Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Confessions of a Goodreads Skeptic

I secretly dislike Goodreads.

via Sacramento Public Library
I mean, I occasionally book-stalk other bloggers, just to see where we align (and usually we don’t), and I admit that it is my favorite place to get pictures of books to use on the blog. It’s a nice place to find book reviews, if you can stomach the search.

Beyond that, I don’t get it.

I think part of it is I don’t have a phone. Every now and again on Twitter I see that so-and-so is on page 157 of some-great-book, and I can only assume that you’re prompted to update your status when you leave a reading app. If I wanted to do that, I’d have to get up the stairs to the computer and manually enter the page number—ain’t nobody got time for that. More than that, I just don’t care. Keeping track of page numbers does not seem valuable to me in the long run.

(On that note, since Goodreads belongs to Amazon, I assume I might get these prompts someday on my Kindle. Oh joy.)

Secondly, I’m not really a review girl. It’s weird that I follow so many book blogs, because they generally don’t compel me to read anything new. I skim. Looking at my reading log, most books I read last year I had owned but never read, reread, was assigned to read by a teacher, or had randomly picked up at the store or library. I once said covers don’t compel me to read books, and that’s true—a cover alone gives me no desire to open it; however, they do put a foot in the door. I have to flip open a book, get a feel for it, before I decide to read it, which is why it’s easier to just tell me your favorite titles and their summaries, rather than reviewing the whole thing.

Also, I have a ton of reading material at home. I packed away all my books for a basement renovation, and since then I’ve been given like, fifteen new books. I’m not exactly dying for recommendations.

On that note, I’m a library girl and a BookBub girl. I like to touch the books I’m going to read, I like to get a sense of the theme, and I also like being uncommitted. It usually is that I don’t finish library books that I check out. Most of them aren’t worth my time, so I just send them back. I didn’t buy them, so it’s not my loss.

My last thing is that spreadsheets are better. For me. Goodreads has a method, and it works. I am all into sorting things. Pinterest is just the beginning. I am a sorter at heart, and so putting the books you’ve read onto shelves is cute and everything, but it’s also not what I’m interested in. I’m a rereader. I don’t just want to know what I’ve read, but how many times I’ve read it, how much I read on a monthly basis, and whether I’d read it again. I don’t need all the bells and whistles Goodreads has to keep track of the things that matter to me.

My skepticism boils down to this: I don’t care. Don’t really care about what you’re reading, don’t really care about what you say about it, don’t really care about sorting my books, don’t really care about being social. And everything I do care about boils down to six columns in a spreadsheet—I don’t need Goodreads.

I mean, I understand the concept, but I still don’t get it. Malevolent reader out.

Do you like Goodreads? What makes it a compelling site for you?

22 comments :

  1. Yeah, I can see what you mean. I don't have a phone either, and I find it tiring to keep a track of page numbers (I've never tried it, but the thought of it just tires me out, man). I use it though, but not for social media. I don't really care who sees my updates, because probably no one really cares about them anyway. I use it as kind of like an online record to keep a track of how many books I've read and what books I want to read. It helps for poor memory. :) Fun post!

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    1. XD It tires me out, too. It seems we're on the same page; the social media aspect is sort of a flop, especially when I don't want to reciprocate. I do think it's a good source for keeping track of what you read, but I kind of like to have that saved on my hard drive—and that's just my personal preference!

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  2. There are a lot of things that I don't like about goodreads, so I can definitely see where you are coming from. I honestly only get on there a couple times a mont. While I'm certainly not a power user, I like keeping track of all the books I've read on there so that I can remember what I've read and what I thought about it. I also occasionally use it to find new books to read through their listopia section. But like you, I'm really not hooked. Whoops.

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    1. Yeah, I don't get to Goodreads very often, either. I definitely understand using it as a record, which I appreciate and understand. It's just my personal preference to use somewhere else. It's good for finding books but more than that, I think it's okay if we aren't obsessed.

