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Somehow the school year seems to almost crush my love of reading into a despicable ball of pressure-filled essays and exams. Almost.

Even though I’ve spent the better part of this school year drowning in a sea of mandatory readings that spanned from the incomprehensible Derrida to Pizan’s  frankly underwhelming City of Ladies, my summer reading promises to be an adventure in itself as I get started on my extensive list!

But in the meanwhile, as a pretty big book nerd, I wanted to share some of my favorite book related sites. I recently just discovered most of them and can safely say they have transformed the way I approach finding a new book – I always have a bunch that I’m dying to read! Summer reading bucket list, here we come!

1. Goodreads

This is probably the most popular book organizing site right now, mostly because of its appealing interface and ability to connect with other friends who are using it as well. It’s super easy to create your own account – you can just sign in with Facebook! Once you’ve set up an account you can add books that you’ve read, currently reading, and want to read to your bookshelves and easily keep track of all the books floating around in your life. You can update your profile with the progress you’ve made on the books you’re reading and rate   the ones you’ve finished so your friends can see as well. Best part about it is that the website will provide you with book recommendations based off of your ratings! This one is my personal favorite. Its so much easier for me to keep track of all my books now and see what my friends are reading as well – its the perfect book community!

2. LibraryThing 

LibraryThing is extremely similar to Goodreads. You can upload your library as well as bookmark books you would like to read, and get in touch with people who have the same tastes as you. From my experience, I’ve found that LibraryThing seems to geared a bit more for an older crowd and has a less accessible interface. Also, you have to pay if you enter more than 200 books into your library, something I’m not too keen on. However, it does seem to be more internationally acclaimed as it offers a more comprehensive and authentic catalogue and can be accessed in many different languages.

3. YourNextRead

This website is great for book recommendations. It’s super fun to browse around as well – all you have to do is type in a book that you like and it will give you a bunch of other recommendations in a mind map format. Once you click on one of those, a whole new mind map is generated and it keeps on going. There are reviews from Amazon on the side panel, and you can connect with your Goodreads bookshelves once you login!

4. The Book Seer

I just discovered this one today, and it seems to be pretty decent! Another book recommendation site, this one connects to LibraryThing and lists books Amazon things you might like. The recommendations have so far been fairly comprehensive and links directly to Amazon so you can immediately buy the book.

5. BookMooch

As university students, we’re always strapped for money and if you’re an avid reader like me, the cost of books can really add up. BookMooch offers a way to swap books with others while only paying for postage! Its pretty easy to sign up and get going. The system functions off of points, so for every book you list to give away, you receive a point. Once you’ve gotten requests for your books and subsequently mailed them, you receive double the points and can use those to request books from other people. A word of warning: Sometimes you end up sending more than you receive and end up spending a lot more on postage than you would have for the books themselves. I suggest searching the books you want before signing up first, to make sure that there are actually books you want available!

6. Book Crossing

Although I haven’t personally used this, I think this is an incredibly sweet and wonderful idea! You register the book you want to give away on the website and get a special code which you then stick onto the book’s cover. You can either then give the book away to a friend, or release it into the wild – leave it in a bookshop, park bench etc. There are also special designated BookCrossing zones where people can expect to find these “travelling” books. Once your book has been caught by someone else, they’ll enter the code onto the website and update where the book is now. In this way, you can track where your book is and what adventures its had along the way! The BookCrossing community spans across the world, so your book can turn up in another country, or even another continent. I think this is a cute and innovative way to share much loved books and give your old books new purpose!

Although the joy of browsing through Indigo can never be replaced, these websites are great tools to get organized and get personalized book suggestions. Also, as a great believer in hard copies and not e-readers, I figure that BookMooch and BookCrossing are fantastic ways to share great reads the old fashioned way.

Happy Reading!


Image courtesy of DavidMasters via Flickr (CC by 2.0)