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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Bookworm Meet-up

Goodreads is my friend. I don’t know if it’s yours or not; if not, it – or a service like it – probably should be. For those of you not in the know, Goodreads is a place where you can track the books you’ve read, organize them according to various self-labeled shelves, identify the books you want to read, and much more. You can add friends to see what they’re reading, share your info with Facebook, and follow other reviewers. Why? To discover other books you may want to read, of course!

So many books, so little time. That’s a first-world bookworm problem. If you’re like me your to-read list is way longer than your arm. I’ve been on Goodreads for about four years now and while my list of read books is over 1000 and growing (as I remember and add titles I read years ago), my list of books to read is over 1500. Sometimes I go through and weed the ‘shelves’ a little bit as my interests change or as I discover that the book I thought might be great has an average of 2.5 stars according to the input of over 39,000 readers. That’s a lot of input!

On Goodreads you can find and add great quotes – which is better than highlighting for those of us who hate to mark up our books, for those who want to sell them after they’ve been read, or for those who borrow from the library. Do not highlight or otherwise deface library property! Yes, you contribute to the library through your taxes, but so does everyone else in your community. Most libraries receive small enough budgets as it is (believe me, I know!), and when books (and other materials) are damaged through underlining, highlighting, etc., they end up in recycling. I think we can all agree that that’s not a happy fate for a book that might be informative, engaging or entertaining.

You can enter giveaways on Goodreads – oh, joy! I’ve won four titles in the last year. There is an expectation that you review these books, which are offered by the author or publisher. This is only a fair courtesy when you receive a book for free. Of course, entering giveaways is another way of building your to-read list and finding new titles and authors.

You can set a reading challenge for the year and Goodreads will track your performance. I’ve done this for the last three years and consistently exceeded my goal by at least 10 or 15 percent. I like to keep it moderate (though you can also alter your goal if you find you’re doing well or poorly). Unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way of a good book. I know, right?

There are services similar to Goodreads out there, so if you’re already using something like it, there may be no reason to switch. But if you currently track your reading on little scraps of paper or on your library’s ‘reading history’ function, you’ll find Goodreads a lot more versatile.

Side note: I just realized that today’s post is not just a ‘bookworm meet-up,’ it’s also a ‘product placement.’ BOGO!

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