Goodreads.com: your source for book reviews, suggestions and more
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 01:03
So. You’ve finished reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” and decided it’s time to read a book that doesn’t necessitate locking your door and sending your roommate a transparent text like, “Yo, when are u getting back 2 the room?” But you don’t know what to read because you don’t know what’s out there. This is where Goodreads helps you out.
Goodreads.com is a free-to-join website and is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world: hosting 14,000,000 members and 470,000,000 books.
Joining is easy enough: create a username, pick genres you’re interested in, rate books from respective genres, and sift through recommendations based on your selected genres. Note that Goodreads will decline to recommend you anything if you haven’t rated (so, had to have read) at least twenty books. Because clearly giving all seven Harry Potter books five-out-of-five stars is not comprehensive enough to recommend me The Hobbit. Save your snobbery, Goodreads.
The Goodreads website has a Facebook familiarity to it: books are periodically posted on the home-page by other members, whom can rate them, tell where they are in the book, and recommend them to other members, much like a status update or shared link. Members can also choose to follow other members receiving updates on where they are in books, what they’ve read in the past, and what they have on their “shelf”, which is similar to a Facebook wall, save the solipsistic preaching and insert future potential-reads. Once you stumble across a book you might like to read, you simply add it to your shelf, reminding you to read it later on.
Also like Facebook, Goodreads has games proving what book club moms taught us long ago that it’s never (really) about the books. Under the “explore” taskbar, one can find trivia and quizzes, created entirely by member submissions.
Pop Quiz: “Willie Stark, the central character of All the King’s Men, is believed by some to be loosely based on what Louisiana governor?” Give up? Well, it’s Huey P. Long, of course. The point I’m making is that the trivia seems deliberately impossible, that being said, 60.4 percent of the members who answered said question got it correct; all this in the epoch of $8 dollar a month Netflix, outstanding!
The most interesting and useful facet of Goodreads is the “Listopia”: a panoply of books categorized by more relevant genres than just romance, adventure, young-adult, etc. Listopia has genres like “Books that should be Made Into Movies” and “Downton Abbey-esque Books.”
Any member can create a “group,” which is tantamount to a virtual book club there is a reading schedule posted, and discussion/comments follow below. For one group, 2013 is the “Year of Proust,” where members read roughly one hundred pages a week of varied Proust texts and then discuss, who knows what, madeleine cakes, maybe? If the ostensible banality of an online book club glazed your eyes, perhaps members whom adorn usernames like “Proustitute” or “Obsessive Comproustive” can revitalize your curiosity.
Creative writing is also posted by the thousands; proving a highly conductive outlet for those whom require more than 140 characters to self-actualize, and vapidly pontificate to the world that remains unconvinced your life has the artistry and tragic undertones of a Terrence Malick movie. Quick-thought: can anyone who is a member of an online book club with seemingly inexhaustible mines of free-time to read fiction all day have that tragic of a life…?
Why should you become a member of Goodreads? It’s definitely not for everyone, but there are dozens of good book recommendations and reviews that, at the very least, make you aware such books exist. If anything, the ‘Quote Page’ is great to just scroll through:
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read,” Mark Twain said. Pick up those books comrades, Mr. Clemens has a point.