|J. D. Salinger reading The Catcher in the Rye, |
At first, when I was invited to join the bandwagon and jump on another social networking site, I was hesitant. I spent enough time on Facebook as it was, trying to stay connected with friends and family, and with others who were working in creative industries with whom I could trade notes with about craft and process and reading recommendations etc. Plus, staying involved in these online communities was a job in itself, making me wish I had an intern at my disposal to handle such business.
As a writer, one needs to not only block out time and distractions to actually write, but they must demand that this the most important part of the equation. All the other stuff happens when you actually have work or "product" to market, and I would never advise trying to put the cart before the horse. And while all these other outlets and tools are useful, honing your art in the most basic of ways--sitting your ass down in a chair and getting the words on paper--is what any writer should be focused on.
So, it eventually got to the point where my email box was flooded with all these invites to Goodreads, and basically to quiet the party, I signed up. What I found interesting, at once, was to see what my friends were reading. Some of their book lists actually surprised or made sense to me, and yet with others, I was quite literally baffled.
Over the years, I have found that I am pretty lousy at recommending books to friends and acquaintances, because I've all but realized my taste and relationship for certain pieces of literature, may very well differ from the preferences of other audiences. Reading and books have an associated feeling of intimacy. When one gives a person the gift of a book, they have not only evaluated this person's interests and personal experiences, but they have made the assumption they know this person enough to know what they will connect with or appreciate.
The reason Goodreads has been a fantastic tool for me, is because it keeps my "must read" list in order and organized, so when I'm in a bookstore browsing I can either track my purchases, or I can add other books that I will eventually want to go back for. My online list also holds me accountable for the books I begin and have to muscle my way through to finish, the incentive being: checking off another read, (feeling the reward of sticking with it and gaining knowledge), and rating it for others who are contemplating picking it up for themselves.
What am I reading right now, do you ask? http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/16214533-sarah-caouette