Posts tagged goodreads

Reading as a Profession.

Girl reading by Charles Edward Perugini

Girl reading by Charles Edward Perugini

Like most avid readers, I’ve had a dream since I was young to be able to read for a living.  Of course, anyone who really does read for a living knows it doesn’t quite look like the fantasy—which is lying around on a comfy chaise of some sort in the middle of a vast library of leather-bound books (or hot bestsellers, take your pick).  What it generally looks like, especially in today’s climate, is sitting in front of your computer a lot and skimming word files, and unless you’re lucky enough to be a book reviewer, those word files are probably only submissions, meaning that the quality of the work is not guaranteed.

I’ve known this for a while now.  In college I edited on a poetry magazine called Into the Teeth of the Wind.  The magazine is known for having a quirky, transitive sort of audience, so the poetry that came in to us really ranged from brilliant to outright drivel (or outright weird).  In fact, if anything has taught me to appreciate conciseness and good poetry, it would have to be the masses of extremely poor poetry that I read in my four years of college.  Reading bad poetry (along with some very good poetry, of course) really turned me into a better poet myself.

Reading submissions for other things is no more likely to mean particularly good reads.  Submissions for an online publishing house (or any publishing house, I would imagine) are just as likely to attract questionable writing as a small print-run college lit mag.  Does this mean reading a LOT of bad starts? Yes… it certainly does, but it also makes you appreciate the writing that is good, where the author has clearly honed their craft and done all they can to make the story the best it can be.  This is a great learning experience for me, too… because just as reading a lot of bad poetry made me a better poet, reading questionable writing can make me a better writer, because I can see in other people’s work the mistakes I might be making myself, and that’s a golden lesson if ever there was one.

So, reading as a profession isn’t quite the fantasy that it was for me as a kid… but as I’m starting out in this new journey, it’s certainly a fun and exciting thing for me.

Not that I plan on giving up on the massive TBR list I have stacked up, of course… To share a quote by a brilliant man…

“Read for pleasure. Never forget to read for pleasure.” – W.S. Merwin

~Lisa, who can’t wait until she’s a professional author and can write book purchases off of her taxes.  What?  You know that’s a sizable perk…

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Generally I’m a pretty loyal website user.  If I’m using something I like, I’m not one to abandon it all of a sudden because something shinier comes along… well, most of the time.  So for a long time I didn’t bother joining Goodreads.  I had Shelfari, and surely one book-organizing site was all I needed.  Plus Shelfari had… shelves.  Virtual shelves that had books on them and whatnot.

A friend sent me an invitation to Goodreads, though, and I joined almost out of a courtesy in June.  And I have to admit, I love it.  I don’t know how to explain it, but there’s something so user-friendly about the site.  It has a much cleaner look than Shelfari, and the sleek design reflects the simplicity of function, too.  I really love the ability to “compare” books with friends or other users, and I love that authors can have member pages combined with their author pages, so you can see what your favorite authors are reading!

Maybe what I like so much about it is that you can really be as involved with the site or not as you like, no pressure involved.  I think wish Shelfari I was often feeling compelled to do things, like answer other people’s questions about whether they should read a book or not (which I do think is a nice feature, really, I just don’t want to feel pressured to do it).  And really, Shelfari just gets a little frustrating for me.  The little pop-up menus that you can change disappear too easily, usually before I’ve been able to mark if I’ve finished a book or whether I want to list it as a favorite or something, so I have to end up doing this multiple times before I can get it to work.

To give them credit, Shelfari has improved immensely since I first joined it, and I still really do like the site a lot.  I think it’s a better site for debate on whether or not books are worth reading—though maybe that’s just because I haven’t investigated Goodreads thoroughly enough.  And I know there are people who emphatically lean to the Shelfari side.  That’s the very nice thing about the internet, we have both, and people can choose as they will.  I think Goodreads has secured my vote, though.

What about you?

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