What's on your Shelf(ari)?

Published July 18, 2011

The second book of the 365 F1 Stories series was published over the weekend, and you can find more about it on the books page. It’s been quite the process getting these two books into being, and it’s not over yet. There are more things to do with those two, and more ideas in my head for further exploration. I hope to blog more about the process when I am able to think straight again.

In the meantime, I was investigating the world of Shelfari. It came about as we discovered that users of the Amazon-owned social network for booklovers could edit information about books, and that would filter through to the Amazon sales page itself. I had to investigate, and spent quite a long time editing some of the info on both Part 1 and Part 2 on Shelfari.

As I was there, I decided to enter my reading lists, and I had great fun rating all the books I’ve read recently and picking a couple of upcoming books as well. The site is great fun, it can be quite addictive, and I’m still finding more about it all the time. Here are five things I’ve discovered so far though:

  • Groups - I set up a Sidepodcast Book Group to discuss motorsport related books, but there are a billion groups out there to peruse. Within a group, you can look at the collaborative shelf and join in discussions about the novels you’re passionate about.
  • What should I read next? - this feature is in Beta, but I particularly adore the Next in Series tab, which says, hey, you read the first book in the Frost series, here are the ones that come next. That is going to come in very useful. It will save me going to Wikipedia all the time, anyway.
  • Reading stats - There are some pretty impressive statistics, based on when you’ve said you finished reading books and the ratings you’ve given them. I’ve had to give an estimate for a lot of the dates of mine, but even so, I do like some good stats and graphs.
  • Goals - along with the statistics, you can set reading goals for yourself. If you want to read a certain number of books in a certain time. I don’t have a goal, but the site still tells me that I’ve read 14 books this year, compared to 25 last year, so I’m ahead of my 2010 pace.
  • Export reading list - If you get your profile to 80% complete (by doing things like adding a photo, editing some books) then you’re allowed to export a list of the books you’ve read. It’s great to have a way of getting the information back out of the site again - just in case the worst happens.

The site isn’t perfect, it’s quite sprawling, and I’m often trying to remember how to do something or how on earth I found a particular page. I can’t get the widget to work in my sidebar, which is more likely a Wordpress flaw, but it’s still a pain.

I’m not going to give up writing my Casual Reader posts, but what I"ll likely do is keep Shelfari up to date, and catch up over here in the normal three-books-at-a-time fashion.

If you haven’t checked out Shelfari yet, go take a peek, and if you’re already a member, come say hello.

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