The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

07 December 2012

Query: do you Goodreads?

Hello Dear Reader,

I'm conducting an informal inquiry:  do you make use of Goodreads?  And if so, how do you use it?

A friend suggested I join nearly a year ago, but since establishing my account, I haven't been back.  I hear it referred to a lot at work, so it would seem this is a site I should become familiar with.  Is it something I'm going to find useful?  Or, like Pinterest, is it going to be a huge temptation to spend hours online? Is it work-intensive, requiring meticulous record keeping?

I'm eager to hear from you!


  1. I have never heard of Goodreads. So now you know THAT....

  2. Haha!! Thanks for letting me know, Nancy

  3. Hello, Tess,

    I apologize in advance for the long answer.

    Yes, I am a Goodreads member and I do use it, but not every day. How much time you spend on the site depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. I think some folks check in once every few months and others spend way too much time on the site (“I have 14,827 friends on Goodreads!”), similar to how some are addicted to Facebook.

    There are groups available for specific interests that may be helpful. For example, I’m in a Kindle group that alerts me when there is news about the Kindle, free books on Kindle, and similar items of interest. It has been of some use. Perhaps 25% of the alerts cover a subject about the Kindle in which I have a true interest. Some of the free books from new authors have been interesting. I’ve been searching for a horror / speculative fiction group that fits my needs, but haven’t found one yet. The groups are not all recently active, and that can be a problem.

    Many seem to be drawn to the book reviews. I’ve even written a few brief ones, just to get my mind thinking about how the process works. I’ve found them of dubious value. Much of what’s written seems to be more along the lines of what you’d get from a mutual admiration society than a true review. And for some of the less popular books, the authors themselves have posted the only review. Needless to say, they thought their book was great.

    What has been most useful to me is to use it as a tool to understand what others are reading. I’m trying to do a bit of writing, and I want to know if what I write has a market. I’d also like to know about publishing, and many of the “Goodreads Authors” are beginning writers using that route to get their books out (publicity). This process has caused me to read books that I would normally have no interest in, and that is probably a good thing.

    I haven’t explored all of the areas of Goodreads, so I’m not fully up on all of its features, but it can be useful. If it disappeared, however, I wouldn’t go off sobbing and threatening to end it all.

    I can’t say it has cause me a huge amount of work, and it keeps track of the books you’ve read rather easily (and the format – paperback, Kindle, etc.). If you want to do book reviews regularly, that could be a bit of work.
    Just to let you know, I follow it/signed up for it using an ID off of my more serious writing blog (such as it is) instead of the pseudonym I use on my other blogs (Avery Smithkin / Life In A Swamp / Random Acts Of Dog). That really is the blog where I should be following your blog – I need to make a note of that.

    May I ask a question in return? (If you reply “no” you may stop here.)

    It seems there is no easier way to be banned from polite society than to mention that I enjoy reading and writing narrative poetry. Am I such a Neanderthal, or is there a good reason for that response?


    K R Smith (or Avery, or whatever…)

  4. One long reply deserves another!

    Well hello K R! You've been holding out on me: I didn't know you were a writer (I firmly believe one is a writer whether one has been published or not; it's in the blood)

    Thank you for providing such a thorough answer to my question. I'm wary of starting yet another online profile, and yet Goodreads is all about books and reading - two things I'm very passionate about. I don't feel the need to organize or track what I have read, yet something of the librarian in me hankers after having a catalogue of the books in my life.
    What brought it to mind again months after establishing my account was a library patron explaining she was doing a reading challenge in which she had to read books for adults with covers similar to children's book covers. A reading challenge? Fun! I'd be keen to try that.
    Like you, I'm open to being introduced to books I wouldn't necessarily consider for myself and if Goodreads can keep my book addiction fed, that's another mark in its favour.
    I'm leaning towards giving it a go. May I friend you?
    Hmm... as to being ostracised due to your narrative poetry predilection, I have found that poetry in general is kept in dark corners, brought out only in secret when a fellow poetry buff is discovered... and even then the poetry really ought to be edgy and incomprehensible. Straight up narrative poetry? You are either hopelessly old fashioned or presciently ahead of the trend! (You may know I'm a big admirer of Donne, so my taste in things poetic is not exactly au current either. )

  5. Of course you may friend me!

    I do want to say, that in addition to narrative poetry, I also write poetry that doesn't rhyme or tell a story. It's just that some of my poems feel unnatural unless written in a narrative style, sounding a bit out-of-date. Or perhaps I don't have the skills to write them otherwise.

    I grew up reading Tennyson, Poe, Noyse, maybe a little Longfellow and Frost. I guess that's where the narrative style was hammered into my brain. Needless to say, my poetry isn't quite up to that level.

    As far as being old-fashioned - that's something to ponder. In some ways, yes, but I've been around for a few years, so I suppose that's to be expected.

    Anyway, there's a lot I could say on the subject - I should do a blog post on this instead of clogging up your comment section!

    And I do appreciate the reply!

    Thank you!

  6. Nothing wrong with being old-fashioned, in my opinion. It usually means you have good taste and good manners, and both are qualities the edgy whippersnappers could learn.

    Is your poetry available on your blog?

    Friend request has been sent. You might not recognize the name, but it's me all the same.

  7. I finally logged on to Goodreads and saw the request, so the friend request has been accepted!

    I haven't put any poetry out on the blog yet. Bethanne Strasser and I had planned to do a sort of reciprocal guest blog posting, and I was going to use one of my poems for that. We both got distracted with various issues around the same time, so I need to contact her to see if she is still interested. She writes romance stories, and I had to dig deep to find a poem suitable for her readers. As I recall, there were one or two lines I wanted to rework before showing it to the world. It's a narrative poem, but it doesn't rhyme. I have a couple of others that I'm trying to find a market for - even a non-paying market - just to get a few works published. If I can't, I'll put them out on the blog.

  8. Acceptance received; thank you for being my Goodreads friend.

    I wish you luck finding a home for your poetry. Do you have/use Writer's Market? I've made very timid forays into pursuing publication, and I'd love to see you succeed to know it can be done!

  9. I have a copy of the book (2012 version) but I haven't used the website - something I need to check into.

    And thanks for the good luck wish - I'll take all the help I can get!