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This website recommends novels by making sure you can’t judge a book by its cover

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There’s an old adage that says “don’t judge a book by its cover.” And while that’s usually used metaphorically to discourage making judgements of a person or situation based on initial impressions, there’s no reason why you couldn’t interpret it literally to refer to actually judging works of literature. That’s the idea behind, which takes the idea of not judging a book by its cover and takes it to the natural conclusion.

Designed by developer Givi Phirtskhalava, the site presents you with the first page of a novel as a blank, standalone item without title, author, or cover, allowing you to experience the beginning of a book without coloring it with any preconceived ideas.

It’s a clever idea, made even more useful by the fact that it actually includes mainstream published novels in addition to the usual run of public domain works that tend to populate projects like this. As an actual book-recommendation engine, it’s somewhat limited by just randomly showing you the first page of the various novels in the collection, but the gimmick of trying books blindly is still fun.

Beyond using it for finding new books, it’s also interesting to try and identify novels you’ve already read once they’ve been removed from the context of their covers and identifying information. And besides, as another adage goes, “You'll never know until you try.”