"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tosh on..........

When you get down to the nitty gritty, I am a reader. And according to the Goodreads.com There are 5 titles on my "currently-reading" list as well as the 237 titles on the "to-read" list. I am number 11 on the "People with the Most Reviews on Goodreads" list as well as number one on the list for "People Who have Written the Best Reviews on Goodreads this Week" as well as number 2 on the "All Time Best Review" list. So as you can tell I spend a lot of time on Goodreads. website I have read (so far) 1,237 books.

And to be honest with you, I go on Goodreads while working at Book Soup. Yes, as I am helping you the customer at the back counter I am actually on the computer writing a review for Goodreads at the same time. And yes, I will find or order that book for you at the same time. But to be honest with you my mind is on Goodreads.

An old Book Soup co-worker Marion invited me to join Goodreads. Of course I totally ignored the first invitation, and for the sake of manners the second as well. But sometime in September 2007, I flipped out. It may have been due to a financial crisis I was going through at the time, or an ongoing plumbing problem, but I had the urge to put my entire library online and I thought 'why not on Goodreads.' Being a private person I thought it was a unique way for me to meet others as well as sort of write a memoir based on my book collection.

So the little librarian in me went over my entire collection and put it on the Goodreads website. After that I thought, "that's not enough. I need to write reviews for all the books on Goodreads." But even that's not enough. I had to add friends. And who are these friends? Some are obsessive people like me that have a dramatic need to document their reading habits as well as the occasional lonely soul looking for love, companionship and so forth. And to my surprise I actually found old friends –even an old love or two. I thought that they hated me, but alas not true. They were just slightly disappointed in me for not calling back about 25 years ago. My how time flies.

Obviously Goodreads has only served to accentuate my book obsession. And I do have a book obsession-- I work at a bookstore full-time as well as publish books and spend a lot of my time just thinking about books. And let's be honest it's a sickness. And Goodreads is basically (and let's be really honest) a collection of sick souls sharing a sick obsession. These sickos live everywhere from Pasadena to Iran (I actually have a lot of 'friends' in Iran) as well as distant towns and villages in the U.K. It's awesome that one can spend hours behind their computer and yet express themselves so widely to the world regarding their book fetishes.

The question you may be asking is why?

Since I can't answer the question for the millions on Goodreads, I'll try to answer it for myself. There is something intimate about a book that can't be shared. Unless you like to read with someone over your shouldey you – like most of us - read alone. And I think it's the alone part that adds to the pleasure of reading. The social part comes afterward, sort of the reward for one who spends their enduring time to read a book. Humans need to share. I for instance like to share my manager's girlfriend, but that's another issue. But books are for better or (never) worse the ideal object to get lost in – and I think the Internet is another medium to get lost in. So the combination of solitary reading and sharing something on the Internet is quite natural.

My name is Tosh; I read books and am part of the Goodreads family.


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