Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for Goodreads.

If I were to track my path towards creating this blog, a major signpost would be when I signed up for Goodreads in June, 2008.  I was in a book club that I had just started to feel comfortable with.  A few of them were talking about this book lovers' website, and when one sent me an invitation, I accepted.  This was only a few months after I'd joined Facebook, back when "social media" was something that didn't seem important or useful to me.

The first thing I started using Goodreads for was to track the books I read.  I've always read a lot, but never had the patience or organization skills to keep track of what I was reading, or even the amount. Goodreads simplified this.  I found lists of books, I created shelves to sort my books, and I obsessively tracked my reading.  I built shelves haphazardly, realizing years later that "other worlds" was maybe too broad of a catch-all for the various sci fi and fantasy novels housed there, and that "abandoned midstream" was what most of the book blogging world calls DNF, or Did Not Finish.

I grew to like rating the book I'd just finished, then checking to see what others had to say about it.  Sometimes my perspective was confirmed, sometimes I shook my head at others' obtuseness, and sometimes I had to rethink my initial response to a book.

The sheer volume of reviews for any one book influenced when and how I write reviews.  There is no point in summarizing the book--Goodreads already does that anyway, and then hundreds of other readers put their two cents in--and rarely is there truly something new to say in terms of analysis.  So my "reviews" are personal responses, written for my own sake in case I want to jog my memory later about what it was about a book that made it great or less so.  Taking that approach, I don't have much to say about every book, so I only write reviews when I'm moved to do so.

I used to keep a little list on the back of my checkbook of titles that stood out to me in bookstores, so I could look for them the next time I was at the library.  Now I have over a thousand books on my to-read shelf.  It's only been recently that I've paid any attention to the more social aspects of the site.  I've followed or friended bloggers I enjoy, which makes their ratings and reviews pop up first.  I tried to join a read-along group, but couldn't get motivated to actually follow through.  Still, I like the idea of a virtual book club, now that I'm unable to squeeze in time for an actual one.

My shelves:

bookshelves (edit)

all (3130) 


  1. J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge - where I am part of Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
    How has the first week of the challenge been for you so far? Are you meeting your goals of posting and hopping to other blogs?
    My blog has a giveaway with bonus a to z challenges to encourage people to visit more stops.
    I've followed your Goodreads!

  2. Just here via a2z list today and I love your book choices.
    Best Wishes,

    My A2Z @ Annette's Place | Follow Me On Twitter

  3. Your shelves aren't even close to mine.

    I have:

    Read: 454
    Currently Reading: 2
    To Read: 27

    Then my most populous shelves are:
    Brit Lit: 58
    Mystery: 55
    Short Stories: 53
    Lady Poets: 43 (I have a lot of different poetry shelves.)
    Crime: 36

  4. As a writer new to Goodreads, it's great to hear how you use the site. Happy A to Z!
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

  5. Thanks for passing by my humble little blog on the long road from A to Z. And good luck with all that reading, I am OK with writing and drawing but struggle reading which I guess seems a bit odd.

    Enjoy the rest of the journey.

  6. Have never thought to use Goodreads to track the books I read, Good idea .

  7. I've been a member of Goodreads for a few years I suppose. I'm not very good at keeping it up to date and, having spotted your 2016 Reading Challenge in the sidebar, I realise that too will be a DNF.

  8. I've been tempted to join Goodreads for a while now, but I just don't have the time for yet another social media site, and I know if I joined, I would spend far too much time there!

  9. Thanks for this post. I have looked at Goodreads, but never took the time explore how it worked. Now that I have seen your post, I plan to give it a try. Visiting from A to Z Challenge.
    Molly of Molly's Canopy


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