As I was stumbling through a big list of social media and web 2.0 sites today, I came across Good Reads. I had heard my friend here at school mention this once before (she had previously completed a degree in Children’s Literature, so you can imagine, she likes to read) but I’d never checked it out before.
Essentially Good Reads is like a social networking site, but with just a dash of Amazon.com thrown in. It runs on reviews: you tell Good Reads what you’ve been reading lately, provide a rating and a review, and then it broadcasts your information across the network. You can have friends, whose recent activities (reviews, books they claim they’re reading, books they have marked as “favorites) you will see when you log in. You can search for reviews of books that you want to read (to get a sense of if it’s worth it) or of books you love (so you can scoff at and insult those who have given it a bad review).
I find that with social software tools I feel a little spread out if I have to sign up for a new one. I like to integrate them as much as possible… or at least make it so I don’t have to a visit yet another web page when I start up my browser. I run Twitterific in the background all day and import my Delicious bookmarks into Firefox’s menubar. Good Reads, it turns out, you can import into your facebook account (if you have one), and you can access and edit your life there all through the facebook interface, which is nice. I tried it out, and found a couple friends already using it (turns out a friend from high school likes The Great Gatsby.)
I was an English lit major in college, so I tend not to rely on online reviews when selecting my next book. I also tend to go to used book stores instead of ordering them. In spite of the greyish yellow color scheme of the site, Good Reads will never smell delightfully musty like Bridgid’s Books. That being said, I am still intrigued because if I had an active community of friends on Good Reads, I wouldn’t argue with participating. I, like any other person who likes reading, like talking about the books I read and enjoy bullying people into liking what I like. Then again, being a librarian, perhaps I would rather be a part of Library Thing…