StoryGraph’s mood-based book recommendations help you find your next perfect read

This week for App Friday, we review StoryGraph, a books-focussed app. Rated 4.2 on the Google Play Store and 4.3 on iOS, the app offers book recommendations based on your reading preferences.

Reading, sometimes, can be as unpredictable as Bengaluru’s weather—some days, I’m a murder mystery; others, I’m a historical comedy. And then there are sunny, warm days when I’m straight up mysterious, reflective and dark. Book genres, of course.

Over the years I’ve realised that, even though I’m a genre-agnostic reader, the books I pick up tend to be influenced by my moods. For my birthday, almost ritualistically every year, I reach for a Sartre or a Beauvoir, for example, perhaps to find answers to life's Big Questions.

As yet another millennial with a built-in mechanism for anxiety, finding a book to suit the specific mood I am in is sometimes quite enervating.

That is until now.

Stumbling across The StoryGraph app has changed my reading game. Rated 4.2 out of 5 on the Google Play Store, with over one lakh downloads, it is an app that recommends books according to your mood.

It also tracks the moods your usual reads tend to be, and provides a wealth of data on the genres you tend to favour, the pace of the story you prefer, and the average length of the book you mostly read.

On the one hand, something like this already exists—Goodreads—and although its ‘recommendations’ feature is a hit, I’ve found it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Its suggestions are quite broad, generic, and not as nuanced.

StoryGraph does a good job at that.

Getting started on the app

Available on both the Google Play Store and iOS, StoryGraph is easy to set up.

The best way to use the app is to input as much information as possible. This could include the kind of books you’ve been reading off-late, or your favourite books among the ones you’ve read so far.

There’s a nifty search section where you can search books or authors. Once you’ve located the book you’re reading or have already read, you simply add it to your list by selecting from four options—to read, read, currently reading, and did not finish.

As you add the books to your collection, your ‘story graph’ develops. The graph captures a lot of information— ‘moods’ being the more pertinent data point. The more you use the app or add books to your list, the more this graph develops to show you the kinds of emotions associated with the books you read.

It also captures your reading pace, fiction versus non-fiction mix, genres you tend to read more, format, languages, and authors, among others.

There’s a specific option to access the mood-based recommendations feature. The app auto-populates this list with books based on your latest ‘mood’ graph, but if you have a hankering for a different ‘mood’, you can pick from the various options on the drop-down menu.

Another great feature of the app is the ‘to read’ pile.

As a bibliolater always on the hunt for her next great read, keeping track of book recommendations—whether it’s via bookstagram, booktube, or personal— can get quite annoying because you often rely on screenshots, photographs or notations in the ‘notes’ app.

StoryGraph lets you simply add books to the ‘to read’ pile so all your wishlist books are on one handy little page.

Lastly, you know that feeling when you finish reading a book and the ending turns out to either be the greatest ever, or the worst it could’ve been, and you really just want to scream-discuss (that’s a thing) it with another human being? This is where StoryGraph again comes to the rescue.

The social feature on the app is brilliant. It’s not passive, like Goodreads where you only can only ‘comment’ on the book; you can form communities with people reading that book in that moment of time and discuss it while you read the book. You can also start reading a book together with people you follow, or people who follow you, so everyone is on the same page—literally.

Our verdict

StoryGraph hits all the right notes in terms of what a book app should accomplish. It tracks the kind of books you read, personalises its recommendations, lets you keep track of books you’ve found interesting and might want to read, and offers a social platform to discuss the books.

The app lets you make your own notes for each book you’ve read—I use it as a place to store my favourite quotes so I can revisit them later. Every time I add a book to my ‘to read’ pile, I make a quick note of why I found it interesting too, and it helps me remember why I added it to the pile when I come back to the list a few weeks later.

The social feature is great too, although it lacks attention on the app and almost feels like an afterthought. If they’d played it up, it would’ve encouraged more of us nose-in-a-book, would-rather-interact-with-fictional-characters-than-real-ones people to connect over our mutual love for the written word.

The statistics page is great and the mood graph is extremely accurate. It also lets you get to know yourself better as a reader—the kind of self-discovery I always appreciate.

The content warnings section is a life-saver and helps you stay away from books that could be emotionally triggering.

The UI/UX could improve, though. It feels outdated, bland, and not inspiring enough. It could also feel too cluttered and textually intensive to a first-time user—but give it time to grow on you.

At the end of the day though, I’d take functionality over design anyway—and StoryGraph is finally the only book app that’s going to live on my phone for the rest of time. Give it a spin!

Edited by Akanksha Sarma