@abook4you

The @abook4you website is linked to the @abook4you Twitter bot. The website also crossposts to Facebook and Tumblr. You can see a full description of the bot on the About page.

The content on all four is mostly generated on a fully-automated basis, focusing on book recommendations, alongside reviews from both critics and readers. Additionally, they all feature a stream of book-related quotes.

The bot is possible due to the explosion in access to public databases through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), and scripting. The Twitter bot is able to respond autonomously to unique mentions requesting a book recommendation, as long as a genre is cited. However, the 140-character limitation does not allow for much, so the website vastly expands the amount of information that can be presented.

In addition to more data, the bot functionality has been enhanced to manage content on the website. Apart from posting, storing and indexing, it is now possible to solicit a genre-specific recommendations via a form request, and if the query is successful, a user-generated post will result. Similarly, a search query can be made via a separate form request, with a user-generated post also created if the query is successful. In order to assist with the search query, a Google custom search tool is also available. Lastly, fully functional membership and social tools have been deployed, and there is a forum for members to have their say. In summary, visitors, and members can populate the website with content that they generate.

Developed pro-bono, and for the fun of it, by @replies4u (feel free to see more bot examples at http://www.r4utools.co.uk).

A travel book recommendation: Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ESVpw7.
These are the questions that Miranda Kaufmann perceptively probes in Black Tudors. This account of people of African descent in Renaissance England overturns misconceptions, showing that “it is vital to understand that the British Isles have always been peopled with immigrants”.
Book description from Google Books:
Seeking to overturn the common assumption that there were no black communities in Britain before Caribbean immigration after the Second World War.” –The New Yorker “Highly readable yet intensively researched… lively prose and fascinating microhistories, [BLACK TUDORS] should draw some well-deserved attention.”– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review “A highly instructive history of an understudied part of Tudor society. An eminently readable book that offers contemporary readers valuable insights into racial relations of centuries past.”– Kirkus Reviews “For a modern audience acculturated to thinking of Africans in the West as either enslaved or altogether absent, the picture that emerges challenges the centrality of whiteness and slavery in the Tudor period.” — Foreword Reviews A black porter publicly whips a white English gentleman in a Gloucestershire manor house. A heavily pregnant African woman is abandoned on an Indonesian island by Sir Francis Drake. A Mauritanian diver is dispatched to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose… Miranda Kaufmann reveals the absorbing stories of some of the Africans who lived free in Tudor England. From long-forgotten records, remarkable characters emerge. They were baptized, married and buried by the Church of England. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. Their stories, brought viscerally to life by Kaufmann, provide unprecedented insights into how Africans came to be in Tudor England, what they did there and how they were treated. A ground-breaking, seminal work, Black Tudors challenges the accepted narrative that racial slavery was all but inevitable and forces us to re-examine the seventeenth century to determine what caused perceptions to change so radically.
The book is rated 3.76/5 at goodreads.com, from 109 ratings. See 47 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2sBr2Fz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sI6FXs.

A sci-fi book recommendation: The Transition: A Novel by Luke Kennard

A critic review (source LA Times) can be read at: http://lat.ms/2EH2bVP.
With “The Transition,” Kennard, like so many poets reinvigorating the expectations of what a work of prose can do, makes a case for resisting narrative conventions as a way to infuse a book with a feverish vitality…
Book description from Google Books:
“The sort of book that cuts you off from your family and has you walking blindly through seven lanes of traffic with your face pressed obliviously to the page.” —James Marriott, The Times (London)Do you or your partner spend more than you earn? Have your credit card debts evolved into collection letters? Has either of you received a court summons? Has either of you considered turning to a life of a crime? You are not alone. We know. We can help.Welcome to the Transition.While taking part in the Transition, you and your partner will spend six months living under the supervision of your mentors, two successful adults of a slightly older generation. Freed from your financial responsibilities, you will be coached through the key areas of the scheme—Employment, Nutrition, Responsibility, Relationship, Finances, and Self-respect—until you are ready to be reintegrated into adult society. At the end of your six months, who knows what discoveries you’ll have made about yourself? The “friends” you no longer need. The talents you’ll have found time to nurture. The business you might have kick-started. Who knows where you’ll be?
The book is rated 3.57/5 at goodreads.com, from 381 ratings. See 67 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2soSSVy.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BtoQ5B.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: Exact Thinking in Demented Times: The Vienna Circle and the Epic Quest for the Foundations of Science by Karl Sigmund

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2ssijFA.
Barring the odd stylistic infelicity, he handles his material well. A Viennese physicist himself, he is as comfortable with local detail as he is with the grand picture.
Book description from Google Books:
A dazzling group biography of the early twentieth-century thinkers who transformed the way the world thought about math and scienceInspired by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and Bertrand Russell and David Hilbert’s pursuit of the fundamental rules of mathematics, some of the most brilliant minds of the generation came together in post-World War I Vienna to present the latest theories in mathematics, science, and philosophy and to build a strong foundation for scientific investigation. Composed of such luminaries as Kurt Gödel and Rudolf Carnap, and stimulated by the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper, the Vienna Circle left an indelible mark on science.Exact Thinking in Demented Times tells the often outrageous, sometimes tragic, and never boring stories of the men who transformed scientific thought. A revealing work of history, this landmark book pays tribute to those who dared to reinvent knowledge from the ground up.
The book is rated 4.29/5 at goodreads.com, from 24 ratings. See 4 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2EDTb3B.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2spyQKr.

A sci-fi book recommendation: Lockwood & Co: The Dagger in the Desk by Jonathan Stroud

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2EMxSwT.
In between bouts of keen rapier work and gruelling exorcism, there’s usually time for tea and cake. Stroud at the top of his game.
Book description from Google Books:
A thrilling new case for London’s most talented psychic detection agency – from the global bestselling author of the Bartimaeus Sequence.In London, a mysterious and potentially deadly ghost is stalking the halls of St Simeon’s Academy for Talented Youngsters. It lurks in the shadows, spreading fear and icy cold – and it carries a sharp and very solid dagger . . .The headmaster wastes no time in enlisting the help of ghost-hunters Anthony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle and George Cubbins. Can Lockwood & Co. survive the night and save the day?
The book is rated 3.95/5 at goodreads.com, from 1663 ratings. See 212 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2sD19oT.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .
Google Books preview available in full post.

A children book recommendation: Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ELTCZL.
An enchanting debut, Malala’s Magic Pencil is a welcome addition to the frustratingly small range of children’s books that feature BAME central characters.
Book description from Google Books:
Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai’s first picture book, inspired by her own childhood. * “This is a wonderful read for younger students that will also provide insight and encourage discussion about the wider world. … The simplicity of Yousafzai’s writing and the powerful message she sends, make this book inspirational for all.” — School Library Journal (starred review)Malala’s first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them.As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.
The book is rated 4.50/5 at goodreads.com, from 1332 ratings. See 247 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2sEIjxu.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sAoqHX.