Goodreads is a social media platform designed for readers and writers to document and promote their reading and writing history. The tool is able to fulfill a variety of functions for users including creation of personalized records of books they own or have read. These records are called shelves. The tool also allows users to create notes and critiques regarding the books on their shelves (called reviews) as well as assign a ranking between one and five stars. Socially, users of the tool may interact via book clubs and providing or commenting on book reviews.
Goodreads also provides an annual Reading Challenge; users are able to self-assign a number of books to read over the course of the year. In 2017, Eric Adriaans’ reading challenge goal was to read 52 books; one per week. By the end of the year he had read 117 books totaling 33,391 pages. For 2018, he retained the one-a-week target of 52 books.
Goodreads and Minimalism
While entering some of the books he read in the year, it occurred to Adriaans that he could enter all of the books on his shelf to approximate a lifetime reading history. During that process, he realized that many of the physical books on his shelf were there not because he intended (or needed) to re-read them…but only as a comfort and bit of nostalgia. He realized that collecting the physical objects acted merely as a way to recall reading memories. Still, he was loathe to give up the physical objects, impractical and unnecessary as they were.
Setting aside un-necessary objects is a feature of “minimalism” – a philosophy and way of living with fewer possessions; a philosophy that Adriaans’ studies and values. Goodreads offers a valuable tool to a minimalistic approach to the reading hobby. By entering books into Goodreads, it is possible to be released from the compulsion to keep the objects themselves. Having the “collection” stored as an electronic avatar makes the physical collection less important.
While Adriaans had previously thinned his physical book collection from more than 1000 to mere hundreds – primarily when moving or when the books themselves were damaged beyond reasonable use. Goodreads has provided the freedom to reduce that collection to a few dozen books.
References and Citations
All content on www.ericadriaans.com, the Erickipedia, is updated and revised based on new information, further consideration, reader feedback and whim. To recommend updates, provide feedback or comment please use the contact and feedback form.
- Original draft: July 2, 2017
- Updated and reformatted, June 21, 2018