Monday, January 9, 2012

If you haven't noticed, in nearly every post, I mention a website called Goodreads, whether it be winning free books or getting the synopses and rating from this website. I tell everyone I know who loves books that this is the best website and if you aren't already a member, I'm going to tell you more about this website that has amplified my love of reading.

This is one of my favorite parts of this website. Although there are so many people on the website, and so many books to enter to win, you still manage to win once in awhile. Since I became a member at the beginning of November, I've entered 270 giveaways and won three books; One Pink Line, 9 Miracles, and the latest is Mr. Churchill's Secretary. I don't discriminate much when I enter, but I have heard of people that limit themselves to specific genre's so they win less often. Since I like to push my boundaries, I'll try anything, and I'll enter a lot of different giveaways. 9 Miracles was not the type of story that I would ordinarily read, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. In my opinion, its free for you and while it's not required to review, it is recommended.

When you register for your account you have 3 bookshelves; read, to read, and currently reading. To help with sorting the 700 books I've read, I created new bookshelves including, young adult, dystopian, memoirs, historical fiction, among others. While this feature isn't that big, for someone with hundreds, nearly thousands of books, it makes it easy to sift through them and say "Yep, these are my favorites," or "Oh you want a recommendation for a historical fiction? Let me look through and see if I can find any" rather than going through pages and pages and pages of books.

This is also another fun part to the site because it gets you interacting with other people. I happen to be in about 7 groups that range from Book Buying Addicts Anonymous to Goodreads Feedback to Never Too Young for Young Adult. Many of these groups are also books clubs and discuss a book of the month. I'm not glued to the discussion groups but I can see how you can be dragged into all the discussions. I personally like reading the books of the month although I only just started this month, it helps push me to read more and discuss what it is that I'm reading. These groups are also a great source of information when it comes to company rumors and tech support.

Reading Challenge

This too is a great motivator as far as pushing me to read more. As you can see, Ive set myself to the challenge of reading 150 books in the next year. So far I've read 5 books, and there is a message next to my bar stating "Great work, you're 2 books (1%) ahead" making me feel great about how much I'm reading. It also tells you when you've fallen behind and how many books you need to get back on pace. It also tells you when you've surpassed your goal.

I don't use this feature all that much lately because I have too many books in my possession and on my list to read that I try not to look at my recommendations. What this page does is say "You like these types of books, try these" and not only that but it will recommend books based on the different shelves that you've categorized. It's not the most accurate but it is just going based on the types of books and content, but there are plenty of good books that you can find from it because it doesn't just recommend bestsellers and popular authors but it recommends some of the obscure books and authors.

Choice Awards
Another fun part that is more interactive is the Goodreads Choice Awards. This past year, the three rounds of voting started October 31 and ended on November 30. The first round started with 15 selections with the ability to "write in" nominations, the second round selected 5 of those write ins to becomes nominees and the final round narrowed the nominees to 10. The best part about the Choice Awards was because not only did it also provide great recommendations but it also shows you what other people are reading. Several of the books on my "To-Read" list came from the choice awards.

Final Thoughts
This website has a lot to offer, and it has personally become my new facebook. I have good friends on this site and I continue to make friends on it without having to share all of my information. With the 2012 Challenge and group challenges, I am finding new books and more exciting ways to engage myself in reading.

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