Picture this: You’re strolling through Barnes & Noble in hopes of finding your first read of the summer. The choice is yours as required reading has been left behind with the end of another semester. The excitement of this literary freedom is overwhelming – What genre should you pick? Are you in the mood for a lighthearted beach read, or do you want to try something more serious? You scan the stacks, eye every book-laden table, and sneakily spy on what other customers are carrying in their hands. Finally, you settle on what you think will be a good candidate for your first read, but in the back of your mind you can’t help but wonder, “How do I know this will be a worthwhile read?”
I have found a simple answer to this question: Goodreads.com. Launched in January 2007, the site already has more than 7,700,000 members. In the simplest of terms, Goodreads is a social cataloguing site for all types of bookworms. Not only can you find out if a book is worth reading, but you can see what your friends are reading, share your own opinions about past reads, and even create a personal library.
The site also has a “If you like this, you might like this” feature that generates a list of books that you might be interested in. How do they determine what books you might want to read? Well, when you first join the site, you are asked to rate 20 books that you have read. Goodreads then will create a list of recommended books based on your answers. As you read and rate more books, your recommended list of books will become more and more accurate.
Making an account is free (yay!) and super easy. Here is how it works: Visit Goodreads.com and click the “Sign Up Now” button. All you have to do is enter your name, email, and create a password. Once you are officially a Goodreads member, start compiling your library by rating at least 20 books that you have recently read. This will allow the site to suggest future reads for you specifically. You can create customized bookshelves in addition to the standard “currently reading,” “read,” and “to-read” shelves. If you love to organize like me, this site is going to be insanely addicting – be warned!
There are a host of other features like discussion groups, online book clubs, and widgets, but I will let you explore these on your own. What fun would it be if I told you everything there was to know about Goodreads?
In honor of the summer, I am going to leave you with a few reading suggestions that I discovered on Goodreads. When you hit the beach this summer, be sure to bring along one of these, depending on what genre you feel in the mood for!
- Fiction: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
- Classic: Emma by Jane Austen
- Young Adult: Matched by Ally Condie
- Hot & Steamy: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
- Chick Lit: Jemima J by Jane Green
- For a Dose of Humor: Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Memoir: Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas
- Self-Improvement: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin