“Young cat, if you keep your eyes open enough, oh, the stuff you would learn! The most wonderful stuff!” ~ I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, by Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham: My Favorite Dr. Seuss Book

 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.”

“Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” ~  Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, by Dr. Seuss

One of my regular readers recommended a site that she thought I might find interesting. It’s called Goodreads, and it is a social network for readers. With over 1.2 million members, the site provides a way for members to create their virtual bookshelves.

Dr Seuss Oh The Thinks You Can ThinkAt first glance, I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to expend the time or energy on yet another social network. Within three minutes, I was hooked. I have spent the last two days on and off the site. My current pain level, which is hovering between 7 and 8 (out of 10), is making it pretty nigh impossible for me to sit for extended periods (another reason for the laxity in my postings).

Goodreads has proven to be a wonderful balm to my brain. Essentially, it works like this: The site contains the information on over 49 million books (yes, that’s million). By information, I mean everything: the publishing date, the ISBN, information n the publisher, author, genre, number of pages, etc.

Members of the site can search by genre or by lists that are generated by site members. For example, I jumped on lists called “The Book Was Better Than The Movie,” “Books You Must Read Before You Die,” “Best Books Ever,” “Best Science Fiction,” and many, many more. Then I did some searching by genre: classics, biography, crime. As you read through the lists, you rate books that you have read, which automatically adds the books to your personal shelf. You can also highlight books that you want to put on your “to read” list, as well as books that you are in the midst of reading.

If for some reason Goodreads does not contain a book that you have read or in which you are interested, you can add a book. You need to know as much about the book as possible, as in, have it next to  you when you are adding it so that you can consult the publication information page.

I have to admit, though, a few books that I thought that I wouldn’t find were actually already listed.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, by Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss I Can Read With My Eyes ShutOne thing that I did not do a lot of was to create reviews of the books that I added to my shelf. At first, I added a few short reviews here and there, but then I decided that I wanted to save the reviewing until after I had completed my first pass at compiling a semi-complete list. That way, I can spend some time on the reviews and add thoughtful comments.

The reviews are intended to help other members in evaluating whether or not they might want to read a book. Since I read book reviews all of the time, I think that this is a great idea. Of course, these reviews are not intended to be comprehensive. Instead, they should be on the short side, something quick and dirty, so to speak.

Another aspect of the site that I haven’t checked out yet is the whole idea of “friends.” I’m not sure how you make them, if you have to make them, if you appear hostile if you don’t actively search for them. Whatever. But apparently, the whole idea of creating a virtual bookshelf is so that your friends can see what you are reading, and check out what you have to say about it. I suppose I’ll get to that sooner or later, as well.

“It’s high time you were shown That you really don’t know All there is to be known.” ~ On Beyond Zebra, by Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss On Beyond ZebraI have a feeling that I am going to like this site. It’s somewhat of a bibliophile’s dream site: pictures of books, lists and lists of books, opinions of books—everything but the book itself.

Just in my few short visits, I have already added 653 books. And that doesn’t really reflect all of the classics that I haven’t gone through, or biographies, or poetry, or . . .

I checked out all of the site information (posted at the bottom of the page. Goodreads offers advertising opportunities for authors who want to promote their book(s), allows giveaways, etc. There is also a site blog that is maintained by the individuals who work on the site. In addition, Goodreads posts job openings for their site for anyone who might be interested and qualified. And of course, there is a method for contacting the site with questions or comments.

“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.” ~ Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

I just wanted to add one of my little bits of personal history here as it directly bears on why I think that Goodreads is such a great find:

Dr Seuss Oh The Places Youll GoWhen I left my job at the Museum (left is such a nice word: laid off because of severe budget cuts is more accurate), I decided to spend more time on my freelance writing and editing. A very good friend of mine at the time decided to expand his business empire (loose use of word) by opening a men’s clothing store. The idea was that I would work for him by managing the store, and he would provide an office in which I could work on my writing. The space he provided was very roomy, and it contained several built-in bookshelves.

I nested immediately, as I am prone to do in any space that I occupy. Part of that nesting included bringing in my writer’s reference books, and since I had so many shelves, I also brought in my poetry collection. In all, I had about 150 books in my office.

Now I need to stop here to insert a very important fact: the building in which the store was located was very old. The heater was this huge monstrosity that was mounted to the ceiling. I was always in fear that the heating unit would fall on me because it never looked very sturdy.

