Posts Tagged ‘goodreads’

day nine: goodreads and good books

January 9, 2017 @ 6:30 am | Filed under: Books

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1.

Leslie in VA absolutely made my week with this comment:

Many, many years ago. . . you gushed over “Fruitless Fall” and that book truly changed our life. I read it, my husband read it and our older kids read it. My husband (phobic of bees) wanted to get bees (still does). Fast forward to today and my oldest son, 21, now works on a queen bee farm in Hawaii. He was truly inspired by that book. Thank you for your part in him finding his path!

I told Scott, “I feel like I was just given a George Bailey moment without having to get to the desperate jump-off-a-bridge stage first!” Thanks, Leslie, really. And thanks to all of you who’ve let me know my book chatter has been meaningful to your family life at some point or other. It means a lot to me to know that, truly. 🙂

2.

Leslie went on to ask,

Also, thoughts on goodreads? I think it is a valuable tool but decreased activity over the past year. Are people reading less, not using it, is there another site? I have been keeping track of our books for over 5 years (kids have different shelves) because I often draw a blank when asked for suggestions for a certain age. Wondering what you think of its usefulness?

Have you read Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter? Delicious!

Taking the last question first: I have not! It’s been recommended to me by a number of Bonny Glen readers over the years, and I think I even snagged it on Kindle at some point. Why haven’t I read it yet?? If anyone understands my reading tastes, it’s you folks. Perhaps I can make it a January treat.

As for Goodreads, I too enjoy it but my use comes in fits and starts. I’ve been somewhat more consistent at updating my books in the past few years…at least, until October hits. Then, if it’s a year I’m serving on a Cybils panel (and since I’m now chairing the YA Fiction panel, every year will be that sort of year), it all falls apart. I can’t keep up with the logging.

I’ve tried once or twice to log my kids’ reading that way, but it’s hopeless. Too darn many books. Beanie does log her reading at her own account, though.

I admit I seldom read Goodreads comments on books I’m interested in—not the general pool of comments, that is. I do enjoy reading the remarks left by my Goodreads friends and acquaintances. It’s always fun to enter a book and discover six of my GR pals gave it four stars.

Oh, but about those stars—I hardly ever give any! Sometimes I’ll award them, but only if it’s (in my opinion) a four- or five-star book—and I’m terribly inconsistent at that, having entered many excellent books without putting in any stars at all. It bothers me that a three-star rating (which is supposed to mean “I like it”) is considered by writers (and readers) to be a lackluster, low rating. I don’t want to deflate someone’s scores (and feelings) by seeming to give it a bad grade. And writers work too hard on books for me to go around slapping a depressing two stars on their efforts, even though I’m bound to feel ‘meh’ about some of the books I read. So—I mostly ignore the whole star machinery. A zero-star rating isn’t factored into the book’s score. And it certainly doesn’t mean I thought the book was worth zilch. Some of my lifelong favorite books show up as zeroes in my list, because I didn’t bother with the stars.

I keep thinking I could use Goodreads to log incoming review copies, but there too I get bogged down by the busywork of entering titles.

In the end, my sidebar booklogs are a more accurate reflection of my year’s reading. I wish I’d begun keeping them sooner than 2008!

How about the rest of you? Do you have a good(reads) system?

3.

A tangent: as I write this, at 8:30 Sunday evening, I’m listening to Rose and Beanie play a piano-and-violin duet in the next room—a song from one of the Zelda games, I believe, quite lovely—and my heart’s about to burst with delight. They each started group piano classes around age eight. Rose ‘graduated’ from the music school last spring, at age eighteen. Beanie still attends, along with Rilla, who’s in her third year. And Huck is beginning this week.

Beanie has been taking violin lessons for about a year. The instrument she plays on was given to me by Scott, my senior year of college. He knew I’d always wanted to learn and found a second-hand three-quarter-size violin somewhere. I took lessons for a few months from an elderly fiddle player who taught me out of an old hymnal. I confess I didn’t get very far. I was self-conscious about practicing in earshot of my roommates. The violin got bumped around through several moves, suffering a broken bridge at some point. And the bow disintegrated. The summer before last, Rose spent six weeks in Colorado with my parents and was given the rather amazing opportunity of assisting their neighbor, a violin repairman, with the restoration of my old instrument. She brought it home to Beanie, who’d been pining to play strings for ages.

And here we are. They sound, to this mama’s ears, utterly magical. When they play, I don’t just hear melody—I hear history.

4.

          

Our weekend picture book reading:

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman. A pencil draws a host of characters, and then when they clamor for color, he draws a paintbrush to help out. But when he draws an eraser, things begin to go downhill…my kids love this book, from the mild chaos created by the Calvin-esque eraser to the beleaguered pencil’s clever solution. This book would pair nicely with Harold and the Purple Crayon—or that Looney Tunes where Daffy Duck is being tormented by the paintbrush that created him (wielded, of course, by Bugs Bunny).

A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton. I wrote about this gem in 2008: “This was one of the Cybils nominees, and when I read the library copy, I knew it was a keeper. Sweet, funny story about a rather curmudgeonly bear who, despite his best efforts, finds himself playing host to a persistent and amiable mouse. I showed it to Scott, who instantly pegged it as a perfect Rose book. Endearing art, charming story.”

Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier and Suzy Lee. From my 2013 booknotes: “A series of quirky creatures is reading a series of little books, each smaller than the next. Very clever way to play with the convention of the codex. All those adorable nested books are irresistible to my kids. And the art, oh the art: utterly to swoon for.”

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner and Mark Siegel. <– This last one, I’m informed, will be our Monday pick, if we can find it. It fits nicely with the meta-book themes of The Pencil and Open This Little Book, which is probably what made Huck think of it. Some of you will recall that I caught Huck on video reading this one out loud, back in 2015. (Those character voices—oh my heart!)

Blog Odds and Ends

September 1, 2016 @ 6:56 pm | Filed under: Bloggity, Books

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Several of you have written to ask how to subscribe to my Paper.li newsletter (my curated links, similar to the ones I share in the “Caught My Eye” part of the sidebar here). I had mentioned you could receive it via email, but it turns out that option is no longer available for free Paper.li accounts like mine. Sorry for the misinformation! Best way to follow it is, I guess, to look for the link on my Twitter each Monday. Or just pop over here to peruse the sidebar.

Also in the sidebar, as you know, is my running booklist. This year I’ve broken it into sections: what I’m reading myself; what I’m reading to the kids (well, sort of—I’m only listing the novels because tracking all the picture book and nonfiction readalouds would be a full-time job); and audiobooks.

Every January, I move all the year’s books out of the sidebar onto their own dedicated Booklog page. This year I’m ahead of the game and have set up the page already. If you prefer a more visual approach to booklists (cover photos), here’s that link.

But it, too, is missing the picture books, comics, folk and fairy tale collections, nonfiction, and poetry that make up such a large segment of our literary diet. I’ve been inconsistent at logging those books in a format that others can view. This fall I’m making another stab at tracking our picture-book readalouds via Goodreads. Takes a lot less time than putting together a post! If I can stick with the practice long enough to make it a habit, I’ll think about adding our nonfiction and poetry picks as well.

Streamlining the Ways I Use Social Media

January 16, 2010 @ 7:45 am | Filed under: Computer stuff, Social Media

I’ve long been aware that I am somewhat sloppy in my approach to link-saving and -sharing. I “like,” I share, I tweet, I deem certain items Delicious, I upload to Flickr, I send to Facebook. I seldom Stumble, but recently I began to Tumbl. I log the books I’ve read at GoodReads and am slowly cataloging the books I own at LibraryThing. And those are just the social media I use regularly. The number of things I’ve tried out—well, a free Evernote account would scarcely accommodate the list.

It may be a bit of overkill, but the thing is, I really do use all these media in different ways. Lately I’ve been trying to streamline and simplify how I use them, and I feel like things are starting to run pretty efficiently.

Delicious. In the past I’ve used this social bookmarking site sporadically to share links here on the blog. The Postalicious plug-in makes it super easy to autopost links. As of this week, I am keeping my ongoing books-I’d-like-to-read list at Delicious as well. When I read a post about an intriguing book, I save it to Delicious with a TBR tag. I should have started this practice a long time ago.

Tumblr. While I use Delicious for links I want to share with other people (and the TBR list), my newish Tumblr account is a catch-all just for me. After that frustrating lapse the other week when I couldn’t remember where I read an article I very much wanted to refer to again, I decided I needed a journal for my online reading. I keep my book log so faithfully, but what about the zillions of posts and articles I read on the web? Enter Tumblr. I’m trying to be good about tagging so I can find things again, and I’m trying to cultivate a habit of Tumbling everything of substance I read online. Everything! It’s a tall order.

(And why not just bookmark posts via my browser or Google toolbar? Because the bookmark lists quickly become too long and unwieldy. Tumblr, with tags, is faster.)

So, in a nutshell:

Delicious for links I want to share on the blog, and for the TBR list.

Tumblr for a record of my online reading.

GoodReads for a record of the books I’ve read.

LibraryThing to catalog the books I own. (But really, I haven’t taken a whack at this giant task in months. It’s not a priority.)

Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Say what you will, I love Facebook. Today, out of the blue, I heard from a high-school friend I lost touch with after graduation, but whom I’ve never forgotten. She played Sally in a school production of Snoopy, the Musical. Whenever my kids play that soundtrack—which is often—I think of Lisa. Amazing singer. What a delight it was to find a note from her on my Facebook page today. Facebook, I heart you.

Twitter for quick recording of funny kid moments, quick info-searching (as when I had a question about garam masala powder last night and within seconds of tweeting the question, found myself in conversation with a very friendly author of Indian cookbooks), and participating in dynamic conversations among the various communities I belong to: writers, homeschoolers, booklovers, etc.

Flickr for the easiest way to share photos with family and friends.

Google Reader Shared Items for blog posts I want to bring to other people’s attention—this autoposts to my sidebar.

Related post: A Day in the Life of My iPod Touch