The Goodreads War

A quiet war rages at Goodreads. I enlisted a couple of weeks ago, when I created my author’s account. Yesterday, I entered the fray.

The Goodreads War isn’t a controversial one. Pretty much everyone who enters is on the same side. That’s why it’s such a quiet war. The war is between döstädning and tsundoku: Swedish death cleaning and the stacks of books we own but have not (yet) read.

It’s not much of a fight.

How the war went down

Yesterday, I downloaded the app. Looking at my profile page I thought, “I’m an author. I should show that I actually read books too, and not just write them.” So I entered my first book. I can’t even remember which book received the honor, because suddenly the battlefield appeared and I was operating on adrenaline and pure reflex.

As soon as I entered a title, the Goodreads generals would present me with a list of similar titles for inspection. “Yes sir!” I would say, and my trigger finger would begin swiping left, looking for targets. When I’d find another book I’d read in that list, I would pull the trigger and enter the book into my profile page.

That would set off the generals, who would issue another order, which I would quickly obey.

The battle went on endlessly. My trigger finger got sore and I switched hands. Turns out I’m ambidextrous when it comes to books.

Three hours later–yes, you heard that right–I had picked off 224 books that I had read and remembered, without even looking at my bookshelves or opening my Kindle.

Temporary truce

Fortunately, dinnertime brought a temporary truce. And I didn’t enter more books later, either. I figured I had put in enough time to at least earn some respect as a private in the Goodreads War. But there still was work to do before bed: I had to prepare digital shelves for all those books!

The Goodreads generals know how to keep the war going. As I worked my itchy trigger finger, swiping left, I discovered books I had not heard of that sounded really good. I added eleven of them to my “want to read” list, and I could have added far more. The Swedish death cleaners howled in horror.

Last night, as I lay in bed, I knew that the war would never be a close one. I have been known at times to donate or sell books from my collection, but I keep getting new ones to fill those spaces, and more. In the battlefield of the Goodreads War I have decisively put down any rebellious Swedish death cleaning of my bookshelves, real and digital. The victory belongs to tsundoku.

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