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.