This month the website, Good Reads, a place for book addicts and readers turned 10 years old. I have been on there since 2012 and it is a place that I visit several times every day.
There are several elements of the site that make it an essential place for all who love to read to use. It has a basic shelving system nominally based around three compulsory ‘shelves’ to read, currently reading and read. However what makes this an excellent book management system is that you can add as many shelves as you like and can call them what you want too. I have set up shelves for all manner of things, for example travel books and natural history, list of books that have been on the various book prizes that I am interested in as well as having a shelf for every year going back to 2002 listing in order (I know, I know) everything that I have read.
The to read shelf is most useful for recording everything, and I do mean everything, that I am either desperate to read or have a slight interest in. As I write this the total stands at 4583. No, I have not mistyped that number; it is 4583. Might take a while to get through those… I know that there will be some that will drop off, be deleted and actually never read, but it is a way of recording an interest in a book that I can find at any point later on. It is particularly useful when planning the next months reading, or working out a reading list for challenges and so on.
Talking of challenges, every year on the 1st January Good Read asks if you would like to set a reading target for the coming year and who can resist a challenge? For the past three years I have set a target of 190, and in 2013 set a target of 185. This year I might just scrape through the 200 barrier, might… It is not for everyone, I know, but I like having something to aim for when thinking about what that I want to read.
There is a more though. Good Reads has a great social side to the site too. As well as being able to connect with friends, and see what they are reading, every review written on the site is publicly visible and can be liked and mostly commented on. Like other social media sites, it can suffer from the odd bell end, but thankfully they are few and far between. There is also the ability to set up and join groups to link up with like-minded readers is great. I am currently a member of several who read all manner of things from sci-fi to natural history. I am also a moderator of one called Book Vipers which is a group that reads fiction, non-fiction and classics. I also design an annual challenge for the members which seems to go down well.
Support on there has been excellent, we had a sock puppet issue in the group that I moderate, and dealt with very swiftly by the team. There are flaws with the site though, it can occasionally crash which can be frustrating, it would be lovely to add half star ratings, something that they acknowledge, but with their owners being Amazon may not happen. I am also a librarian on there with the power to change book details. I once got chastised for amending the name of an author! Apologies were sent and I think that I was forgiven.
There are other sites out there, Library Thing and Book Likes are probably the most well-known. Whilst they do things slightly differently to Good Reads, they are not as popular.
So if you love reading, want to find like-minded readers and multiply your TBR tenfold, then you cannot go wrong by signing up to Good Reads. You won’t regret it, but your bank balance might…
You can find me here on Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11951948-paul
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