Goodreads: Don’t Knock it ‘Til You’ve Tried It

Books have always been a foolproof method for leaving your own reality behind and entering a new one, far away from life’s daily stressors and challenges. So, if books generally serve as the ultimate escape, why would there be any need for social media – an alternate “escape valve” that has also been known to cause a great deal of stress and sadness for users worldwide – to intertwine with the world of literature?

Until recently, I didn’t see how a connection would serve any good. However, a short year ago, my horizons on this topic broadened. Enter Goodreads.

When friends of mine ask what exactly Goodreads is, I generally go with the same response: “It’s essentially book social media,” which I realize does not sound inherently appealing (I should probably come up with a new description). However, I do still feel that it’s a fitting explanation for what Goodreads basically is. It was first introduced to the public in 2007 by co-founders Otis Chandler and Elizabeth Khuri Chandler. Otis explains how he created the website (now also an app) as a means for book lovers to share their thoughts on what they’ve read, what they’re reading, and what they’d like to read. And Goodreads became just that – a space for people to not only see what books their friends are engrossed in (or not) but also to share which ones they themselves are currently glued to. Goodreads users can rate books on a five star scale and write reviews if they feel so inclined. Most importantly, Goodreads is home to the Annual Reading Challenge.

For anyone who struggles with recreational reading because they find themselves feeling as though they should be doing other things with their time, you’re not alone. The key: having a goal – and that’s exactly what the Annual Reading Challenge provides. At the start of every year, Goodreads opens up a new challenge for users to set for themselves. Once you’ve decided on the number of books you’d like to read by the year’s end and you’ve entered that number into the app, Goodreads tracks your progress throughout the year, letting you know when you’re behind, ahead of, or on schedule with your goal. It should be noted, though, that the people you’re friends with on the app can also check your progress if they so desire. And as someone who was a mere one book away from meeting her goal of 2022, don’t let the idea of falling behind or not meeting it discourage you. It is supposed to be fun after all.

This year, set aside any preconceived notions about a reading app and give Goodreads a chance. Not only will you find yourself consistently absorbed in page-turners you otherwise would have never known about, but you’ll also find that tracking your friends’ reading habits is actually kind of absorbing, too.