I’ve just joined Goodreads–“Facebook for readers,” according to my friend Marisa–and have been steadily adding books I’ve read and books I want to read to my virtual bookshelf. Apparently I’m an easy grader. My average score (given to the books on my self) is 4.8–virtually an A+.
Well, I already knew this about myself–in the classroom, too, I tend to give out more A’s than other teachers. I’ve even worked at a school that doesn’t have grades at all, which is my preference. But that doesn’t mean I’m an easy teacher. I expect (and my students usually deliver) high-quality work.
As a reader, I also have really high expectations, and I tend to buy and read books I know I’ll love (see book storage issue pictured above). I have some favorite authors, but I also like finding out about new authors through award nominations and reviews (this is how I discovered Bonnie Jo Campbell and Paul Harding) as well as journals and anthologies. I also like reading excerpts of books before they’re released, and my favorite reading experience is finally getting a copy of a book I’ve been waiting on for a long time (currently, that book is My Hollywood by Mona Simpson–I heard her read a chapter, later published as “Coins” in Harper’s, at UC Irvine in 2001; the novel will be released today).
Hopefully Goodreads will introduce me to more books and writers and provide an easy way to keep track of what I plan to read. If you join or are already a member, the Graywolf discussion group, moderated by Marisa, is full of smart readers, and many of the Wolves have author pages. It’s also fun to click around on the author pages of writers you like to see what people are reading (if they’ve added books; some only add a few–or just their own!). An author I really admire gave four stars, for example, to Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. Tough grader.
Click here for my author page, where you can see what I’m reading and what I’ve put on my shelf.