I read. I read a lot. And I read a lot about books, authors and what other people are thinking about new books.
Reading opens your mind and exposes you to new ideas, the history of the world and the lives of fascinating passionate people. It often gives you appreciation of others experiences, inspires you to change your mind about an issue, be more authentic and improve how you interact in the world. Sometimes it is just a great story that takes us away with a good plot and rich characters. Reading books about history give us context to how our ancestors lived, their culture and the events that shaped their choices for migration, work and religion. We all have our favorite genres and mine seem to focus on contemporary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, fantasy, history, science, biographies/memoirs, genealogy (of course) and even an occasional “self help” book.
I receive many of the ideas of what books I would like to read from e-mail updates from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Poisoned Pen (mystery bookstore in Scottsdale), Stop You Are Killing Me (a mystery lovers website) and various blogs e.g. Boston 1775 and Journal of the American Revolution (Essential American Revolution Library). But the best resource I have for finding a good book is goodreads.
It is one of my favorite apps/websites and if I could get all my friends, family and associates to sign up it would be a perfect present for me (just in case you were looking for one.)
Why is it so good? Here are just a few of the best reasons:
1) I can keep track of all my books – the ones I have read and the ones I want to read. I finally don’t have to keep a paper list of the books I want to read or buy every book I want because I am afraid I will forget the title.
2) Create Bookshelves – I can even put them on multiple bookshelves by as many categories I want to create. I can find all the books I read that were mysteries set in New England, histories of WWII, books set in Pasadena or the sad shelf of “unfinished book purgatory”.
3) I get to see what my friends are reading when they update their status. GoodReads will send me an e-mail summary when my friends add books. I don’t really look at Facebook regularly, but I really care what my friends are reading! If I am interested in reading it, I can mark it “to read” too. This exposes me to books I may not have known about and piques my interest as to why they loved it and gave it such good rating.
4) If I am in the bookstore and I see a book I want to add to my “to read” list, I can scan the bar code.
5) Connection to authors – Get notified if one of your book’s authors is publishing a new book. Occasionally, if I rate a book with 4 to 5 stars and give a good review after reading it, the author actually notices and “likes” my review. Pretty cool!
6) Recommendations – It keeps track of the type of books I like and will give me recommendations of other books that I might enjoy based on style, themes etc.
7) Challenge yourself – You can take the 2014 Challenge by setting the number of books you would plan to read this year. It will track your progress and let you know what % you are complete and how many you need to go to reach your goal. Last year my goal was 50 and I completed 53. This year I stretched and increased the goal to 80 because I will be on a few road trips and I thought I might get more audio books completed.
So, check goodreads out and sign up! Challenge yourself to read more books than you read last year. And finally please “friend” me (Rachelle Joy), so I can see what you are reading!