Sunday, February 26, 2017

I am a reader

I don't mean someone who reads.  I mean someone who voraciously devours books.  During our snow week a few weeks ago I made three trips to the library starting Tuesday when I figured out that we were in for the long haul.  The first day I read three books and returned them to the library on Wednesday.  To be fair, they were mystery and science fiction novels which are quick reads, but still...

Right about now, you are undoubtedly thinking to yourself, also long winded and a braggart, but I'm not telling you this to brag about my reading skills (although they are pretty impressive :-) but to talk about a flaw in Goodreads.

One of the problems with reading a lot is that it is easy to forget what you have read.  I have read every book by Dick Francis, every book by Robert B. Parker, every Louis L'Amour novel and short story, well the list goes on and on.  Not a big deal when they are dead.  I read all their books, generally in order, and I'm done.  I may even go back and re-read a few because I'm not picky that way so long as I can be entertained for a couple hours.  I've read Lord of the Rings at least forty times.  (That is a special case because it used to be the only book I'd take on long car trips with the family so when I finished at the end I just started again at the beginning.)  I collect books but not all of them because a) it would be expensive and b) I don't have room in my house for all the books I've read.  I'm not a big fan of e-books although I have a Nook and I have the Kindle app on my tablet.  Mostly I like e-books when traveling or doing errands (never go anywhere without a book because you never know when you might have to sit and wait).  Otherwise I will read them if that is the only option or if I can get it now on ebook but would have to wait days for the library to order me the paper copy.  It is harder to catalog the books you own (for me) and harder to browse through looking for something to read (for me) when they are just lists of titles instead of spines on a bookshelf.

Years ago I tried to start a diary of what I read.  I was probably fifteen or so.  A daunting task even then but made more daunting by the fact that I could either organize chronologically (useless from a reference standpoint) or organize alphabetically (useless unless I was willing to invest in a card filing system) and so either way I gave up fairly quickly.  Same problem a few years later with the same results, an even more daunting task since I had, by then, read more books.

So who cares, other than compulsive list makers (yes that's me).  Well, I forget which books I've read.  Author I like, find a book I haven't read, get all excited, ten pages in "this seems awfully familiar".  Sometimes I'll find a new author.  Grab the book.  Ten pages in "...".  Or, even worse, I'll read a book, really enjoy it, then I'll completely forget about the author because they haven't written a book in a couple years and I don't, therefore, get their new books when they come out.  I may never remember that I read the one book and enjoyed it so I miss out on further reading.  (Believe me, that's not a good thing when  you read this much.  You run out of stuff to read.)  Or I just forget where I am in a series and end up either missing a book or ... yeah, the whole ten pages thing.

Enter Goodreads.  Open a free account, find a book, click the "I've Read It" button, and voila.  A list of books you've read.  Have I read this one?  Don't know, check my list.  Any new books by authors I've read?  Don't know, check my list.

Enter problem.  I've read so many books that every once in a while I try to add more to my "Books I've Read" list.  All the Dick Francis books, for example.  All 96 of them.  One at a time.  Right click, select Shelf, wait.  Next.  Booriing.

Wish there was a way to say "Hey I've read every book by this author".  Bam!  We have a winner!  It's that easy!  There doesn't seem to be and if there is I can't find it in the help files and all the discussion forums seem to be about books (oddly enough for a website devoted to reading).  I wish they'd had this when I was twelve.  They'd need a bigger server.

Oh well.  To quote from the classics "It doesn't matter.  I'll probably get hit by a car anyway."


Ame A said...

i love to read and always have a book with me. a couple years ago i got a kindle paperwhite for christmas. i originally couldn't imagine reading books on an ereader, but i've come to love it.

reading was a daily part of mothering my girls from the time they were born. i have children's books we read together that i can't bare to part with :)

my oldest is a voracious reader like you, and her private collection of books is very precious to her.

my youngest enjoys books but needs to have the audio as she's severely dyslexic.

NotClauswitz said...

It seems like they could do that with a small tweak, for non-living authors at any rate. I suppose monitoring newly "discovered" books produced by the estate of some authors might present a miniscule problem with that.