Sunday, November 30, 2008


One of my favorite websites is Goodreads, a network where fans of reading and books can gather and see what their friends and other people are perusing. It is especially good for introducing one to new books, finding books along similar lines and genres that you enjoy, providing an opportunity to manage one's reading list and to give reviews. I have discovered a number of really good books and authors there. And I have met some very nice people as well. I check the site just about daily and I enjoy it immensely. But there are quirks I don't like:

1: Although I am not sure what the worth of ranking people is, they should be ranked according to the number of books they have actually read. Not by the number they hope to read. I have a large "to-read" list and it is quite handy---I always seem to lose the little scraps of paper I use to write potential reads upon.

2: Some people apparently have reviewed absurd numbers of books weekly (or so the site seems to indicate). That is ridiculous. The number of reviews is immaterial; the quality or honesty of appraisal is more important. There should be a board or committee, say, that gives a special mark to a well-written or insightful review. It shouldn't be based on the fact that you have a zillion "friends" who all get a look at your review and then it gets ranked highly.

3: Don't know how it can be done, but bookstores and promoters should be blocked. Some people clearly are more interested in hawking their volumes than truly being part of a social or reading network.

4: How can someone have 2000+ friends and two books? Why exactly are they part of the site? To accumulate numbers? To make themselves feel worthy or special? Wouldn't you think it would be based on people who like to read?

5: I wish people would spend a little more time separating (organizing) their lists. It takes a lot of time to wade through the standard "read" file. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but it sure would help if history books were clearly marked, or YA literature, or fantasy. . .you see where I am going.

6: No offense to adults who read with their children (I do it just about every day) and to children's librarians, but do we really need reviews and listings of pre-highschool volumes? I have suggested to the managers that they develop a separate site especially for children's literature. A few postings of kid's books is fine (I have done so for a few volumes I especially liked), but if you choose to do so, put them in a clearly marked file.

7: It seems that some people love every book they read. OK, nothing wrong with that (thought I doubt it is true), I guess. But if you are taking the time to list and review a book, try to be at least a little critical. It is not required that one write a review for every volume one reads, but if someone gives a really high or low mark, shouldn't they state why they did so, even if it is a simple "it just didn't agree with me."

8: What's with all the craft books? Shouldn't a site like this be confined to literature and humanities? Ok, I know, people like to read about embroidery and crochet and other fun activities, but listing your entire bookshelf on crafts is a bit much. However, if people clearly marked their file as such, maybe it would be more manageable. I am almost of the opinion that textbooks should also be banned.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I don't have a problem with people including books they read to their children or even their craft or cooking books. It's easy enough to figure out what's what. And it wouldn't be good for the site to be too specific about what books they consider worth listing. (After all, it's the readers who post books they want to include and to overlook this would take a lot of man power.) But I agree that I avoid anyone with 2000 friends. One guy made a group based on TV he just watched, movies he's just watched, and things he did (his blog, in other words, but on goodreads), and that I found baffling. Does he need to have everyone know every banal detail of his life to feel important? Does he ask people to follow his Twitters as well? It made me think, what a disconnected man he is. Very sad.