Thursday, May 24, 2012

Will you be our friend?

I know that nosy friends are supposed to be interested in what's in the medicine cabinet. That never had any appeal for me: not only does it seem like a huge invasion of privacy, but it doesn't really tell me anything about my friend other than, perhaps, that he struggles with acid reflux or that she prefers Crest over Colgate. No, for me, the place to nose around is right in the open. The first time I'm in a friend's house, you'll likely see me facing the bookshelf with my head at a 90-degree angle trying to read the titles. Aside from the uncomfortable crick that occasionally develops in my neck, I find scanning others' bookshelves to be a very rewarding experience. I can get a sense of what we have in common and get recommendations for books I wouldn't have thought of reading or hadn't heard of before.

The problem with this method, of course, is that a) you have to be invited to the person's house to see the bookshelf and hope that it's in plain view so you don't have to poke around the house looking for it and 2) it only tells you about the books the person owns. This means that if you read a lot of library books (and don't we all?), you don't get to see most of the books your friend is reading. Plus, there's the added danger of seeing books that have been given to a person as a gift but are really not something that they would ever choose to read of their own volition (not that I have any like that on my shelves...).

The solution? Goodreads.com is a social media site designed to keep you and your friends in the loop on what you're reading and what you think about it. You, in turn, get to see their feedback on what they're reading. It's a great resource to keep up-to-date with a much wider variety of books. We've set up our own account and we'd like to be friends with you. Those of us who write for the Fine Print blog have all got our own shelf and we're adding titles that we've been reading. We'd like to see what you like and what you don't, too.  If you're on Goodreads, think of adding us as a friend. Our username is "wclibrary," so look for us and we'll let the book discussions begin. Best of all, you can look at the screen straight-on, so you won't get a crick in your neck!

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