Thursday, January 10, 2019

Upping My Goodreads Game

What I read in 2018 

Apparently, according to my profile page, I started a Goodreads account in 2009. (Whaaaat?) That's ten years ago. (I know you can do the math. I just needed to emphasize it.) This is so annoyingly typical of me. I started the account, did nothing with it (although I know I added my 2017 books at some point, but they're not there), and now I look like a slacker. ("I've read 54 books in ten years! Woo-hoo!") Well, actually, it was 54-ish in 2018. (I say "-ish" because I abandoned a couple of these books mid-way through, but read enough each time that I wanted to remember them in my tally.) 

I don't always make New Year's resolutions, but this year, I resolve to up my Goodreads game. I'm still not sure exactly what I want to put into it or get out of this. This is a work in progress. 

I haven't rated any of these books; I'm not a fan of the star system. I want to talk about books, ad nauseum, not slap a possibly misleading grade on them. It doesn't do to say, "It's three and a half stars," (or do I mean four stars??) when what I mean is, "The writing was gorgeous. She made me want to steal a sentence every few pages. But the plot was improbable, and a number of incidents seemed too contrived. I'm willing to suspend disbelief, of course, but I wish (fill in plot point) had gone a different way. But I'm so glad I read it. It had heart and charm, humanity, and writing to die for. Or maybe, from my writerly point of view, to kill for." 

I can't talk in stars. 

If you're on Goodreads and want to friend me, please do! I'm not as slacker-y as I appear. 

Here are a few of my favorites (to get us started), in no particular order, from 2018: 

Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger 
The Wednesday Wars, by Gary Schmidt (middle grade) 
My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead 
Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler 
Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos 
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel 
The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene 
Castle of Water, by Dane Huckelbridge
L.M. Montgomery's Pat of Silverbush books 
Beartown, by Fredrik Backman 
I Am, I Am, I Am, by Maggie O'Farrell 
Tell Me More, by Kelly Corrigan 

All of my 2018 books are here. See you on Goodreads? 


  1. Thank you for the recommendations. I will definitely be looking for some of those books. I read Station Eleven last year after you mentioned it and loved it.

    I got back into Goodreads a couple of years ago and have found their annual challenges motivating. I hit my 52 book target in 2017 and 100 last year. Woohoo! Actually it has pros and cons - it did encourage me to read more, but not always to read well. I have gone back down to 52 again for 2019 so that I won't decide to skip books purely because they are long and might cause me to fall behind on my challenge ticker. I very rarely write reviews on Goodreads, but I do use star ratings to remind me what I thought of a book. I do get frustrated that stars are such a clunky tool - in my mind my ratings often have halves and even quarters! For some reason I prefer to put reviews on my sadly neglected blog. I am hoping to pick it up again more regularly this year (every year I say this!) and to look back at Goodreads and write short reviews of last year's reading.

  2. Oh, Kathryn, I'm so glad you loved Station Eleven! I've read one from Emily St. John Mandel's backlist (The Lola Quartet) and also enjoyed that, but I'm not sure anything can top Station Eleven. :)

    100! Wow. I can completely see the pros and cons of that, though. I agree with you that when I get too focused on quantity, I make different choices. I did set a number goal this year (60) but only to push myself beyond the book-a-week I read this year. I like your idea of using the stars as a reminder-to-self! Yes, yes, yes, to the halves and quarters of stars that we want to use in order to convey nuance. :)

    I want to reconnect with some of my favorite bloggers, and you are a shining star on that list!