Tuesday, April 5, 2022

A Reading Tool -- Goodreads


Unlike many during the pandemic, I found it difficult to concentrate enough to read a book, let alone write one. Deep down, I felt this loss. It is through reading that I exercise my mind and at the same time escape reality for a bit. I've long been a member of Goodreads but aside from using it as a writer's tool, I've never used it as a reader's tool. That changed in January.

Aside from being able to see what your friends are reading, and maybe find some good books, there are also many reviews online for independently authored books that are generally worth reading. I’ll provide a warning here that not all reviews are worth reading, as I detailed on my blog but, it only takes a few minutes to sort out genuinely bad books from just bad reviews.

Thanks to my membership in a Book Club, I was already being steered to some pretty good books. That was when I found the reading tool inside of Goodreads which lets you track your progress through a book either by page numbers read or percentage. It may seem like a minor thing that you could actually do a lot of different ways, but something about it being organized inspired me to make reading a habit again. Using the tool, I have a goal of completing 10% of any book I'm reading, every time I pick it up.

Generally, I read three books at once. One is a novel, one is nonfiction or some kind of self-improvement, and one is humorous. It is a balance of genres that I've had for many years and that works well for me. More than anything, it gives me an escape from one book to another if I find myself losing interest. Currently, I am reading the novel Dead in Their TracksThe Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life, and a collection of humorous and poignant stories called Keys to the City: Tales of a New York City Locksmith. It may seem like a really strange selection of books for one person, but there is variety in the way each came to me.

The first book is this month's choice for my Book Club. I heard about the Jesuit’s Guide while listening to a podcast while traveling (sorry the name escapes me now). Finally, the author of Keys to the City (James Martin) was doing a reading of the book on the radio and I found the story about Tarzan intriguing enough to seek out the book.

What am I really saying here? Be a reader. It improves your mind, it gives you an escape and gives you something to discuss at a boring dinner party if you need a topic. There are literally zillions of books available at your fingertips – – pick one up and read it. Not only read that one, make it a habit to read at least a few times a week if not daily. Your mind will thank you. The authors will thank you. And that other person's board at the dinner party they will also thank you.


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