My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

5 Articles Tagged with “Goodreads”

  1. 10 years of reviewing every book I read

    I reflect on writing over 1400 detailed reviews, one for every book I’ve read since joining Goodreads 10 years ago.

    Back in May 2008 I joined a little website called Goodreads, then privately-owned and managed, which wanted to be the next big social media platform for readers. At first I just played around with the site, rating some books I'd previously read, and keeping track of what I was reading now. I'd write the odd review. Sometime later that year, probably around August or September, I began to review every book I read.

    And now I’ve been doing that for a whole decade.

    So much has changed over that time. Amazon bought Goodreads, and while it hasn't torpedoed the site the way it did Shelfari, our new corporate overlords have been felt (mainly in how much the site hasn't changed). But this post isn’t about that. It isn’t even about how, in the past 10 years, I’ve learned how to knit, graduated from university, lived and taught in England and then moved back to Thunder Bay, started teaching in adult education, bought a house, made new best friends, etc. All that is to say, 10 years in a long time to do anything, and one of the few things that have remained constant during that time is my book…

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  2. Five years of uninterrupted book reviews

    Next March will be my website’s tenth anniversary and also marks the anniversary of when I feel I became a citizen of the Web. I was jealous of my brother’s “MSN account” and demanded one of my own; from there, I taught myself HTML and built a laughable Geocities website. Indeed, you can still read some blog posts from that time. It’s hard to believe I’ve built up such a lengthy catalogue of my thoughts and feelings through essentially my entire adolescence. (It’s also somewhat scary!)

    Of course, that’s next year’s anniversary. Tonight, though, as I posted yet another book review to Goodreads, I realized I missed another arbitrary base-ten milestone anniversary.

    For the past five years, I have written (and shared) a review of every book I’ve read.

    I joined Goodreads in May of 2008 on the recommendation of a friend, who was a casual user of the site. I quickly became passionate about using Goodreads to organize, interrogate, and express how I read. My to-read shelf has since exploded to encompass nearly 900 titles, and it is going to continue growing. At this rate, if I were to read the books in the order they have…

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  3. Thoughts on Amazon buying Goodreads

    Last Thursday my Twitter feed erupted with people talking about Amazon buying Goodreads. As I read the first few, sporadic tweets, I blinked incredulously. Was I reading that right? I scrolled down and saw that I had missed a tweet from the official Goodreads account making the announcement. I followed some links and landed in the feedback forum’s official announcement topic. Two days and more than 800 posts later, a particularly vocal portion of the Goodreads member base has voiced its concern and disappointment over this turn of events. There has been quite a bit of rage-quitting and table-flipping in the past few days.

    I had to admit that, after those first few confused moments, my reaction was similar. Amazon has not exactly had a stellar track record in terms of good corporate citizenship. (To be fair, unlike Google, it has never claimed it wouldn’t be evil.) In particular, Amazon has made no secret of its desire to achieve a monopsony in the book trade. Its acquisition of Goodreads seems like yet another step along that path, a path that I don’t think really benefits consumers. Finally, I share many of the reservations expressed in that topic about how…

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  4. How I read so much

    The year is almost over, and unless I finish a book tomorrow, it looks like I will end 2011 with 115 books read. Not too shabby, I suppose. Far cry from my goal, which was to tie with 2009’s best of 156 books. But still pretty good, all things considered. Indeed, from time to time people exclaim their awe at how much I read. I don’t like to draw too much attention to the quantity, which is after all no indicator of quality, because it feels too much like bragging. But today someone on Goodreads asked me how I manage to read so much, and as I was composing my reply, I realized it was getting too lengthy. Lengthy enough for a blog post, in fact.

    It’s quite simple. I have a time machine, you see, and that allows me to go back in time and spend more time reading throughout the day….

    Well, I wish that weren’t so much science fiction!

    Last year, which was a very good year for me, I averaged 2.6 days per book; this year I have been slightly busier, so I took 3.1 days per book. Considering that most people, i.e., people who do…

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  5. Yay for reading!

    Holy books, Batman!

    Literacy is wonderful. I love reading. I spent most of this summer reading Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, fed to me by my coworker. So I went to the library for the first time this summer last week and got out the books you see in the stack on the right. Three of those books are the second or fifth book in a series, however, so I'll need to read the other books in those series before I can begin reading them. Naturally I made a list of books I wanted to get at the library. However, I forgot the list at home, and I ended up not needing it anyway, because I pretty much took home the New Books shelf, as I often do.

    But first, The Pillars of the Earth! I bought that copy for my friend Carly for Christmas. She foolishly((Never mention to me that you have nothing to read or that you are planning to read book x but don't have it. Many a friend has realized the error of such statements in my presence.)) mentioned that she was intending to read The Pillars of the Earth, and she did indeed have…

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