An Embarassment of Riches

I use that phrase a lot when I talk about many aspects being a bookseller — the piles of ARCs you receive, the abundance of interesting people to talk to on a daily basis, the books you are surrounded with, the authors you meet … I’m sure you get the picture!

Something in particular brought it to my attention today — an emerging booksite called Goodreads. I’ve been a member for a few months now, but have really only just started taking advantage of all the neat features they’ve built into it. It’s mostly for cataloguing what you’re reading, and sharing recommendations with friends. But Goodreads will also tell you, for example, what the most popular book is this year, or who on Goodreads has the most books, or what the least popular book is this week, or any number of other intriguing things.

Now, you might think, what does that really tell us? After all, it’s only the people on Goodreads who are providing data. But today I was surprised at the telling nature of one particular search I ran — the “most read books this week”. Care to guess what they are? I’ll give you the top 10:

1) Eat, Pray, Love
2) Water for Elephants
3) A Thousand Splendid Suns
4) The Other Boleyn Girl
5) The Kite Runner
6) Atonement
7) Three Cups of Tea
8) The Road
9) The Time Traveler’s Wife
10) Eclipse

This is just fascinating to me, mostly for the unexpected books that are on there. Eat, Pray, Love is not much of a shocker, nor is Three Cups of Tea. Other Boleyn Girl, Kite Runner, and Atonement are all movies, so that makes sense. Eclipse, well, Stephenie Meyer has announced her tour (call us now for tickets! You know you want to come! 801-484-9100) for The Host, and Breaking Dawn will be released in August (at our magnificent midnight release party, which you also won’t want to miss).

The Time Traveler’s Wife? What? Anyone care to shed some light on that one for me? And Water for Elephants? Didn’t the hype on that one die off a couple months ago? And the real shocker in this is, I haven’t read them yet!!! Which brings us just to the “embarrassment” part of the title … The fact that they are still showing up on a top ten list means that I need to get myself in gear, go back to the library, and add them to my ever-growing READ US NOW pile.

The upshot? Goodreads is great for discovering those books that not only are getting good feedback, but that are standing the test of time as well. That, and embarrassment and riches do indeed go hand in hand.

P.S. The attack of the emoticons — I cannot get that to stay an 8 and a ). I guess I will just have to chalk one up to teh internets!

3 Responses to An Embarassment of Riches

  1. E. I. Sanchez says:

    I saw the Kite Runner last night. It was a great little film. I didn’t read the book but the story telling in the film was really well done.

    Nostalgia and Loyalty were peppered through the movie.

    I actually didn’t know it was out on DVD.

    Check it out.

  2. I love recommending “The Time Traveler’s Wife” to people. It crosses so many genres that I can almost guarantee that readers will like at least some part of it. I’m also a little surprised it’s still up there on the list, but it does have an emphatic following. I think it’s also slated to become movie, but not until next Christmas.

  3. Samantha-I-Am says:

    Read “The Time Traveler’s Wife”!!! Don’t worry, it’s not some sappy love story nor is it about wacky space travel.

    I swear you will love the book. I actually just wrote about it on my blog at

    If you’re interested in getting the gist of what it is about, feel free to read my post. I really do hope you read the book though.

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