[LET’S CHAT] Goodreads And Why I Don’t Use It

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Lots of people use Goodreads, but I don’t.

Which is funny, because I used to use Goodreads. Like, a lot. It was basically my life for a long while way before I even started blogging, and it was the first place I even entertained the idea of starting a book blog. But, sometime during October of last year, I realized that I really wasn’t enjoying myself, so I quit, promising that I’d come back in the form of a book blog, and lo and behold, I have, and it’s been a much better experience for me.

So, I thought it’d be interesting to make a post about why I don’t use Goodreads because maybe you guys are curious (probably not, but that hasn’t stopped me before).

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reviews and their influence

The more I was on Goodreads, the more I realized that I hated looking at my newsfeed. I’d constantly mute my friends on my feed, I’d ignore it for hours on end, and I’d wish there was some sort of way to just turn it off. Nothing drives me up a wall then being bombarded with 208402 different opinions on a just recently released book that all manage to contradict each other. Sometimes, I just want to read a damn book without being influenced by anyone’s decisions, and cutting Goodreads out of my life definitely changed me for the better. I can finally go into a book blind and without influence so my opinions are my own and I can spend my time reading books that I want to.

I know there are books I gave second chances to – such as The Winner’s Curse – that I just should have left alone because Goodreads loved them SO MUCH, that I was obviously missing something. Soon, after reading the two books again and hating them ten times more than I had the first time I read them, I realized that sometimes the Goodreads community and I just don’t gel. There are only so many times I can see people trashing the books I love while reading the books Goodreads obsesses over and being disappointed before I was just done with it.

And let’s not mention people who bump their reviews 24080284 times a day just so they can get more likes. Excuse me while I try to refrain from throwing my phone against the wall as I see one of my friend’s reviews of a book I don’t care about for the tenth time that day. I WILL NOT LIKE IT, DAMN IT.File_001 (63)

I will say, this both helps and hurts me. I actually did pretty damn well on the reading challenges the past couple of years, and ended up always exceeding my goal pretty quickly. But, the pressure can definitely drive me crazy. I loved the feeling of finishing a book and being able to add it to my “Read” shelf, but all the pressure of it was definitely way too much for me. And I know I could just ignore the reading challenge or put down one book as my goal so I can finish it off within a few days of the new year and just focus on reading, but I’d just rather not even bother with it all.

(Not to mention that if you don’t enter a number, Goodreads will badger you throughout the entire year to join in anyway. I DON’T WANT TO, GOODREADS.)

Also, this year has been terrible for me in terms of reading, so I think it’s on point that I’ve just stopped even knowing how many books I’ve read this year. IT’S FINE, I’M FINE.File_002 (48)

Though Goodreads was a huge part of my life that I used to enjoy, the main reason I quit in October was because it was just too much work to keep up with. The first few months of school last year were super stressful and I was reading pretty fast, so it was hard for me to keep up with all the reviews I had to write and publish, especially as someone who doesn’t like reviewing that much. So, in the end, I quit because I was too busy with school and it was making reading a chore, not to mention that my sort of “popularity” was waning and spending time writing reviews only to get about three likes on them was pretty annoying and not worth it.

I tried again to get back on Goodreads because so many other bloggers talk about how cross-posting is a good way for publishers to pay attention to you to get ARCs, but after a week or so on being back on it, it stressed me out once again. Having to immediately log on to Goodreads and post my review and then take an extra few minutes linking back to my blog only to get little to no hits from it was a huge waste of time. And I wasn’t even going to bother trying to gain a following again on Goodreads because it was too much work. So, I quit – for the second time because of the same reason. And I still get ARCs, so I guess it doesn’t really matter, in the end!

Since I honestly don’t care too much about the whole process enough to put work into it, I realized, “Why waste so much time?”

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And, hopefully, that gave you more insight into why I don’t use Goodreads!

It’s definitely fine that there are people out there who LOVE Goodreads – I feel like I’m in the minority – but it just doesn’t work for me, and I hope this might help some other bloggers out there who are trying to figure out if Goodreads is for them or not!

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Do you use Goodreads? Why or why don’t you use it? What are your feelings about Goodreads?

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[DISCUSSION] Do We Put Too Much Stock in Reviews?

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Yes, it’s that time of the month. That time for my monthly discussion (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do on this blog). Most of these topics (okay, pretty much ALL of these topics) stem from something that has personally bothered me, and I’ve always wanted to hear what other people think about it, because I can’t be the only one, right? And today’s topic is one that I guess is sort of close to my heart, and it’s putting too much stock into other people’s reviews.

