Archive for category Apprenticeship Patterns

How Goodreads.com Changed My Reading Habits

“But you don’t have to take my word for it.”
–LeVar Burton

This past year I wound up coming across Goodreads and have been very impressed with what I have seen so far. Before finding Goodreads, I had been looking for a bookshelf system, as I have historically been bad about tracking what I read. While I can remember that I read something usually, I am bad about gauging when I have read it. It had been on my things to do, but it became reinforced after reading Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye.

Goodreads helps solve this problem for me. I can go mark books as being read, and then when I complete it, I move it to my “Read” shelf, and it sets the date of completion for me. I have also noticed that it helps me focus on finishing books more as well. I have the occasional habit of picking up and starting other books while I am reading one, and have even had three or four books going at the same time. These are not just reference style books as well, but different topics on different subjects some times. By me seeing a notice on my shelf that I am reading this, it helps to remind me to come back and finish reading the book, especially if it is a reference book, that is not setup that it is expected that it will read all of the way through.

The other reason that I had been looking for a good bookshelf tracking software, is that the way I was tracking books that I wanted to read, was by using a folder of bookmarks in my web-browser. Now I primarily use Chrome as my browser of choice, so I could see a list of books across a couple of different computers as I enabled the synchronization feature in Chrome, but to go through and find books was getting so that I could not even see the whole list when I was viewing it on my 30″ monitor. Goodreads helped to give me a good way to manage that list. They even have an iPhone app, so I can manage my “To-Read” shelf even when I am away from the computer.

The other feature I am loving about it that helps make it amazing in my book is the social aspect of it. I can add people I know as friends, and I can see their updates in a news stream. I have it setup so that I can see when one of my Goodreads friends adds a book as something they want to read, what progress they are making, and when they rate books. This has lead me to find a whole number of books that I likely would not have encountered normally.

The social aspect has a secondary benefit in that I can start to find out how my friends tastes in books correlates to mine. Not only can I see their ratings show in my news feed, so I can start to notice if our interest in topics align, but I can also browse their bookshelves and look at their history of books they have marked as reading, and go dig for new book ideas to add to my “To-Read” list. Goodreads aslo has a feature that lets me run a comparison of our tastes, and see how much of our lists overlap, and how we rank within that list.

I highly recommend this to anybody looking for a good bookshelf tracking site, as I am sure I have only scratched the surface of the features they provide, but am loving it and recommending it to anybody when they mention they are reading a book. If you are interested in checking out my profile or following me on Goodreads, my profile can be found at: http://www.goodreads.com/stevenproctor.

Happy Reading, and

“I’ll see you next time.”
–LeVar Burton

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