What Made (Makes) the Literary Hoarders Unhappy

sad-face-wallpapers_13395_1280x960-u32suyYesterday, our friends over at Typographical Era called our attention to a major news announcement made by Goodreads. You can see that announcement here in full.

While Goodreads may be celebrating, over here at Literary Hoarders we are not. 😦

What we enjoyed most about Goodreads was their independence and autonomy from the giant corporations that dictate where, what and how you make your purchases, what you read and what is promoted or catalogued. It was an excellent book cataloguing system but also a tremendous way to independently share your thoughts and reviews about books that you loved, you wished to read, and the ones that you found didn’t float your boat. Also, it was a wonderful discovery tool to find that next great read, and it connected us to wonderful other bookish people and groups. To say that the Hoarders depended greatly on Goodreads is an understatement.

Unfortunately, with their major news announcement on now being wholly owned by Amazon, it has caused quite the kerfuffle here at Literary Hoarders.  It has caused us to run around and seek out alternative, independent online book catalogues, or at least haul ass and remove anything the LH’s have to do with Goodreads. Now, whatever we (and you!) post will be owned by Amazon. Your reviews and your friends and your information will be available to exploit by Amazon in any manner they see fit. No thank you.

Will Amazon have access to all of the Goodreads users’ data?
OC:
 “Goodreads is or will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon, so on one level, yes. Are things going to happen in the background without customers understanding it? I think the answer to that is no….We’ll make it very easy for someone to say, ‘Yeah, I’d love it if you could import all of my Amazon or Kindle purchases into my Goodreads shelf.’ We’ll make it very easy for people to do, but they’ll be aware of what’s happening.”
Users already have the ability to export their data from Goodreads, and they’ll continue to be able to do so.

None of us read on the Amazon-owned Kindle and none of us are interested in having Kindle-only books pushed at us. Amazon has Shelfari. They sucked at it. We fear they will now slowly drain and suck the life out of all that was great and wonderful with Goodreads. How unfortunate that the lure of the almighty dollar has enticed them to allowing for their being swallowed whole by a monster corporation. We simply fear that what made Goodreads so great will vanish in the coming months. What’s funny to note is that Goodreads was exclaiming from the rooftops around December 2012 about how much their membership increased. We could only stack that against the fact that they took on Amazon with this whole “book cover” debacle and maintained their independence. Thumbing their nose at Amazon be it as it may. I’m sure membership increased due to the fact that they were an independently run site. Now, they are jumping in to bed with Amazon. Tsk. Tsk. Like us, I’m certain there are many others that will now flee the sheets and find some new bed to snuggle in to.

You will notice that we have removed each of our Goodreads Reading Challenge over to your right. We have also gone in to our Goodreads profiles and removed anything with the Literary Hoarders stamp on it. We will no longer post our reviews on to Goodreads, linking you back to here. Why? Because what we write here at the Literary Hoarders is indeed that. It is what WE‘ve written, not Amazon. You’ll find, for now, that when we’ve completed the book and given it our 1-5 star ranking, we’ll post that information, but that’s about it.

We certainly hope you stay tuned to the Literary Hoarders site for reviews – we do love you – we just don’t love handing over our thoughts and words to someone else.

In the coming months, the Literary Hoarders will also unveil their own, independent website. We are incredibly excited about it and can’t wait to unveil a bold new look for us. We hope you stay tuned!

Sincerely,

The Literary Hoarders: Elizabeth, Penny and Jackie. 

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Review: State of Wonder

I sat on writing this review for a couple of days, because like the other Ann Patchett books I’ve read, it sits with you, haunts you, makes you keep thinking about the book,  the characters and I feel like I needed a few days to write about what I thought about it.

I’m still torn between the 3 – 4 star rating. Let’s just go with 3.5 shall we?

State of Wonder concerns primarily, Dr. Marina Singh, Dr. Annick Swenson and Dr. Anders Eckman. Dr. Marina Singh is sent to find the remains and effects of a presumed dead Anders, but must first locate the famous and reclusive gynecologist, Dr. Swenson who is in charge of the research that their employer Vogel pharmaceuticals is anxiously awaiting results and progress reports. Dr. Swenson is researching the women of a local tribe who can conceive well past middle age, and other secret remedies. She and her research are totally off limits except to a chosen few, just she and her research team.

Marina Singh is a bit of a wishy-washy, hapless, forgetful heroine, with an interesting family history and medical school “issues”, Annick Swenson is a woman you love to hate, a person that frustrates you and at the same time creates a great sense of respect. And this is where I forgave the plot for being a tad drawn out, because I remembered that Patchett creates wonderful, unforgettable character-driven novels. Characters, as I mentioned above that you love to hate, want to wrap your arms around and just spend far more time that you are given with. One in particular is the native boy, Easter. My heart still breaks and cries for Easter.

All I can say is that travelling to the Amazon in my near future is a definite no-go – too crazy scary. And that Patchett so clearly leaves this book open for more – Marina MUST return to the Amazon and she MUST get Easter! She just has to go!! Easter! Go get him! (and she must also discover her love for the research in the Amazon and that she could very well be pregnant…) So, many loose ends at the ending, but a very good read that will stick with you for days after finishing it. I do recommend reading it, in fact I did pass it along to Jackie. It’s Ann Patchett, she cannot do much wrong in my opinion.