The usual routine was that I would open the store every day, and around 2 in the afternoon, after his restaurant’s lunch rush, the owner would come by to check on things. One afternoon, I was sitting in my office space, and the owner was on the sales floor. The two were only divided by a three-quarter wall that did not go to the ceiling. I heard my friend calling my name, but I was very engrossed in something, so I did not respond immediately. Then he called me again, and I detected a not of panic in his voice.

“The store is on fire,” he said. I just stood there frozen. Finally, he yelled at me that we had to get out. I quickly grabbed the pictures of my family from my desk, and one framed photograph that was very old. I took a second to look around, realizing that everything on those shelves was about to be obliterated.

My friend grabbed my arm and hustled me out the front door. We got outside, and someone called the fire department. At this point, I think that I must have been in shock because I grabbed the handle to the front door and opened it. All I saw was black smoke. One of the firefighters later told me that I could have caused a flashpoint and an explosion if I had let enough oxygen into the room.

“So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a great balancing act.” ~ Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss Cat in the HatThey were able to stop the fire without much destruction to the building, which made the other tenants pretty happy. Once we were let back inside, the fire investigator was standing under the heating unit shaking his head. It was pretty obvious what had started the fire: the coil that attached the heater to the electrical source was old and bent, and as a result, it had sparked, and since the store was full of lots of burnable material, that is, clothes, it didn’t take long for the spark to turn into a fire.

After the firefighters had declared it safe to go back into the building, I walked through the piles of wet clothes on the showroom floor towards the door to my office. I had remembered to close it when I walked out. I admit that I was completely paralyzed by the image of what might lay beyond that closed door. Amazingly, none of my books or pictures had burned, but everything was severely smoke damaged.

In the end, many of my books were able to be saved because I used my homeowner’s policy to cover my personal damage. The insurance company sent someone out to my house to evaluate the status of my belongings. Fortunately, there was a process that the cleaning company used whereby they wiped every single page of a book with some kind of wipe that removed the smoke smell and soot from the pages.

The other good thing was that I had kept an inventory of all of the books that I had taken to the office, so I was able to reconcile my inventory with what made it out of the burned store.

“Oh the things you can find if you don’t stay behind.” ~ On Beyond Zebra, by Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss One Fish Two FishI mention all of this for two reasons: First, I have never updated my book inventory. I have plans to do so once we finally finish the remodeling of the house, and I have the built-in bookcases that Corey promised me.

Second, and this is very significant, I can now use Goodreads to create an online inventory of all of my books. I cannot recall every book that I own from memory, but by scanning the site’s inventory, I will be able to create a very good online inventory.

How will it be accurate, you ask? Well, I may have mentioned that I’m a bibliophile, and I am also a hoarder of a few things, one of them being books. I buy every book that I read, and I never give away books unless I absolutely hated them. So just about every book on my virtual bookshelf will be a book that I have in my possession, even though in possession at the moment means in storage containers.

“If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.” ~ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss

So, if you love books as much as I do, be sure to check out Goodreads. You can click on the link in the paragraph above. And if you decide to join, don’t forget to friend me (friend as a verb? appalling), or whatever it is you do to let someone know that you visited.

Seriously though, it’s a great way to spend some time immersed in book titles long forgotten.

See you around the bookshelves.

You’ll get mixed up of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s a great balancing act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

~ From Oh, The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss

More later. Peace.

14 thoughts on ““Young cat, if you keep your eyes open enough, oh, the stuff you would learn! The most wonderful stuff!” ~ I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, by Dr. Seuss

  1. Hi, I found your blog by way of the Goodreads Twitter post.
    I’m glad you found Goodreads. It is awesome, isn’t it. Yes, and addicting, too.
    You will find that you will eventually be able to control yourself. Somewhat.
    I read your comment about cutting back on book buying (I know, so sad!) and I wanted to tell you about the site Paperspine. It is basically a Netflix for books. For $14.95 a month I get an unlimited amount of paperbacks (3 at-a-time).
    There is quite a good selection. I cannot afford to buy all of the books on my to-read list, so this is a pretty good option.
    Check it out!
    Take care, it was fun discovering your blog!
    Sherri

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by my site. Thanks also for the info on Paperspine. I’ll have to check it out.

