Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Finding Spooky Books with GoodReads

Readers, I love reading. Of course, being an English major that's no surprise, but even before I thought that I would be spending my life analyzing the feminist implications of Mina's cultural role in Dracula, I thought books were one of the best things in the world. I either suffered from chronic insomnia or chronic "I am a night owl stop making me get up for school at unreasonable hours" in my childhood, so I spent many a night curled up in bed with a flashlight enjoying the spellbinding powers of books, and even got in trouble in classes as I read books under the desk instead of paying attention.

If only my second grade Reading teacher (who very strongly disliked me) could see my reading list now:

Sorry, Mrs. Lewis...but not really.

However, one constant struggle of reading for me is that I often am at a loss for things to read, and I get discouraged when I pick up books and find that they're not to my liking. However, since joining GoodReads, I've found my problem much less difficult, and I've been enjoying reading more than ever before.

GoodReads is a social networking site centered around books. You sign up, pick a few favorite genres, and start rating books that you've read (you can even leave reviews.) Once you've started rating books, you will get customize recommendations based on the books you've liked. Once you start adding people as friends, you can see the books they've marked as To Read, see their book ratings, and read their reviews. You can even join groups that have forums for discussing certain books (some of the groups are even Goth focused.)

Here are some other features of Goodreads I love to use:

  • Make themed shelves to organize your Read or To Read books (I have a shelf for all my books I need for my English and Art History majors, a shelf for Goth books, a shelf for vampire books, a shelf for Scotland-related books, and several others.)
  • Record and share quotes from the books you're reading.
  • Keep track of your progress with a specific book, including notes along the way.
  • Answer polls and surveys about your reading habits.
  • Take quizzes for your favorite books written by other users to see if your trivia knowledge is up to scratch.
  • Read blog posts written by current authors who've joined up, and follow your favorites.
My For Goths shelf

I also use GoodReads to keep track of my challenge to myself to read 52 books this year. While sometimes I get behind (I somehow managed to get five books behind during exam time last semester) I've found it useful to have someone else keep track with me. Hopefully next semester's exam time won't be so stressful that I get behind again.

If you're interested in joining up (which I recommend you do, this site is so much fun) you can add me here (and then see my bookshelf For Goths here.)

If you don't use GoodReads, and don't plan on it, how do you keep track of the books you're reading? Do you at all?


  1. I'm the same away about books, they're like better than television or real life. I tried to get into Goodreads with its library system, but I usually remember the books I've read and enjoyed, and keep all the books I want to read again.

    To find books to read I use:

    this site has been extremely helpful in building a reading list because I specify exactly what I'm looking for. There's even an option to narrow the search down by character or setting.

  2. Totally adding you there too,
    I am a sucker for goodreads, I can survive without any social network, but if I don't go to goodreads at least once a week I feel the need to, since not only I like to read book, but I like to know more about them, write and read opinions and find new books.
    I am a bit behind on my challenge, since I spent an month or so without reading, cause of an exam, but still, I hope I can do it till the end of the year.
    One think I appreciate too is to see how my opinion can change from the first moment I read a book to the moment I reread him months or years later.


  3. Definitely adding you.
    I had the same predicament about finding books to read. I'd pick up something that seemed interesting and just hated it. One of the biggest failures for me lately was The Historian. A lot of people liked it, apparently, but I thought it was cliche, predictable and boring.

    My favorite book so far is Dark Angels by Karleen Koen. Hella good if you like historical anything!

    1. So glad it's not just me that didn't like the Historian. Just felt like a beautifully written European travelogue.

      I also love Goodreads, great for tracking my annual reading habits. If you like books about Lucifer, you could try I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan which is about the devil having a holiday in a human body - and perhaps not the body he'd have chosen!

  4. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog! I will check out GoodReads for sure. I always have my nose in a book, and am an English major myself, although I emphasized in creative writing. :-)

  5. I AM starting to run out of "Victorian governess" titles to read. I should try this. :) Thanks!

  6. I am an utter and complete Goodreads junkie. I love it. I've actually made friends through it by emailing people who had particularly awesome book lists. Also, it has one of the best smartphone apps I've ever seen: If you have a smartphone, you can scan book barcodes and enter them directly into your Goodreads account.

  7. My partner and I have a bunch of books and while I haven't read many and want to, I do keep a document saved to my hard drive that lists books I want to read. I cross them off as I go, and add more when I feel like it.
    The books are divided between medical oddities, occultism, transgressive fiction, and horror, probably....and a lot of "picture books" too, just images...and actual children's books. As an illustrator I keep them around for inspiration, and nostalgia, too.
    I also really dig graphic novels and have a separate shelf just for them. I tend to try to find the standalones instead of series ones, since graphic novels and comics are expensive. I also tend to read those as soon as I get them, so I rarely have to list them anywhere.

  8. Oh, I absolutely love Goodreads. I go on there at least once a day and have also installed their app onto my phone. Their app is also fantastic. It's incredibly easy to use :3 I just love that this makes it so much easier to find books that I'll (probably) enjoy ^^ And lots of them too!

  9. Definitely adding you on Goodreads! It's one of my all time favorite sites. I don't think I would have ever found half of the books that I have read without it.