Once a week I make the rounds of blogs, and am always happy to find new blogs. New bloggers are fresh, while those of us who have been around for several years have our tired days.
My sense is that many people are switching to social media sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing.
I recently joined Goodreads, which claims to be “the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.” You can keep a book journal, review books, join book groups, or participate in the 2014 Reading Challenge, where 657,404 members challenge themselves to read a certain numger of books: the average is 52. There are also 90 pages of giveaways.
Sometimes Goodreads recommends books I am dying to read, like Louisa Treger’s The Lodger, a historical novel about the modernist writer Dorothy Richardson, sometimes said to have invented stream of consciousness.
Goodreads gets a lot of attention from the press. On Feb. 12, 2013 The New York Times published an article about social media groups, highlighting the popular Goodreads book group founded by Lori Hettler, The Next Best Book Club. The group is currently reading Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Line and Giano Cromley’s The Last Good Halloween. Occasionally it reads small press books.
In this same New York Times article, Amanda Close, who runs digital marketplace development for Random House, said:
“Because Goodreads is not a publisher or retailer, people feel that the information is not getting manipulated. People trust them because they are so crowd-sourced and their members are fanatics. You can’t buy a five-star review there.”
I have joined more Goodreads groups than is wise, since I have a poor record of participating. I enjoy “Victorians!,” which is currently discussing Agnes Grey.
I also joined Retro Chapter Chicks, because I love the name. They’re reading Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, and how can you go wrong with that?
I have looked at Shelfari, but find it hard to navigate. It’s got what I call a “moving text” column of recent reader updates, always in motion,and I find it distracting.
Amazon now owns Goodreads and Shelfari. To give it its due, Goodreads doesn’t push Amazon: if you want to buy a book you can also click on the tab “online bookstores,” which lists Barnes and Noble, Better World Books, and many other choices.
Am I becoming a Goodreads person? Well, nothing will replace blogs.