Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wherein I go all OCD again

I'm not much of a journaler, despite being a writer. I think it all stems back from the way my sister's Dear Diary lock was so easily pickable. Even then I realized, Huh. If I can do this to HERS, then she can do this to MINE.

Still, I've always admired readers who keep journals about what they read when, along with little comments about the book. Plus, it would be very helpful whenever I wanted to read a book again or recommend it to someone. Like, for instance, the novel PLAINSONG by Kent Haruf. I read it several years ago, loved it, and wanted to recommend it. But I couldn't.

Why? I couldn't remember the title, except that it had "song" in it. Or the author, except that it was a German sounding name. All I could remember was that it was about two old ranchers who take in a pregnant teenager, and two brothers whose mom has left them.

Ever tried to google that? The worst thing was, I'd forgotten this title before, and then remembered it, looked it up and realized the book was an award-winner. I told myself I wouldn't forget it ... and then I did.

So that's why I decided to resuscitate my Goodreads account. You can see, way down there in the corner, the widget that shows the books I've read. In an ideal world, that would reflect the books I've just FINISHED reading, but alas, if you click on it, you'll think I've been glomming Dick Francis.

I'm trying to remember my favorite books and authors and put them all in there ... so that's the reason I'm heavy on the Dick Francis.

The best thing about Goodreads is the connection you get with other people who feel EXACTLY the same way about a book as you do. Isn't that weird? How you can meet a total stranger who's reading a book you love, and you find out that SHE loves the book, too, and it's almost an instant connection?

The problem is, of course, that the people I'm following read the most interesting sounding stuff. Tack them onto the end of my long, long To Be Read pile, and the TBR is about to fall over. And then there is that obsessive adding of ALL the books I've ever read.

It is quite a lovely feeling of closure to be able, once you've finished reading a book, to click "read" on your Goodreads account and pass judgment with stars -- 1? no, 2? Oh, you know you liked it -- go for three!

Why, yes, I do know that I'm (just a touch) OCD!


Paul C said...

Thanks for this information about Goodreads. It sounds like a useful place to record and chronicle your impressions. I find similar frustrations with my movie viewing. I quickly forget some vital details of great films.

KLM said...

What bothers me is not just the fear of being crushed by a huge, groaning TBR pile that topples over on me in the night, but also the fear of someone asking, "Oh, have you read X (which is something successful that is obviously within the genre in which you WRITE)?" and then having to answer, "Ummm. Not yet." Caught on the horns of a dilemma, we are.

Cynthia Reese said...

Paul C, it is nice ... haven't really taken advantage of the review/notes section yet, but I like the idea of knowing I can log in all my reading. Plus, it's very easy!

KLM, I know ... a lot of times when I'm writing, I purposefully WON'T read anything in my genre b/c I don't want to be influenced. That's when I read mysteries or biographies or non-fiction.

Michele Emrath said...

Authors journal their writing? Wow, that would be a lot of work! But, in a way, that's what we're doing by blogging.

I know what you mean about that satisfying "click." I am addicted to it on Shelfari! But I need to be more active on Goodreads. However, I just found out I have two accounts there! I don't know how that happened.


Tawna Fenske said...

I keep meaning to check out Goodreads, so I'll have to go look for it. Of course, my TBR pile is currently teetering at dangerous heights on top of the dog's kennel (don't ask) so I should probably catch up on that before I go out looking for more books!


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I am a Goodreads convert, precisely because of that TBR list. But I hadn't thought of the "read" list as similarly helpful. Awesome!

I've yet to really dive into the discussions on Goodreads ... that's on my ToDo list (separate from the TBR list). Now I need a "To Create More Time" list. I'd get on that right away!

Cynthia Reese said...

Michele, that click is SO addictive!

Tawna, reader that you are, you'd love Goodreads!

Susan, you ARE going to share the tips on that "to create more time" list, right?

Sara Best said...

I LOVE Goodreads if only to help me remember all the books that I hear about on the radio or read about on a blog that I want to pick up.

I used to live in a mess of tiny scraps of paper with the names of books and authors scrawled on them that I could never find again when it was time to head to the bookstore or library.

Now, whenever I hear about a book I want to try, I head over to Goodreads and stick it in my ToRead. Then, on a day like today when I need a new book, I look over my list and I go out and buy BETWEEN, GEORGIA by Joshilyn Jackson because it's on my To Read list and I never would have rememberd that otherwise.

Kelly Breakey said...

I am checking out Goodreads tonight. I will let you know what I think.

Anonymous said...

Last summer I opened a Goodreads account. At first I spent too much time on it trying to remember every single book I've read. It was impossible. But I do add books as I remember them. I don't want to forget books, especially the ones that sparked my imagination the most.

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh my gosh I just discovered Good reads last month and I know exactly what you mean! I have to scour my memory for books I've read so my TBR list doesn't get longer than my read list. How do you connect with other readers? Via a book's reviews? Still figuring it all out. Wasted a whole day with "add your favorite quotes" thingie too.

Oh, btw, thanks for reminding me about Plainsong! Read that one too and forgot about it, (bad me, that was a really good book! Must be the fault of the plain title :)

Anonymous said...

I can very much sympathize! I'm rather OCD about what I read, too, and Goodreads is a great site. I'm always hesitant on rating the books, though, especially if I can't honestly give them a 4 or a 5. But I love just remember which books I've read!