As an ESL teacher and a major bookworm, I tend to torture my students with books from the early stages on. However, I found it usually hard to find good up-to-date YA literature for the different pre-intermediate abilities. The Amazon lists were ok but I just never seemed to find a lot of good books there. (The next English bookstore is about 1.5 hours drive away!)
While hunting for books for my 15-year old students, once again frustrated by Amazon, I remembered a Facebook app I used half-heartedly a while back: Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com). I came, saw and conquered!
Basically, Goodreads is a virtual bookshelf; a place to organize your books and share your likes and dislikes with other book-a-holics. It is also an awesome tool for teachers looking for new inputs, especially when it comes to YA books. Browsing over the different lists started by other users, I always end up adding books to my personal „I need to read that“-list. Sure, there are some weird lists too, but you don’t have to look at them for they are labelled coherently. Another nice feature is the possibility to create and name your own bookshelves where you can store and sort your books virtually; a task I never accomplished in the real world. On Goodreads, however, I have my books (well, not all of them yet) sorted and tucked into their right place or places – and I’m pretty sure I’ll find them in my rl booshelf too…. somewhere… probably.
The virtual bookshelf offers more niceties of which I’ll just mention two for the moment. Goodreads is in a way like Facebook a social network – without demanding all those private informations – and, therefore, you can not only make friends with like-minded people from all over the world, but also follow most authors and stay updated on their news and even blogs. …Just crossed my mind that such a blog might come in handy in a literature lesson…. Well, back on track. The last feature I just love: quotes! I really tried to keep track of my quotes. Wrote them into this tiny little book I have where I also kept my favourite poems. Or at least underlined them with pencil in the books with the intention of copying them later, never doing it. So I have this little notebook with a few of my fav quotes, lots of pencil marks in my books, but when I’m searching that quote…. you know the one where the main character talks about… uhm….. pink roses… no daffodils…. damn where the hell is it??? Now, when adding a book to my virtual shelf or mark it as read, I can search the author or title for the most prominent quotes and add them to my quotes-page. Isn’t that just mag? You’ll never have to hunt quotes for essays again!
I hope I stirred a bit of interest…. if I did, come and join me on Goodreads!
PS: Don’t judge me on my private books…. I love a good classic, but a thriller is nice too!😉