If twitter is speed-dating for hermits ( http: //blog.nlbhorton.com/?p=433 ), then Goodreads ( http: //www.goodreads.com/ ) is a slowly developed romance. I don’t participate as often as I’d like or should, but every time I read a review on Goodreads, or articulate what I think about something I’ve read, I appreciate the site more.
For one thing, the interaction is lengthy enough so I get a sense of other participants. Everyone is bound by a love of books, so the demographic is consistent with my interests (unlike, say, twitter, where pretty crass individuals doing really strange things believe the world needs to know). Recommendations from a book-loving congregation enable me to target my reading better—there are only so many hours in a day!—and I have quickly learned whose referrals to trust.
Goodreads also has a palpable sense of community, and the group of which I’m a member (Boomer Lit) actively promotes authors’ writing to those of us who remember the Vietnam war while occasionally wearing Birkenstocks with socks. (I confess I do, but only in the privacy of my office.)
I believe Goodreads is a valuable tool in the author’s tool box. It provides a context in which to see what others are reading—and why. It enables the author to develop a community as he or she prepares to release a book, building interest among people who genuinely might buy the work. And it’s an educated, thoughtful stopover, a Sherlockian bolthole in the craziness of the world-wide web.
Take a look, and I’d love your thoughts about what you find. Are there other pockets of literary civilization you enjoy while surfing the net? Or places you believe valuable to an aspiring or established author? I’m interested. Really I am.