Barbara Vey -- January 3rd, 2013


I joined Goodreads several years ago with good intentions.  I wanted to keep an accurate record of all the books I read.  I really didn’t want to review them and I hate assigning stars \because really, it’s just my opinion of what I like.  I’ve learned over the years that my likes and yours may not be the same.  And I really like their tagline.



Well, I never did keep up with it although I now find myself with hundreds of “friends” on the site.  So, my new year’s resolution is to keep track of the books I read.  Write a little about them and how I, personally, liked them.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t read them because it may not have been my cup of tea, but take what I say with a grain of salt.  Go today and see what I’m reading now.


But, help me out here, do you follow Goodreads?  Are you a member?  Do you write reviews? Or just keep track of what you read?  Do you take recommendations from others?

Bottom Line:  Does this count as an official new year’s resolution?

38 thoughts on “Goodreads

  1. Berinn Rae

    Good question, Barb. I’m on Goodreads and use it to track what I read. But I removed most of my reviews after reading so much hoopla of writer/reviewer conflict of interest dealio (and yes, I see both sides of the argument). I love seeing recommendations on what to read next, so I look forward to seeing what you’re reading!

  2. Michelle Kaye

    I’m on GoodReads, but due to the sheer number of books that I can get through its a lot of effort to add my books to the list. So no, I’m not up-to-date at all.

  3. joysann

    I, too, joined Goodreads (probably on your suggestion) a few years ago, but didn’t get into it. I keep track of my books on two different sites, one with public access and one I keep private, so I log them twice already. And after so many years, back-tracking to fill it in would be impossible. But that doesn’t mean I won’t go in to see what you or others are reading. I think it’s a good plan for you. Best Wishes!

  4. Tracey Lyons

    I joined Goodreads a few years back. I’m not sure why. As an author I thought it would be another way to have a presence, as a reader I thought it would be fun to see what everyone is reading. The bottom line, though, I rarely used it. So this year I added it to my favorites and intend to make an effort to record what I read and actually look at what others are reading!

  5. Mary

    I joined Goodreads over 5 years ago. At the very least I rate the books I’ve read. I like being able to keep track of my reading as well as the books I want to read. It’s very user friendly.

  6. Barbara Vey Post author

    Well, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who fell off the wagon. Although, with the sheer number of people on there, it must have something going for it. I’m really going to try this year. Wish me luck!

  7. Tracy

    I joined goodreads, but somehow couldn’t quite make it work the way I wanted. Instead, I have an app on Facebook called I’m Reading. Very simple and easy to use. The only problem is the app does not work with my iPhone, so I have to log in on my computer. No reviews, and very little ranking from me. Just a good way to keep track of what I’ve read.

  8. Kirsten

    I’ve been on Goodreads since the beginning and I love it. I use it all the time for tracking what I’ve read, what I own, what I want to read and for finding new books and new authors. And since they added the iPhone app, it’s awesome when I’m out and about and can use the app to add books to my lists (now with the new bar code scanner, it’s so easy), and if I’m at, say the library or a used book store, I can easily check to see if they have something I’m looking for. I don’t do public reviews, but my friends and I do add short reviews and I use those to add new possibilities to my list.

  9. Christine Edwards

    Hi there. I joined Goodreads last year and love the tool. I enjoy taking a moment to log what I’ve just finished reading and then checking my “want to read” list to figure out what I’m picking up next. As an aspiring fiction author, the site also helps me even out my fiction and nonfiction reading, so that I’m not too heavily immersed in one or the other. My favorite feature on the site is the reading goal and I was thrilled to find that I surpassed it this year.

  10. Lance

    If you like the idea of Goodreads but aren’t sure it’s right for you, you might check out With expert recommendations and reviews (in addition to user reviews and book clubs), it’s more of a holistic place for passionate readers to discover new books and create a sort of “imprint” of what they love. Caveat: Yes, I work there. Peace to all …

  11. Jennifer

    I joined Goodreads a few years ago but never took advantage of it. My resolution for this year is to use it to keep track of my books in a serious way ;) I’ve deleted all of my previous info and am starting with a clean slate in 2013.

