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.
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.