Saturday, 8 August 2015

Social networking... literary-style

Have you heard of a free online Book Club with over 20 million members?

A place where you can share your favourite reads, check out what other people are reading, ask questions of authors?
This is Goodreads, the extraordinary social networking site for book lovers.

I came across it a couple of years ago. You can join various forums depending on the kind of books you like. If, like me, you find the sheer number of new books overwhelming, this is a great way to narrow down your selection. You can be a regular user, or you can dip in and out.

When it came to the publication of my own book, The Housemaid's Daughter, I wondered how I'd find life on the other side of the Goodreads fence as an author.
It's been lively! And a privilege... I've exchanged views with readers, read what they thought of the book, and answered their questions. Through their input, I've also been directed to authors and books that were new to me, and opened my eyes to fresh worlds.

Goodreads has been a great platform. About 10 000 people have added my book to their list, with 7 000-odd marking it as to-read. I've received over 2000 starred ratings, with the majority being either 4 or 5 star. And 400 readers have actually taken the trouble to write a review. Thank you!

There is one section of my Goodreads page that I always check, where readers post a quote from my book that they particularly like.
Here is the one that has scored the most interest. It's in the words of Cathleen, the Irish matriarch of Cradock House, reflecting on her journey from Ireland to make a new life in South Africa and the challenge she faces...

And I remind myself that wherever one finds oneself, home and love is lent to each of us only for a while.
We must care for it while it's ours, and cherish its memory once it's gone.

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