  12. Lori

    i love it. i’ve posted reviews and gotten thanks from authors so i try to stay positive and not review anything i was really disappointed in. since i read hundreds of books i can’t review them all but this beats tracking them on paper.

  13. Wendy Clements

    I’ve been using Goodreads for a few years now, mostly because I have a terrible time remembering whether or not I’ve read something and just like to have them filed away somewhere. I am thinking that this year I would like to try to at least do a brief review of the books I’ve read, as Mary said she’d try to do. I’m planning on making a list of my favorite books of 2012 to post on my blog, and Goodreads will be invaluable with that. I like the iPhone app, too. I’m a self-published author (only one title that could use a revision, but am working on the sequel which will hopefully be better and make more sense), but the way I try to review is to be objective as I can, and that’s hard for me because sometimes it’s hard for me to pinpoint the exact reason I liked the book. It’s difficult to remember that if I get very excited about a book or truly don’t like it (I usually don’t finish those anyway). Anyway, I guess the final reason I can think of at the moment that I like it is that with my writing and endless editing, it actually makes me feel I’ve accomplished something (e.g. reading the number of books I said I was at the beginning of the year. Close call this year. Cutting number to 100 this year). I will definitely check out–I have heard of it but I don’t think I’ve been there.

  14. Joan Schulhafer

    Barbara, I’ve been on GoodReads quite awhile but have not done a good job of listing my books lately. Like you, I’ve recently made a commitment to update. BTW, will we be seeing lots of Florida set books and authors showing up on your list over the next month?

  15. Stephanie Scott

    I love Goodreads! I don’t use it as much for social interaction, although I do regularly take a peek at what people on my friends list are reading. And I belong to a book club group on the site which hosts reading challenges that are kind of fun. I’ve read a few books I might not have because of the club.

    I am careful with my reviews too since I network with so many authors. Even if I don’t like a book I write a review that points out all the strengths and any bias I might have (not a genre I regularly read etc). I cringe at the reviews that gleefully bash a book. Even if it might read as funny initially, it’s like gossip–only funny if you’re not the target being laughed at. I’ve seen a lot of mean stuff go down on Goodreads, and sadly some good reviewers got targeted by a few bad apples. I think it’s still worth investing in, if you only remember that the internet lasts forever. What you post is there and never really goes away, even if you delete it. Scary.

  16. Shari Anton

    I’ve been using Goodreads for about 3 years to keep track of what I read. I don’t rate books because I figure that the book I couldn’t finish is someone else’s favorite book of the year. As others have mentioned, having the app on my phone (Android) is sooooo convenient when I need to know whether or not I’ve already read a certain book, or if it’s in my TBR pile. It’s saved me from double purchases several times.

  17. Laurie Gold

    I originally joined Goodreads for the same reason you did; to have an online database of all my reading. Which means I tend to use it just for that, although I do write reviews, but generally only for digital ARCs I receive via Netgalley or Edelweiss. I would love to do more reviews, but as I’m a PW reviewer and H&H blogger, I’m more limited, which means my Goodreads info is less useful to other readers than it would be without those limitations. I do, though, try and include ratings whenever possible.

    I have a major issue with “friending” at social networking sites. For Goodreads I actually include a “Do I know you?” question so that I can try and limit up front those I friend. It’s difficult when you have an online presence to limit your friends to people you actually or virtually know so that you don’t end up with endless updates to wade through in order to read those that actually matter. This is a problem on Goodreads and Facebook. I’d love to know how other people handle this.

  18. Julie Isgrigg

    I love me some GoodReads — especially the To-Read shelf.

    But I think you shouldn’t shy away from rating books. Here’s where I soap box about an observation of mine. I grow tired of other GoodReads users treating the ratings as a judgment of literary worth. From the way GoodReads defines their little stars, they aren’t intended to make a qualitative judgment about the books. They reflect your liking of the book. Look closer at the labels that pop up when you hover over the stars and you’ll find this explanation:
    * Didn’t Like It
    ** It Was Okay
    *** Liked It
    **** Really Liked It
    ***** It Was Amazing

    Those are ratings of a different color.

