Last night was definitely a Magpie Evening. I settled in thinking I was going to read some of a big, thick, juicy book but instead spent two hours on Goodreads. Reading about reading. It was wild.
I love Goodreads. I’ve been a member there for what seems like forever. I initially joined to keep track of the things I’ve read, because I’m getting to that age where I’m forgetting some of the more forgettable things. There’s nothing like getting 100 pages into a mystery novel and realising that you read it before. And not in that loverly “I’m revisiting my friends” way, but in that “Hey, wait! I lived through this nightmare once already!” shock.
Now I stay on GoodReads because it’s a nice cross-section of literate people talking about books in interesting ways. In the last couple of years the “social media” aspect of the site has amped up, though, and now it’s not uncommon for someone to be on there with reviews of 13 books but over 3000 friends. Those folks are generally passionate about an author or two and are either there to pimp their favourite author to the skies (usually themselves, actually) or–oddly–to trash authors they hate. It’s so bad there’s even been a website created with the sole aim being to Stop The GR Bullies (dot com).
I’ll say this for the Internet. It certainly gives Drama a place to thrive.
I feel torn between pity and annoyance for the people who are so desperate to Be Somebody that they seek to become well-known as a fan of something (see BNF) or as a renegade pot-stirrer on a site for book reviews. I stumbled across one review that turned into a back and forth hate fest, with several people lauding the initial poster for being “well-loved” on Goodreads. She has 5000 “friends”. Although being loved for being really good at tearing down independent authors is a dubious achievement for a lifetime, wouldn’t you agree?
Honestly, I just want to know if the book is good or not, and if “not” why you think so. As a writer i find myself learning a lot about the craft of consumer fictions by reading what people didn’t like. It’s a far better education, in my opinion, than going to a Conference and talking to other writers. You learn more about what your customers want by listening to your customers, I believe.
So that’s the Shiny that distracted me last night. I still haven’t made much progress in my book. A week ago Jess (who doesn’t have a blog to link) actually gifted me some shiny crystal prisms. I’ve been spending bits of each sunny morning arranging and rearranging them to best capture the rainbows.Another Shiny in my world are the soaps from Shannon at False Nostalgia. She hand-crafts cold-process soaps that are rich and lovely and make me really want to eat them. I ordered her Butterbeer bar (of course), and it came complete with a Chocolate Frog soap hopping in the “foam”. Since it’s all food-y I have to use it in the kitchen. My hands have never been softer.
I love Fridays. Magpie blog entries are the most fun to write. Now I’m off to try my prisms in a few new windows.