|Organizing the mess?|
I don't use Goodreads all that often or all that well. I signed up years ago but never really took advantage of the site for anything more than a way to keep track of what books I read. Usually I don't even add details like dates - the when always seems to define itself in my mind - and limit my shelves to the standard offered ones.
I'm uneducated about much regarding my Goodreads page. On the one hand, I recognize that a lot of book bloggers use this tool, both on the social level but also for categorization. Book social networking sites provide readers with different takes on book categorization. (it should be noted I focus on Goodreads as it is the most popular of the free sites, even if it lacks the categorization wonder and depth of LibraryThing, which requires payment)
What are the correct uses for Goodreads? Friending internet strangers because you liked a review they wrote? Connecting with fellow book bloggers? Tagging the books you've read in an organized manner however you want? Or simply maintaining a list of books read with the rare review and the occasional personal comment (eBook, date read, etc.)? At this point, I've added over 600 books to my Goodreads account, including books I read as a child, series I've forced myself to complete and even the occasional textbook I've studied from.
I suppose part of it is a lack of appeal for definitions and fixed facts. Ratings are flexible - I can amend them if needed (and do so frequently when my opinion of a book changes over time). Reviews are multi-faceted - they express the thinking behind the reader. But shelves? Genres are so flexible and ever-changing... how can I just come up with a bunch of genres that ought to make sense to other readers within such tight confines?
A few months ago, I sorted my Calibre eBook library. One of the most difficult tasks was tagging the books. In this case,these are books I haven't read. Their titles reveal little. I have trouble remembering their authors and their titles. One of the ways I organized the books was by genre. Another was century. A third still was region. For the most part, regional and genre bookshelves were given silly and eccentric titles (not something that works as well on Goodreads).
Doing something like this for my Goodreads library just doesn't click. I can't really see it happening. But if that's the case, is there something else I should be doing with Goodreads? Am I truly misusing the site, ignoring its primary uses? Is this even possible? It leads me to wonder how most readers use their book social networking site of choice. Do they, like me, maintain anonymity and avoid any personal disclosures? Or do most prefer to take advantage of the tools and choices offered to them, writing numerous reviews and sharing titles?