Goodreads: not so good anymore

Here’s a hot take for you…2017 is apparently going down as the year where everything you once loved revealed itself as trash. Somewhat related: I’ve been kind of “Marie Kondo-ing” my social media applications. Goodreads may be the next to go because it’s no longer bringing me joy.

There was a time, not very long ago, when I couldn’t even imagine my reading life without Goodreads. Now I’m basically like: “Meh.” Or, worse, sometimes I think: “Ugh. I have to go update Goodreads.”

I think Goodreads sort of lost the plot. I don’t go there for book reviews anymore because their book reviews are, for the most part, easily-gamed trash. Their website design feels clunky and badly in need of an overhaul. And their Android app is even worse. I finally just deleted it off my phone in frustration. The emails they send (with the one exception being their daily deals) are annoying (“You just finished a book. What are you going to read next?”). Plus most of their integrations with Kindle annoying, not helpful (ex: I really don’t want you to automatically add that book to my currently-reading shelf just because I opened it on my Kindle, thanks).

So what have I found myself doing this year instead of using Goodreads? I’m so glad you asked.

For book recommendations, I’ve been heavily leaning on a few podcasts I love (Reading the End, Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Galactic Suburbia), the mailing list, the BookRiot SFF Yeah mailing list, and a handful of “BookTubers” who appear to have similar book tastes to me (Little Book Owl, Thoughts on Tomes).

I’ve found other ways, better and easier ways, to track my reading. In parallel to tracking my reading on Goodreads, I started using a spreadsheet. I started with the one provided in this Book Riot post, then personalized it a little. It’s mostly been working well. It can be a little more time consuming to fill out because I have to look up all the book data, but it makes summarizing my reading stats very easy. I’m kind of a nut for spreadsheets, so I actually find this way more satisfying that updating Goodreads.

The only problem that I haven’t completely solved is where to keep track of all the books I want to read. This one is a little more complicated. On the one hand, I really like that Goodreads emails me when ebooks on my TBR shelf go on sale. But, they also email when all sorts of other books that I’m way less interested in go on sale. And I don’t really need to know when books go on sale because I’m trying to use my library and not to buy more ebooks.

So, if I can get by without the ebook sale emails (narrator: she can), then I really just need a parking lot for the various books I see and want to remember to someday put on hold and borrow from the library. I think this problem is relatively easy to solve by just adding a tab in my spreadsheet to keep track of books I want to read. The great thing about adding this to my spreadsheet is that I can then also keep track of where I heard about the book, or who recommended it to me. This is supposedly something you can do in Goodreads, but has always been such a hassle that I’ve never bothered to figure it out.

Can I get by without Goodreads? Yes, I think I can. Am I ready to give it up completely? Who knows. Place your bets and tune in to find out what I decide…

The Goodreads Book Tag

When I saw this on Zezee with Books blog yesterday, I thought it looked fun and wanted to give it a go. I’m a big fan of tracking my reading, and of Goodreads. It feels like I’ve been tracking my reading on Goodreads since the dawn of time. But, according to my profile, it appears I’ve only had an account since October 2008. I guess that sort of is the dawn of time in internet years… Anyway… Enough with the babbling. On to the questions!


1. What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman — my husband and I listened to this during our vacation road trip.

2. What are you currently reading?

Over the weekend I (finally) started Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds. He is one of my favorite (living) sci-fi authors, but so far this novella is just not sucking me in. I’m going to stick with it and see if it gets better.

3. What was the last book you marked as ‘TBR’?

Over the weekend, I noticed that two books I’d been wanting to read went on sale: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. Since I added them in that order, I guess that makes the answer to this question:

4. What book do you plan to read next?

A few months ago I got the second book in the Neapolitan Novels (The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante) from the library, but I never got around to reading it before the loan ended. I had to put it on hold again and it’s just become available. So, I think that’s probably what I’m going to read next.

5. Do you use the star rating system?

Yes, but I rarely give anything less than three stars.
6. Are you doing a 2016 Reading Challenge?

Yes. My goal is to read at least 50 book-like things this year. I count audiobooks, novellas, and comic trades against that total. That works out to about one book a week and so far I’m right on track to hit my goal.
7. Do you have a wishlist?

Yes. I track that on Amazon, but I also have some wishlist books on my “to-buy-borrow” shelf.
8. What book do you plan to buy next?

Do pre-orders count? Because unless one of my wishlist books goes on Kindle sale between now and the 5th of July, my next planned book purchase is This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. This will be the second book I’ve read by her, but I loved Vicious so much that she instantly became an “auto-buy” author for me. I still need to read her more popular series, but I’m waiting until the final book comes out and saving it for a time when I can really savor it. In the meantime, I’m eagerly looking forward to this book landing on my Kindle in a few weeks.

9. Do you have any favorite quotes, would you like to share a few?

These are some of my favorite book and book-related quotes:

10. Who are your favorite authors?

There are so many authors I love, I’m sure I’ll forget someone… But, as I mentioned above, Victoria Schwab and Alastair Reynolds are definite favorites. So are Rainbow Rowell, Sarah J. Maas, John Scalzi, Kristin Cashore, Erin Morgenstern, Scott Hawkins, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Frank Herbert, Madeleine L’Engle, and Anne McCaffrey… just to name a few… 🙂
11. Have you joined any groups?

I’ve joined three groups on Goodreads: Book Riot’s Read Harder ChallengePowell’s City of Books fan clubTop 5 Wednesday, but I’m not really active in any of them. I honestly haven’t quite gotten into the groups function in Goodreads.

11. Who do you tag?

If you haven’t done this and you think it looks fun, consider yourself tagged! And post a link to your blog in the comments so I can go read your post.

Happy reading!