(14/1/17) Is Goodreads changing the way I read?

I love to read. ADORE it. And I have since I was first able to read. My mam always talks about how as children, me and brother always had books around us, and that’s why we both read so much now.

But I remember as a child, probably around 6 or 7, being in Waterstones for ages in the children’s section, trying to pick out what I wanted to spend my pocket money on. Even as I grew up, I would spend just as long browsing the shelves of my local bookstore, always took more than enough books on holiday with me in the days before e-readers, and was always building my to-read list up to ridiculous heights.

And I still love reading.

But nowadays, I find myself perusing the shelves of bookshops for books I’ve heard about, books that are already on my wishlist. I don’t go in, see a pretty cover, pick it up and read the back. I don’t take chances on books anymore. If I find a book I haven’t heard of, I’ll head straight over to the Goodreads app on my phone and check it out.

And what I’m checking out is the star rating, to see if it’s high enough for me to take the risk on, and if any of my Goodreads friends have read and rated it, especially a select few whose book recommendations I take very seriously.

And I miss the days of wandering aimlessly round a book shop, taking my time on choosing what to buy. So why don’t I do this any more? Probably because, thanks to Goodreads, I have found so many more books that I do want to read, and that I have books coming out of my ears and a to read list longer than my arm, and so I can’t justify buying books that I haven’t researched, that I don’t think I’ll enjoy, or that just haven’t got that good ratings or reviews.

But I LOVE Goodreads. I have found SO MANY of my favourite books on there over the past couple of years, especially books which I don’t think I would have found from strolling through Waterstones because of their country of origin, or them not being available in the UK, or maybe just because they’re from lesser known publishers and maybe it’s harder to find them in store sometimes.

So don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing Goodreads in this post. I just think that maybe I would like to learn to take a step back and take a chance. There are books on Goodreads that I’ve thought sounded good, read because I thought they’d be good, and they turned out to be my favourite books, that I thought were amazing – but others don’t. So ratings and reviews aren’t the end of the world – and I know that, but sometimes it feels like I don’t have enough time in the world to read all the amazing books out there and I need to focus on the good ones. But that doesn’t mean that the good ones, at least the good ones to me, aren’t hidden away under reviews of people who like different books to me.



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