    That’s why I can feel perfectly comfortable giving 5 stars to a book that’s just good fun (even though its literary merits may be doubtful) and turn around and give 5 stars to an undisputed literary classic. I can and do like both kinds of books.

    So, go ahead and give your star ratings, especially if you are going to write a little bit about each book. Agreeing and disagreeing about books is all part of the fun of reading.

    1. Barbara Vey Post author

      Thanks, I took your advice. A 2 star rating to me was ok, but I probably won’t read it again. It wasn’t bad. I think most of what I read is just ok, glad I read it, but time to move on to the next book. Great explanation.

  19. Raelene

    I use Goodreads to keep a list of the books I’ve read. I do give ratings, but don’t write reviews–just don’t have time. (I wish the rating was 1 to 10 instead of 1 to 5. So many books are a 3.5 for me, which leaves me struggling whether to mark 3 or 4.) I don’t participate in any of the social functions or look to see what others are reading. But I regularly check Goodreads for reviews of books I am considering, and I trust the reviews there far more than the ones on Amazon or any seller site.

  20. Caroline

    I joined Goodreads a few years ago, and almost immediately learned that once you’ve read a book, you can’t list it as read again. Since I re-read a lot, that meant the site didn’t work for me as a way of tracking what I read, so I use a simple Google spreadsheet to keep track of that instead. I still belong to Goodreads, but I haven’t found the time to play around there much. Maybe one day, when I win the lottery, and don’t have to spend so much time working!

  21. Val

    I joined GoodReads several month ago under the impression that it was an important tool for networking with authors, editors and people in the publishing industry. (I read on an author’s blog, it was a must-have as part of one’s social platform, especially for writers.) I feel I was mislead.

    I agree, it’s a good tool for tracking what one has read and for writing reviews. I don’t write reviews because my opinion shouldn’t change whether you read the book or not.

    As far as their star rating, I never give anything less than 3 stars. I figure if the book was published, it must have merit and if I didn’t connect with the book, it’s not the author’s fault.

  22. Felicity

    I keep track of what I read and include a rating, too, but not on Goodreads. Preferences are so individualized. I mainly keep track so that can recall which authors I like and which were not my thang, especially when I am trying on someone new. And I certainly could not pretend to be any kind of critic…

  23. Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn

    I’ve been on Goodreads for several years now, and I try to keep up with my “bookshelf”, but the task is daunting . I’m sure mine isn’t accurate. The feature I like is the annual reading challenge. I find myself writing much, much more than I’m reading and believe there should be more of a balance. So I use the Reading Challenge as a way to remind myself that I need to read more books.

  24. Susan Carlisle

    I’ve been a member for a number of years and put books I’ve read on but not as I should. I’m going to ‘do as Barbara does’ and start listing them. I would be nice to keep up with how many I read in a year. I was asked that question recently and Goodreads would give me a way to track that.

  25. Stephanie

    I’ve used goodreads for years and I’m on the site every day. 99% of the time I’ll write a review. I can’t stand when people only give stars and not the reasons they gave that rating because as mentioned, every reader is different and has different reasons for liking a book. PLEASE write a few words so we can understand the rating!

  26. Kathy Davie

    I joined Goodreads a few years ago and have practically made it my homepage on my browser! I’m passionate about tracking my books and posting reviews. And I adore being able to interact with other readers as well as have a reliable source for series chronology!

  27. Lisa V.

    Barbara, I am a member of Goodreads. I too really had no desire to post reviews but would offer my opinion by way of star rating. I definitely would and have taken in consideration others opinion of a book if I was uncertain. Overall a fan of Goodreads. I think your reviews would be valuable to others.

  28. George Wickus

    Do you know how I avoid duplicate iCal alerts? (Apple support does not, so far…) I think b/c of iCloud calendar sharing in between my husband and that i, I’m getting two alerts for every event on the iMac and on the iPhone. anything is up to date and i have got a new MacBook Pro and the new iPhone 4s.

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