Books Make Me Happy

Making Goodreads Remember The Stuff I Can’t

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 6.04.44 AM I love Goodreads for one HUGE reason – it allows me to keep track of books I want to read. I also rate books I’ve read, sometimes I’ll write a half-assed review if I feel inspired, but mainly I love it as a way to easily add books to a “shelf” that I want to read so that when I go to the library, I can try to find books on that shelf if there’s nothing else I’m wanting to read.

HOWEVER, the downside of this is that the shelf gets HUGE and I forget why I put certain books on the shelf. Did someone recommend it to me? Did I see it on a list somewhere? Did the author get interviewed on The Daily Show? (I get a lot of book recommendations that way!) Did John or Hank Green recommend it? Why is this book on my To Read shelf? I was rolling through that shelf on my phone last night at the library and half of the books I could not remember why they were on the shelf AT ALL. And this kinda makes me not want to read them, honestly. If I can’t even remember why I put them on there!

So, this morning I cleaned off the shelf and removed books if I couldn’t immediately remember why I wanted to read them. Then I pulled up an article I found yesterday about 5 award winning books you should read and started adding those to my To Read shelf. BUT! In order to avoid the problem I had before, I decided to add a “review” to them and see if that helps in the long run with reminding me why they’re on the shelf to begin with. This is what I put in the “review” box for each of the books I added:

(Note to remind me why I put this on my “To Read” shelf – read about it in this article on Huff Po.)

Hopefully that won’t irritate anyone actually looking for a review, and hopefully it will be a quick/easy way to remind me why it’s on my To Read list to begin with. Sometimes I actually am looking for an “Award Winning Book” – usually after I read a “Will Never Win Awards For Anything” book, just to balance things out. So, if linking to that article will help me remember why I added it, maybe I’ll be more likely to read them in the future?

Although my small branch library had NO copies last night. Not even checked out, they were all checked out at the main branch of the library. So! If I want to really read them I’ll need to put them on hold at my library so the main branch will deliver it…alas, I went through that effort for nothing!

But still…I’m hoping this will help in the future because that To Read shelf gets OUT OF CONTROL.

What about you? Do you use Goodreads? Do you use it for the To Read functionality? How do you remember why you wanted to read a book?

11 thoughts on “Making Goodreads Remember The Stuff I Can’t”

  1. i use Good Reads mostly to keep track of what I’ve read. I don’t really use the Want to read function, I use my Amazon wish list for that. I have several Wish Lists set up for different types of books. Books I actually want to buy and keep, like cookbooks, and a list for the bestseller types of books that I’ll get from the library when they come out.

  2. I have recently discovered Goodreads and love that I can flag books to put on my To Read list. Too often I see reviews of books that I am interested in or someone talks highly of a book and then when I get to the library I can’t remember what they are.

  3. I only use Goodreads to keep track of what I want to read and what I’ve read. I don’t rate or review books – I’m no good with that sort of thing. I also make sure I go back and fill in the finished date so I can see how many books I’ve read so far for the year (I’ve been slacking lately.)

    That’s why I don’t follow anyone or have any friends or whatever it’s called there. I figure since I don’t review anything I should keep to myself!

    Oh, and to be honest, I don’t really worry about why I wanted to read something. I just figure if I put it on the To Read shelf I did have a reason at one point so I’ll try to get to it eventually.

  4. Love GoodReads, love to keep track of what I’ve read, love especially the Reading Challenge. 🙂 Keeping up with the challenge is what keeps me reading sometimes.

    That’s not a bad idea, keeping track of just why one added the book to the to-be-read in the first place. It doesn’t bother me that my list is full of books I can’t remember why they’re there, but I think I would have started to add more GR shelves instead? Like a shelf for books recommended by the Green brothers, a shelf for books that has won awards, and so forth.

  5. I use GoodReads and I also don’t review or “friend” anyone on there. I have a shelf called “library” because I mostly get books there but then I can’t remember what I read! The shelf helps if I ever want to re-read something or see if any authors I like have new books coming out, I can remember who they are. But I also have a shelf called “pending series” where I put a book if there is a sequel coming out later so I know to look for it. I know you don’t like books in a series anymore but I do so it helps me. 🙂

  6. The “Pending Series” shelf is GENIUS. That will be the next one I add!

  7. YES. That’s exactly what I use it for! I was at the library last night and had my goodreads “too read” shelf pulled up for that reason!

  8. I guess knowing WHY I want to read it helps me determine what kind of book it is, sometimes I’m in the mood for a book from a “YA List” and other times I’m in the mood for an “Easy Summer Read” book or something like that.

  9. I use Evernote for recommendations from friends, family, twitter, and list the source of the recommendation there. I also save links like yours above to the Pocket when I am in Feedly and then refer back when looking for new titles. I mainly read e-books from the library system via overdrive and 3M cloud library. I’ve been meaning to say thanks for the recommendation of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I enjoyed it so much and I saved all of the titles mentioned within and have been able to read/re-read quite a few online as pdfs or at

  10. You can create and assign multiple custom shelves for each book; why not create shelves called “Recommendations from Friends”, “Recommendations from John Green”, “Daily Show Interviews”, etc. to keep track of the general reason for wanting to read it? Adding a note to the review is a good way to record a specific reason, but the shelves will give you a quick list if you’re looking to specifically read an award winner or a recommendation for example.

  11. I love Goodreads (that reading challenge speaks to my competitive little soul). I do forget, sometimes why I added a book, but for me, I wouldn’t have put it on there without good reason, so I just take it on faith that it would be a good one. Every so often, I go through my “to read”s and see if the library has them. If so, I add them to an “at the library” shelf. Then, the next time I am ready for new books, I browse that shelf, pick out a nice variety (2-3) and put them on hold at the library so I can just run in and pick them up. LOVE IT.

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