As a social media editor, I basically spend all my waking hours on the Internet and am addicted to all social media platforms. Snapchat? You bet. Twitter? Always logged in. Facebook? Making a status update right now. But if I am truly honest about what my favorite social network is, especially on my own time, I’d have to make a slightly nerdy confession: I’m obsessed with my GoodReads account.
GoodReads is like Yelp meets Facebook for the literary set, which is basically the best combination ever. I can follow my best friend’s progress on the biography of Zelda Fitzgerald while also seeing what my favorite writer, Kiese Laymon, has reviewed, and then I can “like” and comment on my college professor’s reading list. If I get tired of any of that, I can dive into an author interview or review GoodReads quotes, which is very handy when you’re trying to find that exact quote from that one book you read five years ago. Basically, it’s literary heaven, and I am here for it.
I’ve also found that it’s a good way to keep myself accountable, by tracking and reviewing the books that I’ve read and making a list of the books that I want to read, whether by suggestion or finding it through the feed. I actually started using my GoodReads account this summer after I realized that I hadn’t finished a book in a few months; I’d pick up a book, read it until I got busy or bored, and then never pick it up again. I decided that I was going to try to read a book a week, which has actually gone swimmingly for most of this year, thanks to my GoodReads account, where I faithfully chart my progress with every book.
My favorite part of GoodReads, however, are the groups that you can join. Within these groups (some of which are created by GoodReads and others by users), you can participate in forum discussions, get book recommendations, and see what other people with similar interests are reading. In case you want to get a jump start on your own GoodReads account, I’ve selected the top groups that you should be following.
- The F-Word: This group is for “anyone who loves to read and identifies as a feminist.” Expect great feminist literature from authors that skew from classic (Virginia Woolf) to contemporary (Roxane Gay), as well as thoughtful insights and suggestions from the group members on the discussion board. It’s a great way to fight the patriarchy while supporting woman/feminist writers.
- What’s the Name of That Book?: Ever want to read a book, but you can’t remember anything about it, save for a few random details? This is the group for you. The discussion board is filled with vague plot twists, character descriptions, and requests for titles.
- Addicted to YA: Young Adult literature is one of my guilty pleasures, and this group only serves to fuel it. You’ll find at-length dissections of John Green next to heated discussions about Harry Potter plotlines. The discussion board is one of the best-organized on the site, with categories for heroes/heroines, debates, series, romances, and the like.
- Around the World in 80 Books: Consider this your guide to world and travel literature. With more than 9,000 active members from around the world, the selections are diverse, and the reading is enlightening. Also cool: Group members track where they have traveled in the world through what they’ve read, from Algeria to Zimbabwe.
- Food and Fiction: If there’s anything that I love as much as reading, it’s definitely food. This group combines a love of cooking and eating with reading. Look for discussions of food in famous novels, as well as literary-themed recipes.