Sunday, January 29, 2012

Library Thing

For those of you who've managed to miss the wonders of Library Thing, here is your wakeup call. You know how you love fiddling around with your books and sorting them by genre, by author, etc? Now you can keep a virtual catalog of all your books and sort them any way you please!

But Library Thing is a lot more than just a cataloging utility. Library Thing is a community. It feels, sometimes, a little bit like wandering around naked as you add all the odd things you read because one's bookcases are just a little like one's soul or genitalia: super private.

But at the same time, wonderful forums and groups lead to wonderful exchange and debate. I have long enjoyed the What Are You Reading Now? and Go Review that Book! groups. It's wonderful to peek into what others are reading and share their excitement as they talk about their literature.

For academics, this can be a particularly rich way to discover others in your field. I stumbled onto some wonderful people just by looking at who shared the many texts on Victorianism and readership that I have.

Best of all, there's the Early Reviewer program! Recently released books are offered on a limited basis to those willing to review them within the community. The books are usually matched to you based on request (obviously) and also how well they fit in with your collection. So you're likely to get something you're at least somewhat keen on.

Overall, it's a wonderful tool, community, and opportunity for those of us who take books seriously.

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