Thursday Thoughts – Goodreads and Goal Setting

On Tuesday, I made a post all about my year in reading for 2017. For that wrap up I utilized a well known tool for book bloggers, Goodreads. I am a big fan of Goodreads. I love the community that it helps build, the organization it offers, and the ability it gives me to discover new books.

However, there are many issues with Goodreads. Unfair rating runs rampant on the site. Many books have reviews before the author has even completed them. This skews the overall rating of a book. This is difficult for authors and readers alike. Authors, obviously, are upset by the unfair way people interact with the rating system. Readers, like myself, are also bothered. I’m not going to lie, a low score on Goodreads can send up a red flag for me. I am immediately less likely to actually read that book. Yes, sometimes the rating seems to be appropriate. However, other times had I paid attention to the rating I would have missed out on a book that I loved.

I know ratings are opinions and therefore are subjective. Yet, I think as a community as a whole book bloggers and avid readers are able to differentiate between badly written books and books that just weren’t their cup of tea. That’s the biggest line that must be drawn. We can still appreciate writing even if the subject matter, plot structure, or character types were not our favorites. Good writing is good writing. Goodreads can definitely be a double edged sword. The recommendations and the new books I discover because of the site are irreplaceable. I love the variety of books I am met with on the site.

I will continue to utilize the rating feature and the recommendations. However, I have decided that I will no longer look at the rating before picking up a book. In previous posts I’ve discussed wanting to go into books with a blank slate. So, I am doing just that. I don’t need to be influenced by other people’s ratings before forming my own opinions.

Another feature of Goodreads that I have avidly used since signing up is the goal setting feature. I love setting goals. My favorite thing is to see a tangible display of how close I am getting to completing my goals. However, I think this often hinders my reading. I don’t want to read just to read a certain number of books. I want to read because I love reading. I want to read because I can’t get enough of a book or a subject. Oftentimes I find myself forgetting that when I look at my Goodreads goal. It becomes more about quantity than quality.

So, this year I’m doing things a little bit differently. I am still setting a goal. However, I am going to set small goals for myself. Ones that are easily attainable. That way, the pressure is relieved a bit and I can just enjoy the reading. My new years resolution is to stop putting pressure on myself and the books I read. Goodreads is a tool I will continue to utilize. But, I’m not going to take it as seriously.

Do you use Goodreads? What are your thoughts about the site?

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7 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts – Goodreads and Goal Setting

  1. I love the Goodreads goal feature … but it is slightly disappointing that it focuses on “books read” as that penalises people who would rather read a few longer books rather than a multitude of short ones…. also some books (ie philosophy, for a start) just take more time than others- and that doesn’t make them less worthwhile!So I agree it is a problematic one…

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  2. I like to read the summary of a book on Goodreads and if that reonates with me, I read it regardless of the rating. I have found books I have loved despite average or low rating. Sometimes the rating is accurate for a book and sometimes it’s either over hyped or underhyped. Since goodreads is best tool to find books, we can’t go without it, I guess.

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  3. There are definitely pros and cons to Goodreads but I suppose that happens with any book review site! I generally don’t look at rating for books (like you say, people review the books before they’ve even read them depending on whether they like/dislike the author or their other books) but I do look at reviews, especially of people I follow. Sometimes I discount the negative reviews as not everyone is going to like the same books but I remember reading the reviews of one book recently (can’t remember the title) where all the bad reviews were saying very similar things. At that point, it stops looking like personal taste and starts looking like a book I’m not that interested in picking up.

    I love Goodreads, mostly to keep track of what I read and how I feel about the book. This is especially helpful when sequels come out! But I can understand why people have issues with the site sometimes.

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  4. This is such an important post. Loved hearing your thoughts on Goodreads. I use it almost every day. I agree that it’s a great way to keep track of your reading and discover new books. I find that some areas of the community are extremely caustic, so I’m very selective in my interactions on there.
    I agree that setting a ‘number of books to read’ kind of goal might take away from the joy of reading. I read 100 books last year and squeezed in some books just to meet the goal and not because I was genuinely interested in them. So I’ve set myself an easily achievable goal and have decided to do read-a-thons or other kinds of challenges that centre around picking books to read that fit a theme or a prompt rather than quantity.
    Have a wonderful reading year in 2018! 🙂

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  5. I don’t really use it as a social media tool, but I do love using Goodreads to keep myself organized. I like having shelves to organize all the different books I want to read and have read and I also like using it to keep track of my reading goal. Also not quite the biggest fan of the review system and I really don’t like that many people rate a book before it even comes out. Wishing you the best in your 2018 bookish endeavors!

    singprettyreadbooks.wordpress.com

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