Wednesday, 14 March 2012 What is it & how can it help you readers

bookshelf community on goodreads
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What is it?

I told one of my juniors about goodreads and he said, “That is what i was looking for from such a long time.” 
For some people it just fills a void.

Goodreads is a world’s largest site for book readers and recommendations. It allows you to 
  • build a list of books. Ex. Read, To read and Currently reading are the default shelves
  • rate and review those books
  • find out what your friends are reading
  • get recommendations
  • form book clubs and groups
  • facebook sync

It is an extension of the belief of Otis Chandler, the founder, that reviews and recommendations about books were more valuable and more accurate when they came from friends instead of the computer generation “If you read this, you might like this” that is so common on sites like Amazon.(Though such recommendations are now available on Goodreads as well)

The bookshelf IIT Roorkee community
We, at bookshelf are trying to bring together the book lovers in IIT Roorkee together and the start is encouraging...

  1. You can check out the books of people in the community to see what they have read and how they have rated books. 
  2. You can also find your friends on this community.
  3. Then there are discussions as well...
  4. and a few more gadgets like shelf for the whole group or polls to check what people think.

Join in. We would love to have you as a part of the community!

Facebook connect: the app
Goodreads blends very well with facebook, specially if you have a timeline.
You can simply log in via your facebook account to goodreads and start building up your catalog.
If you want, it will start showing your activity on your timeline, which is cool (and safe) as the stuff is related to books anyways.
The feed on your timeline can be in many forms:
1. Your activity for the month.
2. The book you are currently reading.
3. Some book you have rated. 

Other cool stuff...
There is a lot of other things you can do at goodreads. Let's have a look at a few...
1. Get reviews of friends: When you look up for a book on goodreads, at the beginning, you'll see the ratings of your friends which can help you make a decision. 
Though over a course of time, I've realized that people can have very different and distinct tastes in books, and a thumbs up or down from a friend doesn't really guarantee if you'll enjoy the book or not. But it sure is a good lead generally.

2. Check what a friend has read: If you know someone to be a frequent reader, you can straight away go to his/her read shelf and see what he has read till new and how s/he has rated the book.

3. Get recommendations: After you have rated a certain number of books, you will be getting recommendations of books directly from goodreads based upon your reading history and the books you liked and hated.

4. Compare book: You can compare your books with a friend's. The snapshot below explains it the best.
One column shows my friends rating and the other one my own. 

5. Currently Reading: You can have a look at what books others are currently reading and their progress (if the user chooses to update it). You can update your current reads as well.

6. The Reading Challenge: It's a cool way to challenge yourself to read more.

7. The Goodreads community: Goodreads is the world's largest site for book readers and recommendations. As of December 2011, Goodreads had more than 6,700,000 members who have added more than 230,000,000 books to their shelves. So you will find the finest readers here and pretty good communities and book clubs according to your specific interests. 
In fact this one review is wholly responsible for me starting Midnight's children amid the criticisms (don't hesitate to skip it if you're not interested, its just an example)
Midnight's Children is not at all a fast read; it actually walks the line of being unpleasantly the opposite. The prose is dense and initially frustrating in a way that seems almost deliberate, with repeated instances of the narrator rambling ahead to a point that he feels is important--but then, before revealing anything of importance, deciding that things ought to come in their proper order. This use of digressions (or, better put, quarter-digressions) can either be attributed to a charmingly distractable narrator or a vehicle for (perhaps cheaply) tantalizing the reader... or both. 
I'll admit that at first I didn't appreciate being so persistently manipulated. Many times in the first few chapters I found myself closing the book in anger, thinking to myself "If the story is worth it, this tactic is utterly unnecessary." 
The tactic, it turns out, is unnecessary. The book--the story--is stunning. It's stunning enough that the frustrating aspects of the telling are forgivable and actually retrospectively satisfying (which I suspect is what the author wanted). While the fractional digressions, on the one hand, can have you groping around for a lighter--they, on the other hand, work to accustom you to the novel's epically meandering pace. Also, they effectively allow you to feel a certain urgency near the end of the book, as the narrator "runs out of time." 
The imagery is lush; the characters are curiously, magically lopsided; the language is complicated and beautiful; the chapters are nicely portioned despite the initial plodding pace; the narrative is deliberately allegorical, which perhaps suggests an enhanced enjoyment of the work after studying a bit of Indian history. Elements of the story's frame (the narrator writing in a pickle factory with sweet Padma reading along) are particularly amusing, and the chapter entitled "In the Sundarbans" is nothing short of breathtaking. 
The book will go slow in the beginning; the book means to; give it patience--it's worth it, I think.

There are countless other things such as widgets which you can put up on your blogs, lists, quotes and quizzes...

There plenty more out there if you want to explore
For the mavens and the nerdsIf you have reached this point and still hungry for more, you can go through the following presentation. It is a long one and can become a drag due to its length.
Goodreads: How People Discover Books Online
View more presentations from PatrickBR

Finally is a pretty good tool to discover new books through friends and catalog the old ones.
If your book count is at least twice your age, you ought to be there.
Specifically, for IIT Roorkee junta we are trying to develop a community which you can join to check what others from the campus are reading.

So if you have anything to say about goodreads, bookshelf or the blog, just drop a comment...