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4 Apps for Book Lovers

4 apps for book lovers

  1. Goodreads

Of course, the first app that I have to mention is definitely Goodreads. Goodreads has been around for a very long time, so I’m sure many of you are no stranger to this website/app. There are a lot of mixed opinions about Goodreads. Some people don’t like looking at their newsfeed and feeling burdened to read because of it, some just want a better way to organise their books, some don’t like the fact that Amazon bought Goodreads. But there are some pros to it — namely: the ability to keep track of what you’re reading.

pros

Book Tracking

I like being able to track all my books down instead of having to manually do it in a journal. Its just a simpler way, since an app is readily accessible on my phone and I don’t have to bring some extra with me wherever I go. I can access it when I’m travelling, I can write my thoughts and add books I see on the go. Its a simpler, fuss free method for me!

Tons of book recommendations

I can spend hours on the app/website because there’s SO MUCH BOOKS. The catalogue of books are massive, and people can even add the books onto the website themselves which creates a huge database. I love going through the book recs and seeing books that are similar to those that I enjoy.

Goodreads choice awards

I love participating in the choice awards every year and to see if my favourite books made the cut. Its very exciting to see new books that’s just been so heavily hyped/discussed, books that made it into all kinds of book clubs, nominated for different categories. I’ve discovered so many new authors and new books through the choice awards and I’m happy to report that most of them are so good and worthy of the hype!

Book stats and reading challenge

I’m not so into competing with others, but I do like competing with myself. I try to read as much as I can and I don’t burden myself with hitting 50 books a year anymore like I used to. I’m more tired now because of my job so I try to chill out and set a more comfortable number for me a year, like 10 or 15. When I surpass the number, it gives me the extra motivation to keep going! Goodreads also provides book stats, where you can see all your ratings from different years and how many 5 star books you’ve read and how many you didn’t enjoy in the year. They give you stats for longest book, shortest book etc. It’s just fun to see stats, right? Right? Right?

pros-2

Newsfeed

I have to be honest: I skip the newsfeed. I don’t think it’s that important of a feature for me anymore as how it was in the past. It can get very daunting when you see your friends read 3-4 books a day when you’re in a reading slump and its not very helpful. I prefer going to individual accounts, if I’m ever curious about what someone is reading — which is definitely a better option for me, personally.

Opinions and Ratings

While there are pros to seeing the opinions that people give on the website (mine included), I get that sometimes its just too overwhelming. Sometimes the ratings and opinions and others can really turn you off from reading a particular book that you were so hyped up about and it happens. It really does. Its not just a problem with Goodreads, it can be from booktube and even book blogs like mine. I try to be positive about most books as much as possible and try to share the best takeaways from every book but sometimes it is just hard. The best advice: take everything with a pinch of salt, and if you want to read it — go for it! Nobody’s opinion should ever stop you from reading what you want!

2. Libib

Libib was pretty popular in booktube for a while and I wasn’t really sold on it but I’ve recently started using it properly and I can see why it’s pretty popular among the reading community.

pros

Private libraries

Libib provides you with the option to keep your library private — a feature that I like and I don’t believe is available with Goodreads. I like being able to shelve books the way I like it with multiple tags. The free option is totally worth it and unless you have a large library, the basic free functionalities should be sufficient for you. I use libib primarily for organising books to be used in my classroom for my kids and being able to see them broken down into different themes makes it a lot easier for me when selecting books.

Not only for books

You can use libib to catalogue your games, movies and music as well so its not just limited to books! That’s an added bonus for those who may want these functionalities to keep your different libraries organised and in check.

pros-2

Adding books

While adding books is fairly simple and similar to Goodreads, it can get a bit messy when you have a lot of libraries to add to. When you click add book, it adds into only one library without the ability to add to different libraries at once. So before you go click happy, you need to always always check which library its adding into, otherwise its just going to be a lot more work for you.

App isn’t great

While it’s much easier to add to a specific library you’re looking for in comparison to the website, you can’t just search for your favourite book. You can either use a barcode scanner or manually enter the details of the book to get to the book you want, as opposed to simply typing it up. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you just want to catalog a book based on online reviews etc and don’t have the physical copy to scan.

