“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles Williams Elliot, the 21st president of Harvard, had a good point: reading has been linked to improved memory, reduced levels of stress, and better relationships with others. And while just a few short years ago most book lovers were limited to paperback or hardcover, bookworms now have tons of audio and e-books to choose from. Plus, our beloved books have expanded into social networking.
This makes me very happy; I count reading as one of my favorite things to do in my spare time. In addition to getting a Kindle (thanks to my awesome husband), I’ve been getting into some book-related websites. I wanted to share some of these über cool websites I’ve found that really excite my inner bookworm.
1. Shelfari – On this “social cataloging” website, users create their own virtual bookshelf with books they have read, are currently reading and plan to read. Further, users can rate books and join discussion boards. For avid readers, Shelfari provides a global community of people passionate about books and lets them share that passion with others. My friend Shannon introduced me to this last spring, and I’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve set a goal to read 24 books this year; Shelfari lets me track the books I’m reading and the ones I’ve finished. If you join, search for me! I’d love to see what everyone is reading.
2. Bookperk – We know books make great gifts. But how about books that include promotional tie-ins? Those make excellent gifts. For books published by HarperCollins, Bookperk offers cool extra when you purchase a book through the website. For example, right after Christmas this past year, Bookperk offered a limited edition Harry Potter tote with the purchase of the hardcover edition of Harry Potter: Page to Screen (not to mention free shipping). In addition to promotional tie-ins, Bookperk also offers autograph copies of books and chances to win books for free. Extra bonus: when you sign up to the site, you get 20% off your first order.
3. Online book clubs – For the longest time, the book lovers in my life toyed with the idea of starting our own book club. However, because of crazy schedules and distance, the idea just wasn’t plausible. Enter Book Glutton. On this site, members create their own book club and invite friends to join. All members of your club read the same book and discuss it from any place, on their own time. Only catch: you can only add books from the site’s online e-book selection. But, there’s another option: Yahoo! offers thousands of book clubs and reading groups, ranging from general fiction groups to clubs focused on romance novels, nonfiction literature and many others. Still would rather only discuss books with people you know? Yahoo! also gives users the option to create their own group (which can be public or private). I’m currently a member of a public group with hundreds of people I don’t know, as well as one with one with my family and friends. If you’re interested in joining our “Busy Bookies” reading group, send me a message with your email address. I’ll send you an invite!
Happy social reading!