(… and the goodreads Reading Challenge 2015)
I probably should have taken more time writing this, I have been thinking about it for a while. But here are my thoughts, unfiltered.
While goodreads is celebrating 50 million (can you even begin to imagine?!) reviews, I am celebrating my 100th (well, by the time I’m posting this, my 102nd) review on that page. And in just over a year. I joined on 22nd March 2015, thinking it might be fun to start on online collection of the books I’ve read and own – I’ve been doing it with my music for years now, after all (thanks last.fm!)
I wasn’t sure if it would be my thing. After all, I hadn’t been reading seriously since I was sixteen – that was quite a while ago – when I discovered the lands of fanfiction and it was almost all that I read (and wrote). I was, mostly, one of the people who left reviews after reading a story, so I got a bit of practice there. I’m not even sure I intended on writing reviews – but once I had discovered every aspect of the page, I had to do that, too.
It’s been crazy, especially for the first few months, since I was reading so much and discovering so many things (giveaways!), while I should have been writing my master’s thesis and looking for a job for my after-student-life. But I was totally immersed in the world of books. (I did find myself a wonderful part-time job, which is soon turning into a full-time position.)
Okay, admission time, my thesis was about three of the books I read in that time: Mary Barton and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. And yes, I am quite aware that most of these books don’t have an online review. Gotta be honest. I just couldn’t be bothered with them after spending over a year writing a thesis on them.
Where was I?
Oh right, discovering goodreads.
Almost immediately after joining, I forgot about the books on my shelf and on my Kindle and went to reading all the thousands (a few dozen) of wonderful recommendations the page offered. After reading, I loved considering how many stars they were worth, but it turned out to be such a complicated process for my head that I had to start writing down the pros and cons for this and that many stars. Thus, review-writing was created.
I will also admit that I didn’t know exactly what to write. So, I tried different things over the years. Honest to God. Full of spoilers. Analysing, the way I learned to do it at university. General opinion. Very long and detailed. Short and to the point. Personal. Objective.
But that wasn’t only because I didn’t know how to do it. I’m still changing my style (haha, yea, as if I have a style, yet) depending on book. And I am having so much fun doing it, even if it takes a few days, weeks, months until I get around to actually writing the review. But that’s what I have goodreads status updates for and, more recently, my book journals full of thoughts and quotes I jot down while reading the book.
There is one very wonderful thing that came with writing goodreads reviews. Blogging reviews. It’s been on my mind for a while, to have a review blog. Once, I even started one, but it didn’t last very long. It wasn’t only books, but films, series, comparisons between adaptations as well. But with goodreads I thought, why not try that again, you’re writing the reviews for that page anyways. And it is amazing, because there are so many wonderful bloggers and blogs and blog entries out there, being a book blogger is having just as much fun reading them as it is writing them. Plus, also a very good – and very expensive – way of finding new books. I just finished being a student. I don’t have any money!
The best and worst discovery on goodreads, however, wasn’t the recs or the need to write reviews, it was the Reading Challenge. I can get very competitive about this sort of thing. Because a “You’re this and that many books behind” and a “You’re right on track” (I honestly don’t know if it actually says that) won’t do for me. It needs to be a very straightforward “this and that many books ahead of schedule”. It had to say that from the beginning. And the number has to keep rising instead of decreasing. I have to soooooo supersede my goal.
And I did.
I don’t remember what my original goal was for number of books to read in 2015. Probably something like two per months, with my lack of recent experience. I changed that number at least three times, until it was at 75. I read 92 books overall – I know it doesn’t say that anymore but that’s only because I reread The Mortal Instruments this year and with changing the read-date, the number of the reading year 2015 corrected itself. (Hear me roar!)
So, yes, 92 books in one year. I don’t think I’ve ever read that much, not even when I lived off reading in elementary school. I’m proud, though. Even though my competitive side knows that other people can do better… I might try to do better than last year, and so far it’s looking good. (Until that full-time position.)
That year of goodreads has been so good to me.
I don’t know if anyone is reading this, but I’d love to hear your experiences with one or all of these points!