Why I’m Giving Up On Goodreads

Time to blow off the dust on this thing! It’s been a very busy summer, but hopefully I will be able to have more frequent posting from here on out. I plan on actually creating a schedule (it remains to be seen how well I’ll actually stick to it). But you have to start somewhere, and right now, the best way to do that is an announcement!

So here it is: I’m giving up on Goodreads.

I’m sure the four people following me there will be crushed, but honestly, it’s time for me.

I never use the site to begin with, and it’s been nothing but a source of endless emails about the different groups I half-heartedly joined. And coupled with Goodreads’ latest decision to arbitrarily delete people’s shelves without notice until after the deletions, I’m not really happy with their actions as a venue.

However my biggest issue with Goodreads isn’t with the deletion spree or the fact that it seems to be a hive of scum and villainy if you delve too far.

My biggest issue is that honestly, I hate the notion of tracking my books in the way Goodreads wants me to.

If I actually went through that site and listed and rated every book I’ve ever read, I would be there for days. At this point in my life, I’ve been reading for at least fifteen years, and that’s not counting picture books. Books have been my primary form of entertainment ever since I can remember, and even though I now have a laptop and my Netflix account, that honestly hasn’t changed. If anything, the number of books I read has increased, now that I have a Kindle app (which is a huge problem, since I impulse-buy books the way some people impulse-buy shoes or action figures). I can’t possibly keep track of them all; my memory is good, but it isn’t so good that I can recall every book and what I thought about it.

On that note, I don’t think I need to keep track of every book I’ve read. Sure, it might be nice to set goals and see progress, but when it comes to reading, I’m not doing it to show off how learned I am or set goals. I read because I love to read and because it’s one of the most painless ways to learn about new people and new things. It’s one of the best ways to spark imagination without having to pay for a trip to an exotic location or cough up for a tour. There’s all kinds of avenues that open when you read books. The fact that I’ve read books is not nearly important to me as what I get from the reading.

As for love of reading, I read plenty of books because they’re just so much fun to spend time with, even if they aren’t necessarily good. Do I really need to track down every single Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh mystery I read to recall how much fun I had reading them and trying to guess who the killer was? Of course not. There are plenty of books that I read that I don’t talk about on the blog, because there’s just no reason for me to write them up. I read plenty of books that make me smile and absorb my attention entirely without their necessarily being worthy of a writeup. On Goodreads, there seems to be a relentless mentality to keep track of everything, use shelves, and generally spend more time online than you spend with the books.

On page 22: “The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!”

If I want to give updates on what I’m reading, I can use Twitter, and if I want to talk about the books I’ve read, I can use this blog. And frankly, I like talking about books on this blog more than I do on a site that’s meant for reviews. Oftentimes my reviews are essays unto themselves, and while I try to hit the aspects of a good book review, I try to be as upfront with my own personal biases and likes as possible. Besides, when I use my blog, it makes me think about the posts I’m making whether I really need to share my reactions to the latest mystery novel I read on the train. There are some books that I read that I think are worth talking about, and one of the things that I’ve loved best about blogging is that it’s forced me to think about what those might be.

On Goodreads, I felt like I was being bombarded by the trappings of reading, to the point of complete distraction. And honestly, I have enough distractions between looking for work and impending senior year of college. I don’t need yet another, especially when it something that sucks the joy out of something I love as passionately as I do reading.


11 thoughts on “Why I’m Giving Up On Goodreads

  1. Saying the words “giving up on Goodreads” is like swearing in front of your mother. It should only be done if she’s really pissing you off.

    As with every Internet forum place, it ain’t for everyone. I spend most of my time posting in one particular group, with the occasional smart-arsed remark made elsewhere. And on your blog you can do whatever you want without getting told off AND you can just delete anyone who moans too loudly.


    How’s the bike?

    Um, would now be a good time to ask if you would be interested in reading and reviewing my latest book? It’s a story set in the Warsaw Ghetto and it covers what life was like for the inhabitants, some of the differences between them, and also the Ghetto Uprising.

    I can actually send you a paperback copy this time around, it’s been proofread to death, and I’d be very interested to read one of your in-depth analyses on it (even if there is a risk it will make me cry). Plus you look awesome in a beret and beret-wearers make excellent readers.

    It’s called Saying Goodbye to Warsaw and the cover image and blurb are on the front page of my site.

    PS – only page 22? You best get a move on. And what word beginning with ‘C’ is on that picture/poster in the background?

    • There is no possible way you could have known this, but I frequently curse in front of my mother when I’m angry. It’s never been at her, though 🙂 And between the fact that I get endless emails and that it’s not really something I’m heavily invested- the fact they’ve begun deleting things at random was enough to get me to make the jump.

