GoodReads or Bust?

It’s a perfect setting: updating your blog in front of the window while it’s pouring outside. Rainwater cleanse out the cicak (small tropical lizard) droppings outside my bedroom wall. The incoming cool air replace the need of energy-draining A/C inside. But to others who have lost a house or means of transport due to the yearly flooding, they probably would rather say: “Rain, rain, go away, please come back another day.. (or year?)” So while I wait for my CVs to get any notice from some reliable schools (I teach science for middle school, please let me know should you know any vacant teaching position!), I read and update my GoodReads account.

my read shelf:
Virna's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

How to say Goodreads
How to say Goodreads, a photo by PrincessPeach on Flickr.

I wonder if I can change career and become an editor or a writer. Naahh.. as much as I love to read, I still write poorly (this blog is probably a very good example.) While choosing which book is better than the other can be as easy as it sounds, writing a novel, albeit a bad one, would require real talent. So right now I’m just enjoying my presence in GR and some other book review social media sites that keep popping out like mushrooms this season. Booklikes is one of the bunch that I prefer. Another one I’m still tinkering with is Riffle. Wait, there’s a brand new one called Leafmarks – I’ll check it out soon since it’s founded by one of GR’s top reviewer (Emily May.)

Now I don’t intend to leave GR – I’ve spent a lot of my time building my presence there – but I would consider myself a GR refugee should better review site comes along. The reason being:

  • Most reviewers listed as ‘Top 100’ (in country listing, not World) just add the books they used to read in the past without contributing a decent paragraph for the reviewed title. And those reviewers who manage to review 200 books in a month – like, SERIOUSLY? As of Jan. 18, 2014, the record-holder is Eddy Allen (Canada) with 1,457 books reviewed this month. In Indonesia, Indah Lestari stays on top by reviewing 200 books. Is it even remotely possible to read and write a proper review of 100 books/week? Even if you’re a book editor, would you be able to do the feat if those are really 100 pop-up picture books?
  • There’s a growing number of authors as well as reviewers who have become victims of cyber-bullying. Bullying does happen in GR! I’ve read my share of negative reviews, but I’d have to draw the line when it comes to bodily threats (even if it’s only described in writing!) and heavy use of foul languages. Badly-written books are open invitation to badly-written reviews – try write a good thoughtful review of a badly-written books and you’ll have my respect..
  • Most teen reviewers (with raging hormones, I presume) generously use words such as: F–k, hell, motherf–r, omg!, you know the rest.. We know that YA books often use SAT words in such a way that one would think you’re reading the classics. Words such as: candor, erudite, abnegation, amity (I’m your fellow Divergent fans!) I wonder, if these reviewers read the book and understand those SAT words, can’t they at least write something legible that should describe their feelings about a particular title? I should blame the Facebook mentality here..
  • There are reviewers whose existence are just extensions of some aspiring writers desperate to have his or her book gain some positive following, no matter how mediocre the work. I’m currently reading an e-book to be reviewed on GR. By the end of p.42, I’ve dreaded giving this author a (justly-deserved) 2-star, since he’s only gotten less than 10 ratings and my review would wreak havoc in his overall ratings (he’s a GR author as well.)

(His book has a 4.5 star rating at the moment, while one of my favorite novel, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, is currently rated a tad below 4.)

  • Books like Twilight and other YA favorites rule the GR constellation.. though there are some true gems (like all Rainbow Rowell’s books!) Can we then inspire some YA readers to infuse much-needed enthusiasm to some ‘adult‘ titles? Give me some inspiration to pick up books by Eugenides, and you’ll get my ‘like’ in your review..

So if you ask me, I’d like to stay on GR, but about time some geniuses create better sites, hopefully ones where I can easily transfer my GR titles, ratings and reviews with a push of a button!

Black rhino
White rhino, a photo by Manuel ROMARÍS on Flickr.

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