Today, I’ve invited my friend Jen Victoria to share her experience using GoodReads. Jen Victoria is a mother of two teenage girls, a writer, an avid book lover, and a future bookstore owner. Thank you so much Jen Victoria for sharing your thoughts with New Writer Wednesday!
Welcome Jen Victoria!
I’ve always been a huge reader, but shied away from using any of the book cataloging websites. I questioned if I needed yet another form of social media. Despite being a member of Goodreads since 2007, March was the first time I really used it. Wanting a better way than haphazardly scribbling in a notebook what books I’ve read, I opted to finally make use of my Goodreads account. Turns out, there was a bigger, more personal issue hindering my process.
My first visit in years took the better part of an hour to set up my virtual shelves and rate books I’ve read this year. What I didn’t count on, was that part of my hesitancy to log every book I read was due to embarrassment on my part. Logging every book I read, meant including books not considered Literature, books one could buy at a grocery store and perhaps books that I only dared to download to my ereader. There is a stigma to certain genres’ even though the writing and story are fabulous. A book snobbery if you will, that I cultivated when I studied English Literature in college. The beauty of Goodreads is that there is room for enjoying all kinds of books. Lurking beneath my shelf of literature, lies my love of mysteries, urban fantasy and chick lit. Yes, I love Jane Austen, but I also really enjoyed Mike Carey’s Felix Castor series.
As much as I’ve enjoyed using Goodreads, I admittedly have a small number of Goodreadsfriends and have not looked into groups. The friends I do have are active and I love the convenience of seeing what they’ve read and recommend and what type of books they like. One friend in particular, recommends books I would have never thought to read. Picking up some of her four and five star books has introduced me to some great stories. Another way to branch out is to enter contests. There are plenty of contests for books that have upcoming release dates. I like the idea of readers winning advanced copies of books and reviewing them and being part of a reading community.
I often look for a book based on what I’m in the mood to read. A big part of Goodreads is that it makes recommendations based on books you’ve rated. I tend to take the time to write reviews of books I love and would hand to a friend. At the very least, I try to rate the book using Goodreads star system. Recommendations are based on genre and this offers many different options for the next read. In casual conversation, I find myself referring to the Goodreads iphone app to discuss books to read with friends. I’m more of a casual user of goodreads but have found it to be useful especially for keeping track of what I’ve read in a year and getting recommendations. Most importantly, I’ve learned is that there is room for all the books a person loves. Toni Morrison can coexist next to Deborah Harkness, at least on my virtual Goodreads shelf.
Since starting my Goodreads experiment, Amazon has acquired it. While I have yet to notice a difference, it will be interesting to see if things change or if another competitor will spring up. Until then, I will continue to use Goodreads.
Thanks Jen! Make sure to follow Jen Victoria on Twitter! She’s super supportive and lots of fun!