Tag Archives: GoodReads

New Social Media Buttons

10th March 2012

Just a quick post today because you may or may not have noticed that I got new social media buttons in the sidebar over there. For a while now, I have been really tired of my design and wanted a total rehaul of my site, but you guys, whoa, is it expensive! There are a lot of other things I need/should spend my money on right now, so I decided maybe I would just redo my social media buttons because I had a random collection of them and felt it looked disorganized. So I thought, Hey! Why not create some myself? You know, there are a lot of things I can do, but apparently, graphic design ain’t one of ’em. I knew exactly what look I wanted, but using the tools in the right way to do it? Not so much. Instead I spent hours and hours using different sites and looking up icons and ended up with nothing usable. So I did a little search and came across Natalie from Moxietonic. She’s really, really reasonable, and she’s super fast and easy to work with. I’d highly recommend her if you’re looking for social media buttons, a blog button, or a header.

Anyway, since Google Friend Connect is supposed to go away for non-Blogger blogs, I thought I’d give a short explanation as to what all those buttons over there do. I know not everyone will use them all; for example, I’m not an RSS reader and love Bloglovin’, but to each her own. Here’s the breakdown of those icons over yonder:

Top Left: GoodReads


Top Right: Twitter

Second Row Left:RSS

Second Row Right: Google +

Third Row Row Left: Pinterest


Third Row Right: Facebook


Bottom Left: Email


Bottom Right: Bloglovin’


So get busy and follow me! It’s a command! Ok, not at all, and I know this post is sort of narcissistic, but whatevs. It’s Friday. It’s raining and cold. I’ve graded essays all. damn. day. I’m needing some attention. 😉

Hope your weekend is fannnntastic!

Judgy McJudgerson

9th February 2012


I don’t often read the posts on Book Riot, but today I noticed Amanda from Dead White Guys had a new post up on Book Riot titled “Confessions of a Newbie Independent Bookseller.”

The article discusses quirks of working in such a specialized place and the types of books people come in requesting. She shares one particular confession I loved:

I Don’t Judge Your Taste in Books
When I get a customer who wants a recommendation, I usually ask what the last book was that they loved so I can see what they’re looking for in a book. Sometimes there’s a pause, an embarrassed shifty-eyed gaze to the floor. A mumble of, “well, I read a lot of teen books, like, Hunger Games and stuff…” Independent bookstores can have a reputation for being snobby places where the books are “curated” out the ass- where you won’t find a best seller anywhere, but where you can definitely find the collected works of David Foster Wallace. I’m sorry if you’ve had that experience at other indies, but honestly- I don’t care what you read. If you want to add to your collection of mermaid erotica, I’ll help you. You want to read the next Twilight? I’ll help you. Looking for a how-to on building your own yurt? You’re the coolest! Let’s do this. There’s no judgment.

However, one person in the comments talks about how he or she does judge a person by what he or she reads. Unfortunately, this type of book shaming is not confined to bookstores. Frankly, I experience this all the time, and I’m sure it’s partially because I am so plugged in to the bookish world and bookish people. More often than not, this judgment comes from someone without a literature degree, someone who is very serious about serious literature.

Please understand I am not saying that an individual without a literature degree cannot criticize books. What I am saying is I do have those qualifications, and I still don’t feel the need/desire to lecture people about their reading choices. I have two degrees in English, one undergrad, one grad. I’ve read most of the big guns. I know literary terms many people do not. This does not make me cool; in fact, it puts me in a very low wage-earning category. I can talk a book to death if I want or need. But here’s the truth: that ain’t fun. I know I’m playing fast and loose, using “ain’t” and cliches and telling you this, but come on: Reading should be the least judged thing we do. We’re reading. In 2009, I remember reading that the average American reads one book a year. If you’re here, you’ve probably already hit that number this year. Whether that one book is a Harlequin romance novel, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, or James Patterson’s newest, it’s better than no books read this year.

I’ll level with you: I read, no, I devoured the Twilight series. Granted, I knew they weren’t quality writing, but I didn’t care. The story drew me in, no matter how ludicrous parts of it were. I mention this because this is the most criticized reading choice for many. You may not like it, but guess what? Those books enticed people who had never read an entire book for fun to read several – several long books, no less.