3. Serial Reader

I don’t see many people talking about Serial Reader but I found it in my recommended apps on Google Play and I really enjoy using it. Serial Reader s an app that breaks down classics into chapters, and downloading one chapter a day for you to read. Its a completely genius app for those who may want to read the classics but are having a hard time completing the books.

pros

One chapter a day

Unlike regular book reader apps, the app pushes one chapter of whatever book you’re subscribed to, once a day. You can set the time for it to push the chapter on to you, so it makes it convenient for you. If you feel like reading before bed, have it set to whatever timing you’d like! As simple as that. Less pressure to complete a dauntingly long book! Brilliant!

Basic reader functionality

Like most book readers, you can highlight, change the background, the size of the font and even the font itself. The functionalities are just the same as a regular reader so you can customise it to whatever you like.

Good selection of books

From children’s lit to poetry, there’s plenty of classics for you to choose from. There’s bound to be something for everyone. It’s not just limited to the regular classics like Shakespeare or Austen but its a good mix of everything.

4. Libby

Libby is the better version of the very popular OverDrive.

pros

Better layout

Libby has a better layout and not as messy as OverDrive. The colours are softer and easier on the eyes. Its a lot easier to search for whatever you want and just easier to navigate and switch between your shelf and the catalogue.

Linked to library

You can link your account to multiple libraries if you’d like, but we only have one library in Singapore and all the libraries have the same books mostly. Just link your library card or account to the libraries and you’re good to go! I’m happy that our library selection for ebooks is pretty fantastic. There’s a good range of everything and you can even read comics on Libby which is absolutely wonderful.

Don’t worry about return dates

Libby automatically returns all digital titles and audiobooks into the system. It expires automatically and is removed from your shelf without you even having to log on into the system. You can return it early, renew your loan, send it to another device to read and tag the books if you’d like (so you can make a mini list of books on the app too!).

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Discussion | Reading Slumps

Book Discussions is a weekly post where we discuss book-related things. This week in Book Discussions we talk about:

Reading Slumps

What are reading slumps? Readings slumps can be referred to many things at a time, but personally, I use it to refer to periods of time where I don’t feel like reading. Some would argue that reading slumps don’t exist simply because it’s up to the reader to decide if they’d like to read or not.

Regardless of what you call these periods of time where you don’t feel like reading, at some point, every reader goes through that phase. I’ve been through this phase several times and sometimes it’s hard to get out of these slumps. There are many reasons why a person gets “reading slumps”. Some attribute it to just being plain lazy, distractions or having not read many good books.

For me, I find that I get reading slumps after I’m read an okay book, or a bad book (though most of the time it’s the former rather than the latter). I tend to also get reading slumps where University comes ’round and there’s just too many academic readings to be done that recreational reading becomes boring.

So the question is: how do I get out of this reading slump?

The most common suggestions are to stop reading for a while and take a breather or read shorter books. I find these two suggestions to be the most useful for me, though I tend to try to keep the momentum going by reading shorter books.

Collections of short stories are usually helpful for me because you can stop after a few stories and there’s not rush to keep going. You can devour them slowly at your own pace and usually the short stories are not too long either. A. M. Homes’ Safety of Objects is a good example of this — I read it sometime last year when I had a reading slump and it worked like a charm. Though not all of the pieces were great, they were captivating and quirky, some even memorable till today.

However, the same didn’t work for me when I tried reading All the Sad Young Men by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I couldn’t get into it at all and it felt like the pages were so long that I could hardly push myself through.

It’s a trial and error process, finding the books that can help you get out of that reading slump. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a short story. The Duff by Kody Keplinger got me out of my reading slump as did Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane.

It’s not even that long into 2014 and I already have a reading slump. My solution? Reading books close to your heart. I’m currently re-reading Harry Potter after my good friend Cait posted quotes and bits and bobs from Chamber of Secrets. I immediately got Harry Potter on my iPad and began reading. I loved being immersed in the world of Harry Potter again and I’m glad it’s gotten me out of my reading slump.

Do you get reading slumps and how do you get out of it?