Monday, April 15 2024

We interviewed José Verdiá, director of a
site that offers free orientation to literary content in English and
is an international initiative, open to participation by all its users. It
springs from an exchange of experiences from people united by the same
passion for reading, and it follows a Catholic orientation.

Books are labeled under categories to favor quick consultation, which can
be carried out by a free search, or according to author or topic. With over
80 thousand books, the site has a vast database of literature. The goal of is to offer the reader an evaluation on doctrinal and moral
content of the book under investigation. These evaluations are the fruit of
an entire team of collaborators. In many cases, even brief notes that
explain the contents of the books or information about the author are
offered. Furthermore, the most influential or successful works are given a
more extensive and detailed commentary. The site counts on the support of

Midwest Theological Forum

, an American non-profit association that collaborates through
evangelization projects.

But let’s delve deeper into the spirit and philosophy that drives

What type of books do users search most: essays, romance novels,
philosophical works…?

Users usually don’t turn to the coordinators of the site for advice; they
rather manage their own inquiry independently through particular windows of
research. In this manner, the research is immediate and direct, without
filters or mediations that can prolong the response and consultation time.
From what we can see, romance novels are generally the most researched. But
naturally, all other literary works, including specialized topics and
scientific materials, are sought out through the site.

How many consultation requests do you receive each year and what type
of public do you have?

About 400 people from all five continents enter on a daily
basis. If we make an annual projection, the number is definitely higher.
Most searches are coming from English or Spanish speaking countries. The
service that offers is for all people, of all kinds and all
ages. In fact, users can find evaluations and information on various types
of literature, from children’s books to specialized scientific
publications, to philosophical works, to simple light reading.

What type of people writes the book reviews and what are their
qualifications? Are they volunteers without any particular training or
do they have a specific intellectual formation?

The site is open to all and builds upon the collaboration of all users. At
most, we have a team of about 30 people who send us reviews on a regular
basis. These are people who read over 50 books a year and are willing to
place the information and impressions they received from their reading at
the service of others. Many are either university or high school
professors. They therefore have a great cultural preparation, in addition
to their passion for reading and Catholic formation.

Besides the moral and doctrinal indications relating to the Christian
faith, is guidance given as to the literary quality of the work?

This is certainly not our aim. The Internet is full of sites that perform
this task, and do so quite well. We normally recommend books that possess a
certain literary quality or have struck out in their genre. These
suggestions and advice are offered directly on the home page. In the notes,
we sometimes offer brief information that refers readers to other
literature by the same author, or outline biographical facts. In some
cases, we even offer assessments of the book’s quality, without however,
wanting to transform into a literary review site that focuses on the
artistic value of the work. We prefer to remain faithful to our task of
offering doctrinal and moral guidance, and let professional critics make
other evaluations.

There’s nothing left but to wish all a good consultation!


Is it possible to erase our recorded history on the internet?


Family and media. Family relationship, their rappresentation on the mass media and virtual relationship

Check Also