Monday, August 1, 2011

While brainstorming for a new post series here on the BB, I latched onto the question: What is it that I can contribute to this blog? I mean, this is a place where writers and readers alike hang out to get advice, find community, learn about Christian authors, and win free books. And the three main contributors are three lovely (and published) Christian authors. So what can I uniquely add to this equation?

Well, I thought, I'm a college student. And I like to stay organized - balancing my reading, writing, studies, and free time. So why not do a post series giving tips on how to be OCD? (Or something like that...)

The plan is to share my ideas on keeping organized with all the craziness going on in our lives (be it blogging, reading, working, studying, cleaning house, or anything else). The idea is that you'll be so amazed at the results that it will be just like (you guessed it!) magic.

I think this would be a good place to add a disclaimer, though.

*I don't claim to fix all areas of your life - or any, for that matter. I'm just giving you some food for thought on how you might keep from pulling your hair out as deadlines and such loom over you. Side effects may include dizziness and fainting spells due to intense relief, and uncontrollable shouts of joy. Not recommended for those who strongly dislike organized people and label them "neat freaks" and other cruel names.*

Hope you find this new feature helpful! And now for today's "medicine":

Towering TBR Tablets

Description of Illness: A common term among voracious readers, "TBR" stands for "To Be Read," which refers to a selection of books set aside for future reading. The more avid the reader, the bigger this stack (literally or figuratively) is. But what are readers to do when they can no longer keep track of what it is they wish to read?

Treatment: Following is a list of "tablets" you can take to help.
  • Goodreads: Many of you already take advantage of this program, but for those of you who don't...what are you waiting for? Once you create a profile for free on Goodreads, you can keep track of what you've read, what you're reading, and what you are going to read. You can also create new shelves by clicking "Add a Shelf" on the left sidebar of your books page. From "Favorites" to "To Review" to shelves for specific challenges, you can easily organize your books in a way that makes sense to you. You can also rate all of your books once you've read them, add reviews, and then connect with other readers.
  • Shelfari: Similar to Goodreads, Shelfari is a site where you can create a free profile and keep track of your books. So why do I recommend both sites? Goodreads is great for community, because from my experience more people seem to use the site. However, Shelfari is great because it's more visually appealing. You can actually "see" the bookshelves design and the cover images are larger. You can also easily look at your recent activity and make notes about the book itself (ie: purchase price, whether you own the book or not, etc.). Both Goodreads and Shelfari allow you to create widgets on your blog so others can see your reading record and your fabulous organizational skills.
  • Word Document: Yep. You can create a table in Microsoft Word (I confess to being much more proficient in Word than in Excel) and keep track of your reading that way, as well. I mostly recommend this treatment for book reviewers, though. You can create columns for the title of the book, the publisher/company you're reviewing the book for, and the date (if applicable) that the book review is due. When you've finished reviewing a book, you can highlight that row in a color of your choice. That way you can avoid the feeling of absolute terror when you realize that you have no idea which of your books you're supposed to review, for whom, or when they're supposed to be reviewed...

Recommended For: Readers of all ages, and most especially book reviewers.

Dosage: If you're just someone who loves to read, I recommend taking at least one tablet of your choice. If you're a book reviewer, I recommend at least two tablets of your choice.

A Spoonful of Sugar: Remember that joining sites like Shelfari or Goodreads allows you to meet other readers. You can become friends with fellow bloggers or anyone who is interested in the same genres you enjoy reading. Now you can be an organized bookworm without having to be a loner!

It's just like . . . magic.


  1. Oh, Amber, this is great. I'd heard of goodreads and shelfari, but didn't know what they were. Now I'll have to visit. may have just given me the tools I need to organize my reading life. Lol. And isn't synchronicity great. ;-)

  2. Suzie,

    Oh, I'm so happy you stopped by and that you found the post to be helpful! It's nice to know when your post actually helped others. :)

    Goodreads and Shelfari are great free programs, and I hope you find them to be useful and fun, too! Be sure to look me up if you join and I'd be happy to be your friend on either site. :)

    And yes - that is too funny! Great minds think alike. ;)



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