I can’t overstate the importance of reading to writers. Writers are, by definition, readers. For that reason, this page will be one of the first that I develop further.
For now, here is one critical resource:
Goodreads | goodreads.com
If you are a writer but aren’t on Goodreads, then you’re missing out on “the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.”
Once you’ve published your first book and transition over to an author profile, Goodreads will become very important for networking reasons, but all that Goodreads has to offer you-the-writer will be addressed later on a different page. Before you get to that point, you should be utilizing Goodreads as a reader.
Goodreads has a lot of different features to offer you-the-reader, and how you use it will be unique to you and your process.
As a reader, I use Goodreads primarily to keep myself from getting lazy. When balancing a writing life with a second career (which most writers have to do to keep the lights on), not to mention a personal life, it’s easy to deprioritize reading or active reading, at least.
I’ve written posts that go back and forth on setting annual Goodreads “books read” goal, but even when I experimented with not setting a goal in 2015, I still logged every book into Goodreads and referred to the list often to do a manual count to make sure I wasn’t slacking. Overall I find their annual Reading Challenge to be a helpful motivator. (If you’ve ever wished you could earn achievements for your reading, here’s your chance!)
I also use Goodreads to keep myself from becoming a passive reader. Reading for pleasure is wonderful, but as writers, we should always be looking for something to take away for our own work. I try to write a Goodreads review for every book I finish, even if it’s short. Usually what I put in my review is not the take-away, which goes in my journal, but it’s an important first step that helps me process what I’ve read. It’s also good practice for writing full-length book reviews for publication.
Find me on Goodreads at goodreads.com/stefbt.
Great Reads: Book Recommendations
Sometimes, I like making lists of books that I like. Here are a few posts like that:
“Great Reads 2014” including Tim O’Brien, Haruki Murakami, and Caitlin Moran
“Happy Aldo Leopold Week!” featuring my favorite environmental books
“Great Reads 2015” including Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Ernest Hemingway, and Steve Semken