My best friend reads at least 80% paranormal romance. We were talking about Goodreads the other night, and every single time she mentioned what she had been reading, she explained her choices away. This is an intelligent teacher and mother of three. The fact that she does read with all that going on is impressive to me. I know she isn’t a big fan of mysteries just like I’m not a big fan of paranormal romance. When we do read the same book, it’s that much more fun. We are diversifying our book stock, making us more interesting.

My reading list includes classics, contemporary literary fiction, an occasional chick lit, and tons of mysteries. I love mysteries, and sometimes even if I know it’s not the best mystery I’ll ever read, I keep reading. Why? Because it’s still enjoyable. The act of sitting down with a book is pleasurable and calming to me.

Maybe part of my ire has built up because I have seen non-readers turned into readers using books others might discount. Most of the students who have entered my classroom have told me they hate reading. They don’t dislike it or find it boring. No, they tell me they hate it. I make it my mission to turn at least one of them on to reading. How do I hit that target? I find out what they enjoy, and I give them a book that aligns well with those interests. Nine times out of ten it works, and I love being part of that person’s life in some small way. If that means putting The Hunger Games in the hands of one student and Madame Bovary in the hands of another, I’m perfectly ok with that. For those of us who truly love books and reading, why would we have it any other way?

So my big question is, have you ever felt judged for your reading choices? And WHY are we allowing others to guilt us? I won’t be had. Come look at my bookshelves and judge away. I dare you.


Reviews and Reviewing

5th December 2011

As an article I was quoted in posted to The Huffington Post today, I wanted to get your input and flesh the conversation out a bit. I don’t say anything earth shattering or all that interesting (which is why I didn’t post the link to IndieReader last week), but the author Terri Giuliano Long really does. In “The Ugly Truth About Consumer Book Reviews: Part One,” she discusses GoodReads and Amazon reviews.

I have never found either particularly helpful and note that. In fact, in our conversation, I told her I get easily over 90% of my book recommendations from bloggers or through mentions on Twitter. The rest of my books either come from review offers, library trips, or random shopping on my Nook Color. These purchases/rentals are random, but I often find great material this way.

The few times I do bother to check reviews on Shelfari*, GoodReads, or Amazon, I tend to get frustrated. Very often, these “reviews” are simply someone’s thoughts: “I loved this book!” or “Best book I’ve ever read.” These do not tell me anything about the book, and I don’t really trust people when they cannot articulate what they loved about a book or why it’s the best book they’ve ever read.

I compare these “reviews” to the comments section of many news outlets. They can be skewed in all manners, and the moderation seems to be either slow or ineffective. Comments range from wildly extremist to people sincerely trying to converse about the topic at hand. Unfortunately, there is no real way to weed through and eliminate the chaff from the wheat, so to speak.

That said, I know some people do take a good amount of time on their reviews or they simply post a review from their blog into the Amazon review. The problem is, this practice seems to be rare.

Terri brings up the skewing of numbers/stars in reviews on sites such as Amazon or GoodReads, and commenters on the HuffPo piece mention that authors often request readers to post a positive review. I think, personally, this is because many authors have taken such an active role in marketing. I am a firm believer that each person has (usually) very specific talents. An author/artist/creative person may not be the ideal marketing specialist. That’s ok. That is not necessarily his or her forté. However, when publishing companies rely more on the author, this sort of blatant self promotion is bound to occur.

I do not have a distinct problem with authors on Twitter or authors who have blogs. I understand that in this economy and in the current publishing climate, everyone has to pitch in. However, I think we need to have more discussions on ethics. Ethics in the era of social media/blogs/hobbyist reviewers are extremely messy. I, for one, think much too much about them. It is a conversation that needs to happen, and I urge you to check out the full article if you have a few minutes.

What do you think? Do you like Amazon/GoodReads/Shelfari reviews? If not, where do your reading choices come from?

* I use Shelfari mainly to document books I’ve read – past and present.