G is for GoodReads; that’s good enough for me.

Last week’s post was all about the strange, unsettling feeling of reading bad reviews. So to switch things up a bit, this week’s is all about good- the good reviews, written by good writers, at GoodReads.com.

Never heard of GoodReads.com? You should definitely check it out. It’s a site for people who want book reviews written by people who actually read on a regular basis, and know what they like. In my opinion, it’s got the most accurate and insightful reviews on the internet. And I’m not just saying that because the GoodReads people have taken kindly to my book.

Simply put, GoodReads is for good readers. GoodReads reviewers are (almost) never trashy, never rude, or personal. They review books how English professors might – with an eye for style and a great reference library of good books already floating around in their heads. The comments they leave reveal not only the plot but the voice and the tone- things that, strangely enough, are often overlooked on other sites. They approach books as things of potential literary value- which is what they are, of course.

As far as I can tell, GoodReads does tend to skew low- looking at reviews for a book I read and loved (American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld- not appropriate for kids but a wonderful and thought-provoking read for adults), and comparing them around the site, I think 3 out of 5 stars is frequently considered an A-: people will sometimes write what I would consider a rave, even, and give it 3 out of 5 stars. Rather peculiar. But know this, or ignore the star-ratings altogether, and you’ll find it to be an incredibly useful resource.

Here are just a few of the ones that really touched me from my own page:

“It looks like the story of a magical bond between a father and his daughter — and there’s some of that in here — but “The Reading Promise” is more than that. It’s really the beautifully honest story of a real, imperfect, utterly human family, broken by circumstance, and the father and daughter who strengthen their bond through the power of a promise. Read it and be inspired.”

“This is such a great book. Heartwarming and funny. Charming and at times heartbreaking. Ms. Ozma infuses each moment with wit and personality. She is a fantastic writer, and you can feel her love of literature permeate throughout the memoir. I don’t normally like memoirs, but this is quickly becoming my second favorite (next to Running With Scissors πŸ˜‰ ). PICK THIS UP NOW :)”

“A wonderful book. I have to admit I didn’t like it at first because it wasn’t what I expected. I’m not sure what I did expect because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed a detailed analysis of all of the books Alice and her dad read. Thank goodness that wasn’t it at all. Instead I got a wonderful memoir about Alice’s childhood and how she grew up with a very loving and fun dad.”

These reviews say so much about the site as a whole.. what they went in expecting versus what they got. What they usually tend to read, and how this compares. What to expect, but not what happens. GoodReads reviews are generally well-written, thoughtful, and sincere. It’s a site for true readers, and I’d give it five stars.

Published in: on May 16, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Alice,
    Just totally focus on the good reviews, the others are
    just sour grapes!

    I’m glad your Dad is on Harmony and Match—stand back,
    you’re going to be sharing him from now on! Tell him
    to choose a good one!

  2. I love Goodreads. πŸ™‚ I think people who go there truly love reading and books.

    Because authors are there as well, I think people consider that when writing about books. (Whereas they can do “drivebys” on, say, amazon.)

    As for the three stars, I bet some people save 5 stars for The Absolute BEST Book I Have Ever Read-type thing, so, yeah. Three stars can be an A-.

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