Always eager to expand my web presence, I recently gave in to the pressure of my friends and joined Goodreads. This is a website where you list the books you've read or are reading, and you rate things based on a five-star system, and you can peruse other people's reading lists and rank the books they've read and compare your impressions. I was pretty reluctant to join because the last thing I need is another website to maintain (Ol' Clarity causes enough stress when I see the same entry staring me in the face for days on end, as I watch whatever intelligence and humor I tried to create become stale and really uninteresting, even to me) but it seemed simple enough. I've been keeping a list of the books I read for fun since 2000, and it's one of the smartest things I did that year -- now I can really punctuate the seasons and what I was doing in life by the books I read and what I thought of them. I'm not trying to reproduce the list on Goodreads, but it is interesting to see what other people like to check out. My friends were right: it's not about you listing your own books for your benefit, it's about other people checking you out (literarily, that is).
In the first 72 hours I've been a member, I've been updating and checking my little profile incessantly, seeing what other people are doing and adding my own stars to the books we've mutually read. I need to chill out a bit with this, but for now it's pretty fun. Like the New Yorker festival -- a way to make the individual experience of reading something shared and communal, which is always great to find.
If you want to join goodreads and be my friend, let me know.