How I Use Goodreads (and Why I'm Obsessed)

My whole reading life changed the day I downloaded Goodreads. I'm not kidding! This one app/site has singlehandedly been the biggest game changer in my reading life, and for more than a few reasons!

My friend Taylor shared a post like this a few months back, and it was so helpful to see how someone else used this site. (Her site is offline for the time being, but I'll add the link when it's back up, since it's so helpful to see other examples!) 

Okay, so Goodreads.

Here's what I love about it:


Keeping track of everything I'm reading is a breeze.

Keeping track of my reading is a breeze! I add my ratings (out of 5 stars) to every book once I've finished it, and I'll copy and paste the reviews from my monthly blog posts into Goodreads once that post goes live, too, so it's all in one place. You can hide reviews if you include spoilers, which is nice when you're reading through reviews from friends! 

I'll add books to whatever shelves are relevant (such as 2017 Rad Reads + fiction). I love seeing the dates of when I started reading and when I finished, and you can now add multiple reading dates if you re-read something!

I use my shelves like CRAZY and find that it's the most helpful organization feature. As you can see above, I have a whole long list of shelves based on years (like the 2017 Rad Reads shelf) and genres (like YA or diverse authors) and a few specific ones (like my #collaboreads shelf).

The nice thing about Goodreads is that they'll give you recommendations, and you can select specific shelves for that tool! It's great to go into my fiction shelf and get specific recommendations for that shelf based on what I've already read -- it's super personalized and really helpful!

(PS-- the mmd-2017 shelf is my reading challenge for this year! check out my game plan for it HERE!)


Reading challenges:

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The reading challenge has made me step up my reading game SO DANG MUCH. I swear, if it weren't for that challenge, I wouldn't have nearly the level of motivation I've had these last few post-grad years!

Checking in on my reading challenge most days is really a kick in the pants -- it tells you "You're on track!" or "You're 2 books behind schedule!" or "You're 1 book ahead of schedule!" depending on how much you've been reading and what your goal is, and that's often just what I need to shut down Netflix and grab a book instead.

As you can see above, I started these reading challenges in 2015 with the goal to read 50 books that year. Having that goal made me fall in love with reading for fun again (anyone else agree that college reading sucks all the fun out of books for a while?) and I CRUSHED that goal! Reading 84 books that year was SO encouraging as I set my 2016 goal -- and I raised it twice over the year to get to a total of 153 books read. This year, I didn't think I could keep up the momentum... but I'm on track to hit 200 books in 2017 (fingers crossed).

The app:

The app is SO handy -- I use the Scan tool (far right picture) to quickly scan the barcodes of what I'm reading to add it to my "currently reading" shelf, I track my updated progress (first picture) as I'm reading to see how far I am through the book (that percentage is just so nice to know, for some reason), and I add books to other shelves once I'm done reading, too. 

I often pull up the app to see what's on my to-read shelf when I'm at the library or my local bookstore, and it's so great having everything recorded in one place when I'm on the go. I can look up authors and see what I've read by them and how I felt about it, I can see reviews from friends on books I'm considering getting, etc. SO HELPFUL.

I love checking my reading challenge progress here too (third picture) -- the only thing I miss is that "you're on track!" line so I know where I'm at beyond just the number of books read and the percentage completed.

I can see recommendations, look at best books from past years, see what my friends are reading, and so much more in the app -- it's one of my favorites!

Other things I love:

  • Seeing reviews from friends. Often, I'll search for a book I'm thinking about reading, and it's great to see what friends thought (even if they just have their star rating listed and nothing further). It's not a deal breaker if friends didn't love it, but it's great to get a sense of what people thought!
  • It's like social media for bookish people. The newsfeed on Goodreads is so fun -- seeing what people are reading, what progress they've made, etc is great and definitely motivates me to read more, too.
  • Giveaways. I've yet to win one, but there are TONS of giveaways for books on Goodreads! Fingers crossed I win someday.
  • Knowing how many books I've read in my life. I spent a day and tried to remember/browse around to add books I've read in my lifetime, and it's an ongoing process, but super fun to have all those things listed in one place.
  • Tracking my to-read list. I hear about books I want to read every single day, and while my to-read list is super out of control, I love having it all just a click away on my app.

Do you use Goodreads? Have another book-tracking tool you like more? Tell me all the things!