If you love books the way I do, you probably have book titles that friends recommended to you typed into cryptic notes on your phone or written on scraps of paper you put in your pocket, forget about, and find again in shreds after doing the laundry. When I make the effort track down a book, though, usually I love it, and I buy or borrow all the author's works. Then I wonder how many other great recommendations I've forgotten. Which is too bad because I depend on suggestions from others to sort through all the wonderful novels out there. I find television shows the same way, which is how I became a steady viewer of Mad Men, The Killing, and, more recently, The Flash.
A couple years ago, a friend from a book group sent me the perfect solution to my book problem. (Thanks, Andrea!) She invited me to join Goodreads.com.
What's On Your Friends' Shelves?
One of my favorite things about Goodreads is I can check out what other people have put on their shelves when I am trying to decide what to read next. I also created separate shelves for types of books I've read or want to read, including Wiscon 2014, which lists books recommended at the conference panels I attended; mystery-and-private-eye, a genre I love, so these are books I've already read and reviewed; and books discussing Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Most of the Buffy books are on my actual shelves, too. I created the virtual shelf to make it easier for other Buffy fans to find them.
Detailed Info On Likes And Dislikes
I find Goodreads reviewers tend to be more specific than readers on other sites about what works and doesn't for them. Once toward the beginning of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (the sort of sequel to The Shining), I felt less interested than I'd expected. I didn't like the main character much, and I wasn't sure I'd finish given the many hours I was working at the time. But enough people on Goodreads said they'd felt the same at the start but ended liking the book that I continued. It still isn't my favorite Stephen King novel–that's The Dead Zone–but it was worth finishing Doctor Sleep. I've also occasionally bought a book based on a negative Goodreads review because I figured I'd like exactly what the reviewer did not about the novel.
Free Autographed Books
Periodically, publishers and authors offer giveaways of books on Goodreads, often autographed ones. (If you list a book on your To Read shelf, sometimes Goodreads will email to let you know a giveaway is happening.) Right now, as part of preparing to publish Book 3 in my Awakening series, I'm offering 10 autographed trade paperback editions of The Unbelievers (The Awakening, Book 2) to readers in the U.S.
For a chance to win, sign up here by February 13, 2016.
Enter today, as the giveaway is only open until February 13, 2016. Watch this space for announcements regarding Book 3 of 4 in The Awakening series, The Conflagration, and/or connect with me on Goodreads. Happy reading!