      I don’t think I’ve ever had to delete anyone, though I wouldn’t mind doing it if they became too egregiously nasty. Hopefully I won’t ever have to, but there’s no way of knowing.

      Bike is now functional with new tires. It’s going to be helpful when classes start, given my tendency to getting up off till the last possible minute.

      And oh my gosh, I would love to read that. It sounds amazing. A paperback would be awesome, but I’d hate for you to have to pay the shipping for that, I imagine the rates would be absurd. If an ebook would be easier, I can definitely do that. And I swear I do not try for tears in crafting my analyses! Have I been causing them unintentionally?

      To your P.S. I’ve already read Dracula a couple times, I have no need to ‘get a move on.’ 😛 And you read the poster right- it’s a Johnny Cash one. This is what it looks like, but if you’re at work, be warned he’s throwing the finger: http://www.123posters.com/images/music/m-johnnycash2.jpg

      • Awesome news about the bike and awesome news about the book. Postage isn’t actually as big an issue as you think – it’s a print on demand system that I use, and for peeps in the US I can get them printed in the US and posted out for not much at all. Email me your address – mcargill79@gmail.com

        There haven’t been any reviews that made me cry yet, but it’s impossible for me to be 100% rational about them! I’ve had mild criticism in 5-star reviews that stung a bit, whilst some 1-star reviews have made me roar with laughter.

        And Johnny Cash is a naughty boy.

  2. I’m not surprised your giving up on Goodreads, one of the things that bugs me about it at the moment is that it was taken over by Amazon (I can’t remember the final details) but since then I have been noticing much more in your face advertising, and also that books I have looked up are being linked to my amazon page sometimes as recommendations, so they’re trying to cash in as much as possible.
    I totally understand your gripes with Goodreads, for the longest time I didn’t like many of the features, such as the focus on numbers of books read and the amount of pages because I felt like they were making reading into a competition. It took me a very long time to get into using the site and the group emails also annoyed me (I think you can stop them though). But somewhere along the way my viewpoint shifted, and I now think of it as a virtual bookshelf and kind of enjoy looking through the books I have read without it feeling like a chore. Plus, I love snooping to see what others are reading. 😛

    Yay for blowing off the dust!

    • The Amazon thing made me worried, but it wasn’t an outright dealbreaker until the shelf deletion. I really do not like that they did it without any kind of warning and I find it really suspicious that they only deleted the shelves that pertained to authorial bad behavior. And ugh, I’m glad that I got out when I did, then. I like Amazon, but in its place- I don’t need it messing around with other things.

      And that’s awesome! You seem like you’re having a really good time on it, which is very cool. I just don’t have the attention span for it, I guess. I do like the idea of having a virtual bookshelf, but I don’t like building it. Which is entirely my fault. And oh gosh, that is one thing I would have loved, to be able to creep on others’ reading lists. I’m always that person who tries to see the covers of the books people are reading on buses and trains.

      Thank you! Let’s hope I can keep the dust from accumulating in future.

      • Haha, I’m a snooper of people’s books in public pace too, can’t help myself. 😛

        Yeah I am enjoying my time on it now, but as I say it has probably taken me just over a year to fully get into it, and it helps that I’m now following people who read books that I’m interested in too, which I didn’t do at the start. 🙂

        • It’s so tempting! Mostly I just want to see if they’re reading something I love or not and then I can judge their reading taste. As you can imagine, the e-reader phenomenon has been a bit of a stumbling block.

          And that’s the thing, that’s completely awesome! But right now I have so many other demands on my time and a lot of goals I’ve set for myself professionally (trying to get a freelance writing side career up and running, which means frequently swearing at online hosting entities and trying not to panic frequently) that I just don’t have the time or the energy. I do love that about Goodreads, though, in that you can find likeminded people and talk about the same awesome books together.

          • Totally agree with the ereaders! Sure takes the fun out of it! (One of the many reasons I dislike them, colour me fuddy duddy, I’m sticking with my physical books.)

            Don’t worry I’m not trying to convince you to stay on it. 😛 I actually think it’s a massive time such and a tool for procrastination too. Most of the people I follow on there are bloggers anyway so I could close my account tomorrow and not even miss it. Good luck with the career goals, sounds scarily grown up to me! I’m not ready to search from growed up jobs, uh-uh. Lol.

            • Right? There’s no way to examine an ereader without being really creepy or faking being thrown into their laps or something. A lot more trouble than it’s worth, really.

              I could easily see it being both those things. And frankly the books I have to read are distracting enough! (You’ll be happy to know I found The Art Forger and am getting a huge kick out of it 😀 )


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