      This weekend I plan to get back on Goodreads and find more fun stuff. It’s a wonderful way to destress. Please come back again.

  2. I’ve been a member of goodreads for awhile now and I love it. I also LOVE books and reading and dream of having a library room in my future house one day – a place were I can get cozy and lost in a book and be surrounded by shelves and shelves of books as well. I find such comfort having books around. My transient life right now doesn’t allow me to have all my books around me but I always manage to have a shelf within view no matter where I’m living. Anyway, I’m glad to hear that most of your books made it after the fire – scary experience!

    Just thought I would say hello to a fellow book lover!~
    Christy

    1. My dream of having my own book room has been around since I was a little girl and read The Velvet Room, in which this young girl escapes from picking peaches by sneaking into this house that has a room full of books from floor to ceiling. That’s what I want. I hate having my books in storage tubs. I know what you mean about a transient life prohibiting having all of your books around you, so right now, I have a bag of special books just waiting to go on a bookshelf once I finally get a new one. The bag is sitting in my bedroom.

      Thanks for stopping by. Please come again soon.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation. Seems like a good site. I saw something like this on Facebook (weRead?) a few weeks back and listed my books there. I have to admit these things are addictive.

    1. They really are addictive, and something fun to do when you just don’t feel up to doing anything requiring a lot of brain cells. After I finish this ghastly week, I plan to peruse the Goodreads shelves a lot more.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi, I clicked on your link from Goodreads’ Twitter update which was titled Amazing blog post about Goodreads. I’m glad you love Goodreads. It’s definitely a great site. I was once like you, spending a lot of time on GR for the first few days. And, I still visit it daily because I like getting lost in my friends’ updates, groups’ discussions, book trivia, etc.

    So, I just wanted to say hello, and I’m so happy your books didn’t get destroyed! I was nervous as I read through your story lol

    1. Thank you so much for clicking through. I really am such a book nerd. My husband just came back from Costco, and I was disappointed that he only brought back one new book for me to read. Isn’t that dreadful and spoiled? Our finances have really cut into my book buying. At one time, that would have been shopping for clothes, but I broke that habit and went back to my favorite source of comfort: books.

      I know–about the fire. I was so happy when they told me that they could clean my books, and then I thought about what a crappy job it would be to wipe every single page of a book clean. Can you imagine?

  5. I hope you haven’t made it sound more interesting than it really is. lol. I’ll say this though, based on your recommendation I will definitely check it out 🙂

    1. It’s fun if you are really into books the way that I am, but I could see how some people might scratch their heads and say, “What? Virtual bookshelf?”

  6. I’m in a ‘stage’?? Can’t wait to get past it. I loved to read. My book inventory would not endear me to you, so sad. I do have quite a collection of books on disc though because my Mom couldn’t see to read anymore, so sad too. I have a picture of you at the library counter playing tug-o-war and crying. Please share my smile for the day! Remember the book I took to read on the plane? (and usually, like you I don’t) ??Something?? made me get it out of my bag…..so glad. There was a “Sneaky Note” from my daughter in that book for me. So, story goes, it sits on my dining room table half read, so sad too again. Last good one for me was, Memoirs of a Geisha. The one waiting for me is His Dark Materials. I read one a thousand years ago, kept me sleepless for three and one night afraid to get off the couch. The Entity. Maybe this summer there is a book for me, I keep thinking about Glister. Is that right?

    1. I’ve missed hearing from you. Memoirs is such a beautiful book. Loved it. You must read His Dark Materials. The movie The Golden Compass was terrible. The book, on the other hand, is captivating, so full of vivid descriptions and interesting characters. After that, try Glister. It’s not very long, but such a story.

      When I was in grade school, unlike a lot of kids my own age, I spend days and days in the local library, which was just a short bike ride away. At first I wasn’t allowed to go because it meant crossing a main road, but I promised my mom that I would be careful, and she knew that I would. I went through the kids’ section too quickly. We could only check out four books at a time. I hated that. I was too young to be allowed in the young adults section, so I started to read some books two or three times: The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle in Time, Island of the Blue Dolphins are ones I remember in particular.

      I was that young girl at the counter begging to check out more books. Too funny.

      And why don’t we read on airplanes? Too much people watching to do, I suppose.

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