Do you keep track of the books you read? And if so, do you use an online cataloging site?
I've kept track of the books I've read since I was a kid. Back when we were in elementary school my sister and I started listing the books we read -- an offshoot from one of our favorite games, "Library." (Almost all of our childhood picture books have crayon-drawn library "stamps" from when we took turns checking books in and out and recording them accordingly.) For years, I kept notebooks and dutifully recorded what I'd read, the date I finished it, and my personal rating for it.
But some point some years ago I came across LibraryThing and GoodReads. Being the exploratory and book-obsessed person that I am, I signed up for both of them and have used them both intermittently. They are both online cataloging systems, where you can not only keep track of your own "have read, am reading, want to read" lists, but also see what others are reading too.
Lest you think it's odd to catalog books online, there are actually a lot of good reasons to explore these sites. You can remind yourself of what you've read, and look back to see your own reading patterns, pace, etc. You can find other readers who like the same sorts of things you do, and you can get book recommendations based on what you've already read. You can read and write reviews, and keep an easily accessible list (say, from your Iphone when you're standing in the library or a bookstore trying to remember what it was you wanted to look for) of what you want to read.
I've loved both sites, for different reasons. But really, I'm thinking it's kind of silly to be using both. So which one to choose?
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I was browsing in a Waterstone's bookstore when we were in England on vacation, and stumbled on "The Gun Seller" by actor Hugh Laurie. You probably know Laurie from "House" on TV, and maybe the BBC series "Jeeves and Wooster." My husband adores "House" (me, I can't take the arrogant snarkiness of the main character) and I knew he'd just finished the novel he was reading, so I picked this up for him.
And, after he read it, he raved so much that I ended up reading it too. And my conclusion? Quite good, very entertaining, a twisty engrossing plot, and great humor. The plot involves Thomas Lang, ex-officer of the Scots Guard, who has been approached and asked to murder a man for a huge amount of money. Not only does Lang turn the offer down; he sets out to warn the intended murder victim that someone is offering money to kill him. Of course, complications ensue, not the least of which is Lang's fascination with the man's daughter, and everyone's assumption that he is in fact trying to kill Lang. The story connects up art and the military industrial complex and terrorists and romance, all with high wit and genuinely skillful writing.
It was a great find, and I hope Laurie writes more.