You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


In 2009 I used the Visual Bookshelf application on Facebook to keep track of what I was reading, but for 2010 I have switched my allegiances to Good Reads.

I signed up for Visual Bookshelf the day I joined Facebook and later decided it would be an interesting way to look back after a year to see what I had been reading. It never crossed my mind to write a review or comment in any way. This seems to be a fairly common approach, except most people lose interest almost immediately and keep the same title in their Reading Now position in perpetuity.

I don't remember how I stumbled onto Good Reads back in January, but it turns out it wasn't my first time. When I went to register the site told me I had been a member since 2008. I put in whatever I was reading and had read recently and right away I noticed a higher participation from other members when it comes to reviewing and comments. And the reviews were intelligent and entertaining and continue to be so. That could be because since January I have been on a steady diet of J.G. Ballard novels, and Ballard readers may be more interesting and able to express themselves than say fans of James Patterson, Dan Brown, or Stephanie Meyer. (Although readers of Patterson, Brown, and Meyer may be equally engaged by what their fellow fans have to say about their favorite authors.)

With Good Reads, however, there is a "friends issue," as in I have none. And I don't know how to make them.

Facebook is like going to a party where you already know half the people and it's easy to meet others. At Good Reads it is the first day at a new school and I am stranded on the playground, waiting to be asked to join the game.

So I have decided to make the first move. I have found some one who is also a Ballard reader and operates a small publishing house devoted to French popular culture. He already has over three hundred friends. So what I decided I need to do is spruce up my profile and and pay a visit. The only problem is that my profile includes a link to this blog. If he reads this he might think I'm a stalker, which, hey, if you are reading this, I am not.

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