@abook4you

The @abook4you website is linked to the @abook4you Twitter bot. The website crossposts to Facebook, Google+Tumblr, and Instagram. 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 crime book recommendation: Razor Girl: A novel by Carl Hiaasen

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2dJjSW5.
Carl Hiaasen’s irresistible “Razor Girl” meets his usual sky-high standards for elegance, craziness and mike-drop humor. But this election-year novel is exceptionally timely, too.
Book description from Google Books:
“When Lane Coolman’s car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an innocent accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the offending car is Merry Mansfield–the eponymous Razor Girl–so named for her unique, eye-popping addition to what might be an otherwise unexciting scam. But, of course–this is Hiaasen!–the scam is only the very beginning of a situation that’s going to spiral crazily out of control while gathering in some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page. There’s the owner of Sedimental Journey–the company that steals sand from one beach to restore erosion on another…Dominick “Big Noogie” Aeola, the NYC mafia capo with a taste for the pinkest of sands…Zeto, the small-time hustler who gets electrocuted trying to charge a Tesla…Nance Buck, native Wisconsinite who’s nonetheless the star of the red neck reality TV show, “Bayou Brethren.”..a psycho who goes by the name of Blister and who’s more Nance Buck than Buck could ever be…the multimillionaire product liability lawyer who’s getting dangerously–and deformingly–hooked on the very product he’s litigating against…and Andrew Yancy–formerly Detective Yancy, busted to Key West roach patrol after he beat up his then-lover’s husband with a Dustbuster–who’s convinced that if he can just solve one more murder on his own, he’ll get his detective badge back. That the Razor Girl may be the key to his success in this deeply ill-considered endeavor will be as surprising to him as anything else he encounters along the way–including the nine-pound Gambian pouched rats getting very used to the good life in the Keys… “–
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 9305 ratings. See 1379 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eDUnDz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sEqLx3.

A history book recommendation: The Man Who Ate the Zoo: Frank Buckland, forgotten hero of natural history by Richard Girling

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2mK1X7w.
Today he does not even merit a mention in the “Encyclopaedia Britannica”. This brilliantly entertaining biography argues persuasively why his memory, too, is worthy of conservation.
Book description from Google Books:
Frank Buckland was an extraordinary man – a surgeon, a natural historian, a sell-out lecturer, a bestselling writer, a museum curator… and a conservationist, before the concept even existed. Eccentric, revolutionary, popular, prolific, he was one of the nineteenth century’s authentic geniuses. He was obsessed by food security and finding ways to feed the hungry (the book recounts his many unusual experiments), and by protecting our fisheries (he can be credited with saving British fish from commercial extinction). He was one of the most original, far-sighted and influential natural scientists of his time, held as high in public esteem as Charles Darwin. The Man Who Ate the Zoo is no conventional biography, but rather a journey back into Buckland’s life, a hunt for this forgotten man. It sets Buckland’s thinking and achievements in a rounded historical context, but views this Victorian adventurer from a modern viewpoint. It is both a rollicking yarn – engaging, funny and provocative – and a celebration of the great age of natural science, one man’s genius and what, even now, can be learned from him.
The book is rated 4.20/5 at goodreads.com, from 5 ratings. See 1 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mVkKcL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tuRVKH.

An action book recommendation: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2fpw0xN.
“The Girl Who Drank the Moon” is as exciting and layered as classics like “Peter Pan” or “The Wizard of Oz.” It too is about what it means to grow up and find where we belong. The young reader who devours it now just for fun will remember its lessons for years to come.
Book description from Google Books:
Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal The New York Times Bestseller An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book of 2016 A New York Public Library Best Book of 2016 A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016 An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016 A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016 A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016 Named to KirkusReviews’ Best Books of 2016 2017 Booklist Youth Editors’ Choice Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna’s thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge–with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth’s surface. And the woman with the Tiger’s heart is on the prowl . . . The Newbery Medal winner from the author of the highly acclaimed novel The Witch’s Boy.
The book is rated 4.20/5 at goodreads.com, from 9740 ratings. See 2312 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dW0ORx.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t6W9Ew.

