Reading: shared in a digital space

How do you share what you love (or hate) about a book you have read? What if your family and friends don’t have the same love for the particular genre or author you like to read? How do you get your recommendations?

Of course, you may be lucky to rely on your school librarian, local public librarian or your local bookshop owner, since these people are usually avid readers with lots to share! However, the digital age also presents book-sharing communities that are readily available when these people are not.

These communities include GoodReads and LibraryThing. Both offer the ability to not only track what you read and enjoy, but also the opportunity to connect with other readers who may have the same interests or reading tastes.

You can simply browse for titles (based on authors, titles, genres and more*) or participate by logging what you read, rating books and writing simple (or extended reviews). You can link up with people you know, or follow those who seem to like the same books or have a similar purpose to your own. Once you have logged a few titles, GoodReads and LibraryThing will provide recommendations for your next book.

Checking these recommendations, or reading the varied reviews of others, can also help you decide whether you want to pick up the latest book by Jack Heath or Margaret Atwood, or help you discover someone new. Remember, not everyone likes the same book, so there are sometimes interesting and contrasting discussions to dissect.

Why not give it a try, and maybe encourage a few friends also, to be able to share what you are reading in a safe known group? Then look for other friends or acquaintances with similar tastes to your own. You may even get the chance to ‘Ask the Author’ questions, or participate in a special discussion event – all related to your own specific likes and dislikes. Do it on your laptop, tablet or phone as apps easily available. What have you got to lose?

What other avenues do you use to share and find reading recommendations?

* Other things include reading lists, giveaways, new releases, interviews and GoodReads choice awards.

** You can always browse this LibraryThing, JustNew, which shows how you can list your own bookshelves/reading, and the app offers. (You can change it to look at cover images to browse over 900 titles…) Then, why not setup up your own!

It’s Graphic!

Many years ago, graphic novels were restricted to those produced in Japan in the Manga style; today, there is great variety in both the format and subject matter covered in these books. As they become more widely available, the popularity of graphic novels is growing.

manga2The variety of graphic novels is well illustrated by our school’s collection. These start with the traditional Manga styles, which include Japanese characters, and which are read from back to front, and right to left.

Newer versions of graphic novels (often produced outside of Japan) are read like a normal book, though using the defining sequential art work in frames. The subjects covered in graphic novels now ranges from classic tales (e.g. Shakespeare) to series following the adventures of key characters, and from myths and legends to the reworking of popular authors (e.g. books from tales by Anthony Horowitz, Emily Bronte or Mary Shelley).

Our selections include series in:

  • Naruto
  • Fruits Basket
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • The Dreaming
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Grand Guignol Orchestra
  • as well as many re-creations of  modern books (like Twilight or Stormbreaker), and historic classics (like Shakespeare).

What are your favourites in graphic / manga novels? Do you prefer the traditional Japanese style or those created for English cultures?