Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why I Use Goodreads, or; A Story in Organization

Once upon a time, I used to write down titles of books I wanted to read on little scraps of paper. These would collect in the bottom of various bags, and I would occasionally transfer them to a list that I would keep in journals. I say occasionally, because more often than not they would disappear and these titles would be lost to me, unless they were classics or new fiction, because those were easy to remember.

Two and a half years ago, I stumbled across Goodreads — I can't remember how — and my literary life hasn't been the same since. Here I can keep track of all the books I've read and those I want to read. I can sub-divide these into lists, like "food books to read" or "favorites." I can see what friends are reading and compare our reading tastes and get ideas for books I might like.

Sure, there are quizzes to take, walls to post on and groups to join, which aren't useful for me, but the best part is the organization it allows for. I can prioritize books I want to read, which helps me quickly request books from the library. I can also make lists of books I'd like to own to share with my mother, who is also on the site, for when she's looking for gift ideas for me (the worthiest outcome of belonging to a social media site, if you ask me). And now you can swap books with other users in the mail, which might be something worth checking out.

Like many people, I have a love-hate relationship with social media, eschewing Facebook but embracing Twitter since it is incredibly useful for my job. I generally think that all these sites, which are designed to connect people, instead make us unable to genuinely connect with someone on a personal level in the way we once did. But unlike these other social media sites, Goodreads is useful for the individual, someone like me who loves being organized but was never quite able to attain it in this one part of my life.

Follow me on Goodreads.

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