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.