10 Reasons Why You Need to Join Goodreads

If you’re a reader, you need to be on Goodreads.

Life inspires art, imagination excites art, and art can also imbue art.  Writers read voraciously.  From great books we learn form and tone and technique and rhythm.  From reading well-written books, we are inspired to create.

I stumbled across Goodreads a few months ago by recommendation of a friend.  It’s a social site similar to Facebook, but instead of focusing mainly on networking, this site acts as a library catalogue.  And for a reader, it’s love at first sight.

Why You Should Join Goodreads

1. Keep track of books read.  Once you create a profile, Goodreads prompts you to add the books you’ve read in the past.  You can add books all the way back to elementary school or stick with recently read books. 

2. List books to read.  Here’s my favorite part.  Goodreads acts as an online “to-read” list for all those books you’ve been meaning to read.  I make lists constantly, but I also lose them just as consistently.  Now whenever I hear of an interesting book, I add it to my queue online.  Just this morning while reading the New York Times, I came across a book called The Red Market by Scott Carney.  Within minutes, I added it to my Goodreads “to-read” list.  Now in a few weeks when I’m looking for a new book to read, I only have to log on and choose a book from my list.

3. See what friends are reading.  In Facebook fashion, you can find friends on Goodreads and follow what they’re reading.  This allows you to branch out of your reading rut, and try new genres, new styles of books.  Also, this feature makes it simple to book swap with friends.

4. Swap books.  Besides swapping books with friends, this site allows you to swap with readers from all over the world.  And all you have to pay is the shipping cost.  If readers are willing to swap and send out good reads out into the world, they post the titles.  Just contact them, and you’re on your way to receiving a new novel in the mail.

5. Check out ratings.  If you want to avoid reading a dud, check out the ratings of the book beforehand.  Once readers finish a novel, they’re given the chance to rate the book from one to five stars.  So if you’re hesitant about reading that new bestseller, check out its ratings and the comments from hundreds of readers who have gone before you.

6. Categorize.  Goodreads gives you the option of making category shelves.  For each book, you can label as “female author,” “male author,” “Russian literature,” “contemporary,” etc.  This allows you to look back on your reading and easily see where your weaknesses lie.  Maybe you’re a sucker for Scandinavian crime literature written by women.  Maybe not.  This allows you to move beyond your comfort zone if you’re willing, and perhaps attempt Scandinavian crime novels written by men instead.

7. Discuss.  If you’re burning to discuss an amazing read and find yourself without friends who have read the same book, try out the book discussion forums.  Whether you want to rage about a poor ending or celebrate a character’s transformation, you will undoubtedly find people who will want to do the same.

8. Connect with readers and fans.  If you’re an author, here’s the place to connect with your readers.  You can discuss parts of the book, post developments of your next book, and engage in readers’ opinions. 

9. Explore and discover.  Stumble across lists of books in your favorite genre, find additional books by your favorite authors, and see what’s popular across the world.  Goodreads makes it easy to discover new reads.

10. Read more.  Every time I log on, I come away with an insatiable reading appetite.  I want to read all books recommended to me, all books that I stumble across while looking into a new genre.  And while you may slip out of control, you’ll certainly be more well-read in the end.  No complaints there.

Are you a Goodreads user?