Friday, November 7, 2014

Tracking Books or Reading?

I've been asked if I have a Goodreads account and after passing the website by for some time, I've finally decided to try it out. But it's odd: I'm not a social media guru and so I wonder if I'll even end up doing anything with my Goodreads account.

That is, I've started adding my books. I have about 244 up--and that is nowhere near all of them. You can have a look, if you like: click here to see my page. Given how much I like organizing my physical books, I'll probably also enjoy organizing all the titles online. But I don't like the five star rating system much (whether toward food or books or whatever else): my opinion is always more complicated than that, and so much of Goodreads seems to be based on the stars you give to each book.

Or maybe it's more about setting reading goals and finding new things to read. But I like to read at whatever pace I feel like at the moment, and I already have plenty of books that I want to read, so I don't really need to find anything new. Or it could be about talking with other readers and with authors. But there, again, we come to the social media question. Sure, social media's great, but I'd rather talk to someone in person about what I'm reading. Typing it all out in an online conversation, well, that's different.

Maybe I hesitate because to me, reading is such a personal thing. I like to read whatever falls into my hands, not whatever is popular. Maybe a book I read referenced another one--so I'll read that. Or I enjoyed one book by an author, so I want to read the rest. Or I find a book at a museum shop. Or I'm browsing the bookstore and something calls out to me. Whatever way, they're books that I've made some sort of connection with before even reading them. If it's just a title that was recommended to me by a website, then that connection is lost. If it's just something popular that other people with my tastes are reading, then maybe I'll like it, but then I also feel like my opinion isn't my own anymore.

But I guess not everyone uses their Goodreads account so often and so extensively. Maybe I will like it as an online catalogue, as a quick place to compare thoughts on books. But will I end up using it, or simply wander away after a while?

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