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  3. *nods until the last point* *gasps* But BOOKS. How can you not care. (Kidding, kidding.)

    I agree, those Twitter updates are really annoying -- I mean, it's cool that you're making progress, but I have no idea what so-and-so page number means. I don't update progress either -- trust me, the phone app is so slow it doesn't really help. I use it mainly to keep a record of what books I liked and what books are on my virtual TBR, like Jo. I don't really like goodreads either, to be honest :D

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    1. XD Because I'm a malevolent reader, that's why. :D

      I mean, if we could memorize book pages based on book numbers I'm sure that would be cool and useful for open-note tests (hahaha WHO AM I KIDDING) but that side is a little value-less for my tastes. I'm glad that you're able to keep track of your books, but hey, it's okay that we don't like Goodreads. :)

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  4. *staggers back* *collaspes* *gasps* *is generally shocked*

    I'm sorry you don't like Goodreads, BUT OH MY GOSH GOODREADS IS MY FAVORITE. I suppose part of the reason I love it so much is because it is the only social media I am allowed to have, and the only reason I was actually allowed to get it was because I needed it for a class a couple years back. Then, I fell in love with it, and I've been an avid Goodreads fan ever since. I don't have a smartphone either, but I am more than willing to log onto the computer to keep track of the books that I'm currently reading, add status updates, look at the books others are reading and find way too many books to add to my TBR. I love how it's a neat and organized way to keep track of all the books I've read and all the books I want to read. However, I totally sympathize with the missing reread status on Goodreads. I think there's a way to put in how many times you've read a book, but it would be nice if that was a more obvious feature.

    This is shocking, though. All these Goodreads haters. *GASP*

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    1. I am sorry I have collapsed you. *props back up*

      *blinks* Yes, I can see how Goodreads being the only social media you're allowed to have would make it your favorite (although I feel like your blog would count, as well). I'm glad that you like the options it gives you, and that it's organized enough for your purposes! I think Goodreads is more oriented to giving you new books to read, but yeah, some of us are rereaders. OUR VOICES MUST BE HEARD.

      We're all on walks of life. Be glad you're well-suited to yours. :)

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  5. I don't like Goodreads either! I used to use it quite a lot, but I have become completely bored with the whole thing. I am way too lazy to write a review, and even reading them gets boring after a while. Especially on Goodreads, where I find people either rave about a book far too much or else simply tear it to shreds just to prove they are intellectual. I do like discussing books I have read with other people, though- it's much more interesting in real life.

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    1. It seemed super cool when I first started, but yeah, it becomes more work than I'm willing to put into it all. I've found I don't really like Goodreads reviews, because people either give irrelevant reviews or just say cruel things because they can. I agree! Having book talks in real life is always more refreshing to me. :)

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  6. *gasp*

    A Kindred Soul! I tried Goodreads for a little while then suddenly realized...I don't care! I have way too much to do, check, update, and sort through each day without adding Goodreads onto it. Very enjoyable post :)

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    1. *high fives*

      Same here! There's a lot of responsibilities we all have and honestly, Goodreads is a lot of work. I mean, sometimes social media can be relaxing (hi Pinterest) but still, Goodreads can be a nightmare. Thanks for reading, Bethany!

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  7. I also also have a...uh...confession to make. It's quite different from yours.

    I...am a Goodreads freak.

    I love reviews. I love discussions. I love groups and getting book recommendations and seeing what other people are reading and keeping track of everything I've read. You could say I'm pretty involved in the GR community.

    I can't even say I understand the way you feel. Because, like I said, I'm kind of obsessed. But, hey--to each her own!

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    1. *squints at Ally menacingly* Just kidding. XD I'm glad that you like Goodreads, and that it suits your needs as a reader!

      I think if I had had the chance to use Goodreads as a twelve or thirteen year old, I might have liked it, but I know it's not my style anymore. I'm glad it's yours, though! I've found my home in other communities, and I'm good where I am, too.