(Also, this topic has zero to do with people who still read books that have been called out for being problematic because they want to check it out for themselves. That’s a whole load of BS, but it’s not the point I’m trying to make.)

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I first noticed this problem on Goodreads. Take Goodreads user Emily May. She’s probably one of the biggest and most influential voices on the site, who has the maximum amount of friends and is followed by tens of thousands. People anxiously await what she’ll have to say about upcoming releases. Back when I had a Goodreads account, I followed her. She’s an honest reviewer, and I always know that I’m listening to an opinion that I trust who doesn’t just needlessly snark on every single book they read (cause there are way too many people like that on Goodreads). So, of course, I saw her positive reviews, and her negative reviews.

Nothing is wrong with Emily’s negative reviews. I think most of her criticisms are fair and she doesn’t completely destroy books just because she might hate them. I can disagree with her, and I don’t feel like I’m trash for liking something, like some Goodreads users might make you feel about liking a book they hate. But I noticed a trend that I really hated once the comments started rolling in. There’d always be one person, or even several who said some sort of variation of, “Oh, no, this was one of my most anticipated releases this year! Ah, well, guess I have to take this off my TBR!” 

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For some reason, that statement always rubbed me wrong. Just because one reviewer, even one that you trust, doesn’t like a book you were excited for, that means you won’t pick it up? That means there’s no possible way that you could ever like this and disagree? You won’t even give it a try? And all because of someone’s opinion? And then I realized that this happens a lot, for a whole slew of popular users. Which, of course, made me wonder why.

From my personal experience, I used to do this a lot. I was obsessed with Goodreads, which is funny to look back on. I would try so hard to gain a lot of friends, to get likes on my reviews, etc. If one of my more popular friends hated a book, or rated it one or two stars, I completely ignored it. If they didn’t like, then I obviously wouldn’t like it, right?

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One of the biggest examples of this was with City of Bones. The series was quickly gaining popularity, and I wanted to check it out and see it for myself. Of course, I went to Goodreads, and was met with negative review after negative review after negative review, all saying it was a clear rip-off of the Harry Potter series. I decided to completely denounce the series and vowed that I’d never pick it up. Only a couple of weeks later, I actually read a sample of the first book. I devoured it. It ended on a mini cliffhanger, and I just had to know what would happen next. And before I knew it, I had bought the books that had already come out, I was reading them one after another, and I was completely and totally obsessed. Now I consider Cassandra Clare one of my favorite authors, and I’ve (almost) read all her books. I would’ve missed out on one of my favorite series just because I saw a large majority of negative reviews and believed them all without reading them for myself. 

Last year, in the month of October, I deleted my account for a multitude of reasons. But I remember how happy and how much lighter I felt that I could read any book I wanted without feeling like I had to adhere to popular opinion. Maybe not all people feel this way, but I did, and it’s so much better to go into books without feeling bad for swaying one way or another, maybe even going against the flow. Red Queen was a book I read two summers ago and fell in love with. It got me back into reading, and everyone on Goodreads slaughtered it, making me feel sort of bad for liking it. And with Throne of Glass, where I might’ve skipped out on it if I hadn’t read a sample on iBooks and loved Sarah J. Maas’s writing. And, probably a whole slew of other books like All the Missing Girls and All Is Not Forgotten and The Cursed Child. Like, a lot of books. Not to mention that I hate a lot of books that Goodreads love, continually making me ask what was wrong with me, if I was missing something that was so obvious.

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Do I understand why people will take a book off their TBR because of seeing a negative review? Totally. Some people don’t have all the money in the world to buy books, and don’t feel like wasting money; some people just really trust that person; some people don’t feel like wasting their time; or maybe there’s some other mysterious reason as to why all their stock is put into one single reviewer. Even I myself have done it from time to time.

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BUT, I wish that sometimes, we as bookworms could be a bit more open-minded, and not completely close ourselves off from something just because a lot of people don’t like it. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it. Maybe it’ll be your new obsession. Maybe it’ll get you out of that reading slump or make you happier when you’re having a crap day. Let’s stop feeling so afraid to be in a little party of one, even if people might look at you as “less than” for it. 

(Trust me, someone will totally be there to fangirl with you. Always.)

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How do you feel about this topic? Do you feel like people put too much stock into other people’s reviews? What makes you take a book off your TBR (besides bad author behavior and being problematic)? I’d love to know your thoughts!

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