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This article is sponsored by Goodreads. 

Actually, it’s not, and for legal reasons, that’s a joke, but seriously, Goodreads, my DMs are open.

Maybe this is the English major in me, but I love books. For as long as I’ve been able to read, I’ve been going through books at the speed of lightning, and my TBR (‘to be read’, for those unfamiliar with book slang) list has grown even faster. It was impossible to remember these all on my own, which is why for years, I had a list on the notes app on my phone of all the books I had read and wanted to read. It was, at best, chaotically organized, and contained no details further than the titles of the books. I had heard of Goodreads before, but I didn’t know how it worked except for the long lists of quotes it would generate every time I searched Google for “quote about __”. But one fateful day in January 2019, after resolving to organize the aforementioned list, I decided to give it a try.

And oh boy – if you read books, at all, you’re going to want to try it out. Now, each book on my lists is connected to an actual book, and with a click of a button, I can see all the book’s information, ratings, and reviews. I can see the summary so I actually remember what the books I want to read are about, and I can organize my books in countless different ways. All you have to do is create ‘shelves’, which is basically a tag that you can attach to certain books. For example, I have my books tagged by genre and whether I’ve read them or not, so some have a ‘nonfiction-to-read’ tag, while some have a ‘classics-read’ tag. If I’m in the mood to start a new nonfiction book, I can simply go to my shelf and I’ll be able to see all the nonfiction books I’ve marked as wanting to read.

Not only can you keep track of the books you want to read, but you can also keep track of the books you’ve already read. No more wondering about when you read that book, or what it was about again? You can rate or review each book you read as well, so you can remember down the road if you liked it or not. Honestly, I just like seeing the numbers; seeing how many books I’ve read is a nice ego boost. Sometimes I even get momentarily frustrated at the fact that there are so many books missing from my list; things I read pre-high school that I couldn’t remember if I had to. But that’s human error, not the fault of sweet Goodreads.

Speaking of numbers, one of my favorite features of Goodreads is that you can set a reading goal each year. All you have to do is put in the number of books you want to read throughout the year, and Goodreads will track everything you read. It’ll show you if you’re on track or not based on an amount of time taken for the number of books to be evenly spread throughout the year. Not only does this motivate me to read, but at the end of the year it gives you all your book data, a-la-Spotify Wrapped. It’ll tell you things like your longest book, shortest book, the average length of the books you read, and how many pages in total you read. It’s a book nerd’s paradise.

Goodreads has quite a few other cool features (check here and here for ones not mentioned in this article), but I’ll close out with some of my favorites. Each year, Goodreads opens up voting for readers’ favorite book released that year in each genre; not only is it a chance to vote for your favorites, but it’s also fun to see the winners after voting closes (and add them to your TBR!). You can also add your friends, and see their reading progress and stats. Or, you can keep your account just to yourself (which is personally how I prefer it – I don’t need any pretentious friends judging me over my affinity for YA novels). Either way, just trust me and make a Goodreads account. Every friend I’ve ever recommended it to has reaffirmed to me that it changed their lives. Just do it!

Emily Childress

St Andrews '22

Emily Childress is a third year at St Andrews and is from Haymarket, VA, USA. She is also an English major in the Joint Degree Programme with the College of William & Mary. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, telling any dog she sees how cute they are, trying out different coffee shops, and looking contemplatively out over the North Sea as she pretends to be in a Brontë novel.