Internet Taste Gurus

From magazines to the internet, everywhere has been chock-a-block full of advice on the top 10 of everything, holidays wishlists, and best of 2008 items. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what you should read, see, or listen to. But whose taste do you trust?

There are the standard cultural institutions, of course. The New York Times Book Review, for example, is a list of books in 2008 that might not be exactly to my interest, but is sure to be interesting and well-written. But they get the easy ones, so to speak, the obvious ones of good sales and pedigrees. Rarely do I chance upon a great novel off the beaten track of New York Times highlights; I need guidance. Guidance appears in abundance but, honestly, it rarely proves helpful.

What I want are the sort of recommendations my friends give me. I have a friend with great music suggestions, and another with interesting views on the literary classics. I don’t understand why it proves so much harder to find those types of recommendations on the internet, which swarms with people and opinions. People broadcast their voice on everything, but I can’t seem to find a voice who speaks to mine quite as clearly as an old friend.

The question is: how do I find people with tastes I respect and admire on the internet? Chance and blog searches seem inefficient methods. I assume people like the ones I rely on in person are out there. But where are you people?

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