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10 July 2015

Review: Alexi app

The awesome Alexi app gives you a handpicked range of the very best books, recommended by the authors you love, writes STEVE BLUES.

I love books, the actual physical paper and cardboard versions, and I read a minimum of two to three of them a week. As any other voracious reader will know, keeping a supply of readable books going is no easy task. Like any other life-consuming hobby it takes dedication, commitment and large chunks of precious time to keep the need for fresh books satisfactorily met. 

Obviously, I have a well-worn card for my local library, a number of book stores that I make economically viable, and am able to scavenge a table piled high with second-hand books in seconds. 

All this helps me keep my 'To Read' pile at an acceptable level (I break out in hives if there are any less than three books still to go) but it leaves me with some serious quality issues to deal with. 

Outside of the authors I know and love, often all I have to go on when choosing a new book is its cover, the synopsis and a hurried glance through a couple of pages to see if I like the writing style. This less than scientific approach has led to some real stinkers taking up my precious reading time.

Quality and quantity

My efforts to maintain a regular supply of quality books has led to me experimenting with a number of apps. But when you get right down to it, virtually all the crowd-sourced reviewing platforms I’ve found are the same as all other forms of social media: filled with the opinions of people who shouldn’t be allowed opinions, never mind public opinions. 

When I heard about the beta-release of the Alexi app it was like the book gods had come down from the great big library in the sky and presented me with a gift just for me.

Handpicked by the authors you love

Where Alexi is different from the crowd-sourced review norm is that this crowd isn’t just anybody with an opinion. Instead the creators have managed to get some of the most successful and prominent writers and cultural figures in the world to curate lists of the books they loved. 

In the early app version released recently, there are recommendations from the likes of Bret Easton Ellis, Julian Barnes, John Le Carre, Alice Sebold and others. Now I don’t know about you, but these are people whose opinions on books carry much more weight than Anonymous from Brakpan.

But wait, there’s more

Each week new lists of books are released by the Alexi team’s in-house and guest curators. Users can adapt the app to their preferences by following their favourite curators and using their lists to build their own shareable lists of curated books. It all sounds fantastic to a book fanatic like myself. 

The only problem at this stage is that it's a beta version of the app, so a fair amount of functionality is still to come. It's also only available for Apple users. 

But, while we’re waiting for the developers to deliver on their promises, you can browse the curated book lists of some of the world’s best authors.

Get the Alexi app

Alexi Website:

Download Alexi for Apple.