      I do understand why you enjoy Goodreads, but as you said, to each her own. :)

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  8. I joined Goodreads but then never used it. There are people who update their Goodreads every day, but I don't have time for that. It's another social media site to keep up with and I kind of have other things to do.

    But it does come in handy when I'm not sure if I don't want to finish a book. I pick reviews that give five stars and then ones that give only two or one star. That way I can compare what other people think and decide for myself if this book is worth finishing.

    Also, when I book I've finished sticks with me and think about the concepts forever and a day, I'll google it to see what other people think. Eventually I find myself in Goodreads. People usually think very differently from me, but it helps me see why I think my view is valid. Or is it actually valid? Am I just making vague or non-existent connections? And if my view is valid, then I learn how to support it more strongly. Not that I ever express my view on Goodreads, perhaps on the blog. Maybe.

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    1. We all have other things to do, and we prioritize our hierarchies in different ways. If we don't want to spend time on Goodreads, then that's fine for us!

      I do think that the star ratings are nice, just because you can tend to count on their help, but usually I don't delve into the reviews. Those can be painful to read.

      I kind of like seeing what other people I know think, too, but it can be nice to see what other people have in mind. I think your reactions can always be construed as valid, but it's always an interesting thinking point. Your blog is a fine place to share your opinion, though!

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  9. I acknowledge that I probably wouldn't use GR if it weren't for my phone. I use it to update my thoughts as I read so I remember my progress for future reviews on my blog. Since I read fast and hate taking notes even when I love a quote or have an insightful thought prompted by a passage I just read, opening up the GR app lets me take a not-so-long pause from reading to update my status.

    I also use it as a place to jot down quick thoughts in the "review" section before I iron out my writing to post the review on my blog. So I guess I use it as a note-taking and rough-draft place for what ultimately gets posted on the blog.

    I'm quite a forgetful person, so if I don't immediately write down WHY I liked a book, I'll end up with a very vague review.

    I do like the reader-reviewer-interaction, but I generally get that from blogging. And I've attempted joining the book clubs there and it's failed. *shrugs*

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    1. Ah, yes—you're a review girl, I see. I'm not, so I think we have those discrepancies. I can see how Goodreads would help you keep track of the things you love quickly and all in the same place.

      Using it as a device to help with reviews is actually quite efficient. For me, at least, I like paper if I review at all, but I'm glad that it works for you.

      It looks like there's some good and some bad, but it sounds like you use it and it works for you in the way I use it, and I think that's good. :)

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  10. Goodreads is the perfect system for me, because I'm lazy. It's all there at my fingertips, so I know what I've read, what I want to read. But I hardly ever use it for status updates actually. If I have to stop reading to quickly go online to tell everyone how much I'm enjoying it, it defeats the purpose for me. I have a Windows phone, so there's no fancy Goodreads apps, but I rarely use my phone anyway. Really interested to see how others use the site though. Just curious how your spreadsheet works, do you list what you've read, books you want to read etc?

    Great post Heather <3 Really enjoyed it.

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    1. Mm, then it's good that it works for you! But yeah, it also can be kind of weird that you have to stop reading something when a really good book should keep you from wanting that interruption. It is interesting to see how different people tailor Goodreads' features to meet their blogging and reading needs, though. Also, yes, I list books I've read and books I want to read, and then I keep track of books I read each month on a separate page.

      Thanks for commenting, Diva!

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  11. Interesting post. I started using goodreads solely to keep track of the books I was reading, and I started reviewing books so /I/ could remember what I thought of them. I didn't realize till later that people might actually care about my opinion, lol. So yeah, I definitely see where you're coming from.
    I actually really wish that goodreds would let you have more than one finish date for a book. Cuz, even though I don't reread often, when I do, putting it into goodreads is kind of inconvenient.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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    1. XD Yeah, when we read a lot of books it can be hard to remember what we thought of them, right? I do think that's a strange oversight that the Goodreads people should fix. I mean, some people are bound to reread. It just makes sense!

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