’s a just a quick little 35-page story, bound in a pocket-sized cover, but I found it delicious. I finished it one sitting.
Anyway, since it’s translated, the dollar amounts are listed in yen and at one point I wanted to get a sense of how much money the narrator was talking about. I didn’t have my phone nearby, so I asked Alexa “how much is 36,250,000 yen in dollars?” She obligingly informed me that it’s about 268,554 and then asked me if I would like her to recommend a book.
Makes sense right? I mean, that’s a perfectly normal question to ask after I ask her about the yen/dollar conversion, right? She is totally not spying on me. (Gah! How does she know I just finished the novel I’d been reading and absolutely was trying to figure out what to read next?!?! That shit is creepy.)
Anyway, I was intrigued, so I said yes. Mostly I just wanted to see what she’d say. Top of her list? Where the Crawdads Sing. I’ve read it. I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Then she asked if I’d like another recommendation. Sure. Next up was The Four Winds, which I actually loved. I asked for more. She recommended two Rick Riordan books (I’m guessing because we have, as a family, downloaded a fair number of those for the kids). Then Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Then American Dirt. Then The Midnight Library. Then I got tired of the game and told her to stop.
I have to give Alexa credit for her taste/algorithmic accuracy. With the exception of her first title, I actually really liked everything she recommended. The thing that struck me was that she didn’t know I had already read all of her picks (though, truth be told, I never read Fantastic Beasts – I just saw the movie).
I can only assume it’s because I try not to buy books through Amazon if I can at all help it.
Now, go ask Alexa what books she would recommend for you and share below. I’m super curious how your list compares to mine.