Sunday, April 10, 2016
Read Any Good Books Lately?
I've always been very careful when someone asks for a book recommendation. Reading likes/dislikes are very personal, and vastly different. My husband does not read fiction, mom's not a big fan of science fiction, and I don't read romance stories. I know someone who reads almost nothing other than mysteries, and someone else who reads only westerns.
But even if someone's reading preferences are very narrow, there are still tons and tons of books out there.. far more than can be read by any one person. Which is why people are always looking for suggestions and recommendations on what should be read.
Occasionally, you might be fortunate enough to find a 'reading buddy'... someone whose interests overlap with yours. My brother and I are reading buddies. Our reading interests are so much in synch that on more than one occasion, one of us has called the other to say "Hey, I just finished reading a book that you MUST read", only to find out that our sibling is in the middle of reading that same book.
And for me, sharing my enthusiasm over a book I've read, is almost as good as reading the book in the first place. Hmmm, well, maybe not.. but it does evoke some of the initial enjoyment I experienced when I read the book. So having a reading buddy is a treat. On occasion, one of us will find a book that's so good, that we'll call each other to say "I'm in the middle of this really good book... don't get it yet, let me finish it and make sure it carries through to the end, but I wanted to give you a heads-up". Why do we do this? I'm not sure... but we've both done it, for what that's worth.
But not everyone has a reading buddy... or their reading buddy isn't enough.
That's where Goodreads comes in. Goodreads is a website that has nearly every book listed. Membership is free, and at least in my experience, I don't get any emails from them that I haven't asked for, and my Goodreads membership doesn't seem to have generated any spam. Initially, I used the website to keep track of what I've read (I hate reading books a second time)... and to keep track of books I'd heard of that I wanted to read. But over time, I've realized that this site offers more than that. If I hear of a book but I'm not sure if it would be my cup of tea, I can check it out on Goodreads, and see what other people have to say about it. Yeah, I know, you can do this on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or iBooks... but the reviews on Goodreads seem to be more detailed, without giving anything away. And when I read a review, I can then check out the reviewer's profile, and see how similar their reading interests are to mine... which helps me determine how much weight to give to that review.
But recently, it hit me... I've been rather selfish. While I enjoy the ability to check out the reviews of others, I've been too lazy to post my own. And that's not fair. So I've started posting my reviews. I don't spend much time on mediocre books... after all, what can you say about 'mediocre'. And even for books that I do like, or don't like, I'm not spending a lot of time on the review.... less time than it takes for the kettle to boil, for another cup of tea. And inasmuch as more than three hundred thousand new books are published each year - in the US alone - it's impossible to keep up with all the new books out there. I think we owe it to our fellow readers to help reduce that number to something a bit more manageable.
And while I'm not saying you should sign up for Goodreads, or post your reviews there or anywhere else... I would encourage you to share any good books you've read, with anyone who you think might find the information of interest.
And now that I've put up a review on the book I read a couple days ago, and I've finished this post, it's time to go make a cup of tea and ponder the next book to read.