What should you read when you visit a particular place?
It’s not so hard to discover what books are related to a particular place, but it’s not too easy to figure out which ones you should really read first. We all have only so much time, after all.
I looked and asked around for a web-service listing the most appropriate books to read when visiting a particular place. I came up empty and decided to create it myself.
Built on top of WordPress, Visit This Read That relies on the GoodReads API for information on books, with a sprinkling of the OpenLibrary API, and does geographic lookups via the Google Places API. Books listed for individual places can be voted up and down by users of the website, in similar fashion to how, say, Reddit works.
I’m indebted to Jacob Overmark Sebæk for some early beta testing and spending a gracious amount of time adding a long list of places and books. In the process, he also stumbled upon a few listings on the web that, in one way or the other, somewhat structurally list books for particular places. These included Tale_Away, Around the World in 80 books, and TripFiction, travel-related websites with a bunch of country/book lists; Mappit, a clever mashup using LibraryThing and Open Library, listing publications set in specific places, but, seemingly, less focussed on the social component for discovering the more appropriate books to read;
Of course, GoodReads also has a bunch of user-generated lists throughout the site matching books with locations, including the Around the World in 80 Books group.