Good Reads: Social Networking for Book Readers

As social networking has continued to grow in popularity over the past couple years I’ve often found myself conflicted when looking at where the internet was heading. Do I want one social network for everything (ie Facebook) or would it be better to several smaller niche social networks?  Both of course have their advantages but I often found myself leaning towards the Facebook hub having one account and social experience to cover everything. This was mostly due to having an overwhelming number of social websites on the internet leaving me with accounts all over the place. 

The above still seems to be true most of the time, but I have to admit that when I discovered GoodReads.com I realized the true value and potential of smaller niche social experiences.  For those unfamiliar with the service, GoodReads.com is a social website designed for people who like to read. Whether you are looking to find a book recommendation, write a book review, or interact directly with fellow readers and even the authors themselves, Goodreads.com has you covered! 

I have to admit that although I think I still prefer the Facebook approach for the most part, GoodReads.com gives me an experience that Facebook never could and I highly recommend it for anyone that enjoys reading or listening to audiobooks. If you are a GoodReads.com member and would like to be friends, you can find my profile here.

Oh, and while on the subject of books, I recommend buying books through Amazon (either paperback or Kindle ebooks) and Amazon’s audiobook website, Audible.com.  I’ve been using Amazon for my book needs for over a decade and now Audible.com allows me to continue to absorb books while commuting, working out, etc.

Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

Those who know me well know that I’m a bit of a book reader and a huge fan of the Fantasy genre as a whole, which is often referred to as “Sword and Sorcery” books.  In my youth I grew up with the core Dragonlance books and moved to the RA Salvatore’s “Drizzt” books within the Forgotten Realms setting.

I remember these books very fondly, however as I transitioned into adulthood I was left with a strong desire for a more epic tale and have spent the past decade trying out other Fantasy novels. Here are some of my favorite sword and sorcery series:

  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin (7 book series) – Probably my favorite series of all time, although it is hard to say as the series hasn’t yet been completed yet.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erickson (10 book series) – This series starts slow but really picks up in Book 2 and is believed by many to be one of the greatest series of all time. 
  • Farseer Trilogy and Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb (both 3 book series)
  • Prince of Nothing by R Scott Bakker (3 book series)
  • Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (multiple books in this setting but not technically a series)
  • Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks (3 book series)
  • The First Law by Joe Abercrombie (3 book series)
  • Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (3 book series)

I’ve read other stuff as well but those are probably my favorites off the top of my head.  I know several of you also enjoy this genre so I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!

Update: Great post by NPR covering the best Fantasy/Science Fiction books of all time!

What Would Google Do? Book by Jeff Jarvis

I’m generally a big reader, but lately my online activities have prevented me from doing a whole lot of reading.   A couple of weeks ago my father surprised me with a audio book copy of Jeff Jarvis’ new book, What Would Google Do?  This proved very thoughtful as I spend a lot of time commuting to work and back each day.  

I’m ashamed to admit that I thought the name was familiar, but I couldn’t place how I knew the name.   Well, halfway through the first disc (first chapter?) I quickly figured out where I know him from.   Jeff is the blogger who inspired Dell’s idea storm with this post written to Michaell Dell, the CEO of Dell computers.   Ironically enough, I was going through my own troubles with Dell at the time (which didn’t end so well), so it made this particular chapter all the more interesting for me.  

Though Jeff touches on a large variety of topics, they are all cleverly tied to Google and the idea of figuring out “What Would Google Do?”  Jeff uses this to examine the future of the internet as well as looking at how Google can or will influence many offline companies (restaurants, medical issues, insurance companies, etc.) and cut out the middle man as we know it today.  

Though I admit I enjoyed the book for the most part from cover to cover, I really liked how Jeff references his personal blog and really shows the power of blogging to his readers.   Whether you are internet savvy or just someone who wants to learn how to grow their business, I recommend reading What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis.  You can find it in your local book store, or purchase it via Amazon.com (audio CD can be found here).