A western book recommendation: West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/1TJafXh.
In a book that’s a study of the fleeting nature of worldly power, Stein, now 82, has grabbed for herself the only kind that lasts: She’s the one left standing, who gets to tell the story.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An epic, mesmerizing oral history of Hollywood and Los Angeles from the author of the contemporary classic EdieJean Stein transformed the art of oral history in her groundbreaking book Edie: American Girl, an indelible portrait of Andy Warhol “superstar” Edie Sedgwick, which was edited with George Plimpton. Now, in West of Eden, she turns to Los Angeles, the city of her childhood. Stein vividly captures a mythic cast of characters: their ambitions and triumphs as well as their desolation and grief. These stories illuminate the bold aspirations of five larger-than-life individuals and their families. West of Eden is a work of history both grand in scale and intimate in detail. At the center of each family is a dreamer who finds fortune and strife in Southern California: Edward Doheny, the Wisconsin-born oil tycoon whose corruption destroyed the reputation of a U.S. president and led to his own son’s violent death; Jack Warner, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who together with his brothers founded one of the world’s most iconic film studios; Jane Garland, the troubled daughter of an aspiring actress who could never escape her mother’s schemes; Jennifer Jones, an actress from Oklahoma who won the Academy Award at twenty-five but struggled with despair amid her fame and glamour. Finally, Stein chronicles the ascent of her own father, Jules Stein, an eye doctor born in Indiana who transformed Hollywood with the creation of an unrivaled agency and studio. In each chapter, Stein paints a portrait of an outsider who pins his or her hopes on the nascent power and promise of Los Angeles. Each individual’s unyielding intensity pushes loved ones, especially children, toward a perilous threshold. West of Eden depicts the city that has projected its own image of America onto the world, in all its idealism and paradox. As she did in Edie, Jean Stein weaves together the personal recollections of an array of individuals to create an astonishing tapestry of a place like no other.Praise for West of Eden“Compulsively readable, capturing not just a vibrant part of the history of Los Angeles—that uniquely ‘American Place’ Stein refers to in her subtitle—but also the real drama of this town . . . It’s like being at an insider’s cocktail party where the most delicious gossip about the rich and powerful is being dished by smart people, such as Gore Vidal, Joan Didion, Arthur Miller and Dennis Hopper. . . . Mesmerizing.”—Los Angeles Times“Perhaps the most surprising thing that emerges from this riveting book is a glimpse of what seems like deep truth. It’s possible that oral history as Stein practices it . . . is as close as we’re going to come to the real story of anything.”—The New York Times Book Review “Enthralling . . . brings some of [L.A.’s] biggest personalities to life . . . As she did for Edie Sedgwick in Edie: American Girl, [Stein] harnesses a gossipy chorus of voices.”—Vogue “Even if you’re a connoisseur of Hollywood tales, you’ve probably never heard these. . . . As ever, gaudy, debauched, merciless Hollywood has the power to enthrall its audience.”—The Wall Street Journal “The tales of jaw-dropping excess, cruelty, and betrayal are the stuff of movies, and the pleasures are immense.”—Vanity Fair“This riveting oral history chronicles the development of Los Angeles, from oil boomtown to Tinseltown.”—Entertainment Weekly (“Must List”)From the Hardcover edition.
The book is rated 3.25/5 at goodreads.com, from 747 ratings. See 143 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1MiOrdf.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tCygbz.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A technology book recommendation: The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries by Andrei Soldatov

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cCJLql.
Soldatov and Borogan are Russia’s foremost experts on Putin’s security services and the founders of the website Agentura.ru. At a time when investigative journalism is practically extinct in Russia they have courageously kept going.
Book description from Google Books:
Half of Russia’s email traffic passes through an ordinary-looking building in an otherwise residential district of South West Moscow. On the eighth floor, in here a room occupied by the FSB, the successor organization to the KGB, is a box the size of a VHS player, marked SORM. SORM once intercepted just phone calls. Now it monitors emails, internet usage, Skype, and all social networks. It is the world’s most intrusive listening device, and it is the Russian Government’s front line for the battle of the future of the internet.Drawn from scores of interviews personally conducted with numerous prominent officials in in the ministry of communications and web-savvy activists challenging the state, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan’s fearless investigative reporting inThe Red Web is both harrowing and alarming. They explain the long and storied history of Russian advanced surveillance systems, from research laboratories in Soviet era labor camps to the legalization of government monitoring of all telephone and internet communications in 1995.But for every hacker subcontracted by the FSB to interfere with Russia’s antagonists abroadsuch as those who in a massive Denial of Service attack overwhelmed the entire internet in neighboring Estoniathere is a radical or an opportunist who is using the web to chip away at the power of the state at home. Empowered by communication enabled by social media, a community of activists, editors, programmers and others are finding ways to challenge abusive state powers online. Alexei Navalny used his LiveJournal to expose political corruption in Russian, and gained a viral following after attacking Putin’s party of crooks and thieves.” Grigory Melkonyants, deputy director of the nation’s only independent election watchdog organization, developed a visual that tracked and mapped voter fraud across the country. And on December 10th, 2011 50,000 people crowded Bolotnaya Square to protest United Russia and its lawless practices. Twenty-four-year-old Ilya Klishin had used Facebook to spark the largest organized demonstration in Moscow since the dying days of the Soviet Union.The internet in Russia is either the most efficient totalitarian tool or the very device by which totalitarianism will be overthrown. Perhaps both. The Red Web exposes how easily a free global exchange can be splintered coerced into becoming a tool of geopolitical warfare. Without much-needed activism or regulation, the Internet will no longer be a safe and egalitarian public forumbut instead a site Balkanized and policed to suit the interests and agendas of the world’s most hostile governments.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 179 ratings. See 26 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1NgIwch.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tSbuIW.