What Your Goodreads Says About You

booksGoodreads is an amazing and innovative resource. I found out about it in 2010, but my obsession really took flight in  2012. It has proved an invaluable tool in so many ways: tracking books I want to read (still waiting for a movie version of this concept; imdb doesn’t quite cut it), learning about new books, keeping a running log of what I have read, and giving myself yearly challenges to consume more literature. And for writers, here is a really cool use for Goodreads to find comparables for your own works (the entire post is fantastic, but you can scroll down to “A Shortcut” for the Goodreads part).

While scrolling through the ‘my books’ tab, I discovered something about myself. Not only do I read widely—no genre-snobbery here!—but I have a very limited attention span. So I thought, what might other people’s Goodreads pages say about them?

This stack says more about my characters than it does me
This stack says more about my characters than it does me

I will not presume to analyze who you are at your core given the types of books you have marked as ‘read’, ‘currently reading’, or ‘to-read’. But let’s talk about your statuses on those books and the personality traits it might hint at. Before I dive in, a disclaimer: You may recognize yourself in this post. Know that I do not seek to criticize anyone’s reading choices or styles. This is merely a dabbling in personality horoscoping given various Goodreads statuses—stati?

So to begin, I take you to the first reader personality:


This is what ADD looks like. It's not a joke. I am not laughing.
This is what ADD looks like. It’s not a joke. I am not laughing.

This is the person (i.e. I am the person) who has no less than 15 books at any given moment, sometimes for months. When this person loses interest for even a second, they tend to move on. These people are probably very hard to carry on a conversation with as they jump from thought to thought. They have the best organizational intentions that don’t always pan out, oftentimes resulting in an organized mess, stacks of books and papers in towers divided by subject or tasks, pens marking places in books, books marking places in books, five different notebooks going with ideas for one novel (see? They made the effort to set aside a notebook for ideas). This person may be widely read, but does not often complete each ambitious venture into new and (what was once) exciting territory.


The Secret-Keeper or The Fear-of-Commitment

These are the people that do not post books until they’ve finished reading them. They are the lurkers; they start adding all kinds of books to read from other’s to-read or currently-reading lists, but you never see what they’re currently reading. Like it’s some sort of top secret mission: survey the populace under the guise of a reader, but lo! The Secret-Keeper then rates three books at once that he or she read in the past 24 hours, having never appeared on the currently-reading list before they are just done.  This person is deep as a well, introspective and sometimes shy. Also endowed with the title Fear-of-Commitment because they might hold back from posting their in-progress reads for fear putting themselves out there and failing (i.e. not finishing the book; the ADD has no problem with this). Though they keep the rate of their progress on their reading ventures to themselves, they have no shortage of reading stamina and rated books at the end of the day.


The Scheduled and/or Meticulous Follower-Through

night film norton anth of poetry on writing frefall

These are people that always only have a few select books, usually widely ranged or in different areas, like a fiction, a nonfiction, and a poetry perhaps, and there are no other books added until those are read. These people are probably maddeningly organized, positive, dependable, and infectiously upbeat. You might find yourself screaming through the screen at them, “How do you do it?!” And then muttering, “Ooh, that looks good,” before adding one of their recent reads to your own to-read list.

The Online-Dater

This person has hundreds of friends somehow and little to no books. He or she does not want to be left out and often seeks to be the center of attention. Rambunctious, funny, friendly, talkative, and can rarely be found sitting at home reading a book (apparently).

The Slow-and-Steady

You’ll see one book on this person’s Goodreads for a week or so, and you know they’re actually reading it because you see the status updates every few pages. They do this out of pride and self-satisfaction with their progress (I know, because this is part of my M.O. too). This personality is that person that you don’t want to play chess or Risk with, because they take a long time to make decisions. Not because they are inept, but because they are too calculated. As a result, their decisions are often the right ones, but everyone affected by those decisions have aged 27 years by the time it’s made.

The Erudite

norton anth of theory and criticism culture and imperialism fabric of cosmos

This personality’s feed boasts a proliferation of nonfiction books consistently, making you wonder if this person ever partakes in the simple pleasure of a good ‘ole fictive endeavor. They can usually be found reading obscure things that often feel like work to us normal folk like Literary Theory, or philosophy, or social criticism. Don’t get me wrong, I read those things myself back in my college days, and I enjoyed them—some of them—and I even look forward to getting back to Heideger’s Being and Time, and Jung’s Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, but do I want to read that all day every day and never anything else? This constant information inundation pays off for the studious, duteous Erudite reader who often believes him or herself to be right, because they usually probably are. Do not get into an argument with this person. They are like a hound on the scent.

Want to change your goodreads personality horoscope? If you’re ADD like me, finish all the books on your currently reading list and allow yourself one at a time. If you’re slow and steady, you can give yourself quotas per year or month. Afraid of looking like an ADD? Are you Afraid-of-Commitment? Just put yourself out there. You never know what kind of feedback you might garner. The Online-Dater? Read something! How did you find this website anyway?

Have you encountered any other personality types on Goodreads?

8 thoughts on “What Your Goodreads Says About You”

  1. Ha! This is great! And so true. I am a Meticulous Follow-Through-er (Follower-Through?) and proud of it. In fact, I’m quite certain you thoroughly analyzed my Goodreads page for that portion of the post. (I feel so naked!) Thanks for not naming us “The OCD Readers” which would have been true but somewhat angst-inducing.

  2. Haha! I was going to say the same thing as Carie. It’s totally true; I’m pretty sure I could count the number of books I’ve “given up on” in my entire lifetime on one hand. They have to really irk me in some way.

    This is a really clever post. 🙂 And thanks for sharing my comp titles link!

    1. I do give up on books. Not a LOT (though I probably need all my fingers and toes to count them). But when I do, I don’t publicize it. The book simply disappears from my Goodreads in a puff of smoke. *poof* Gone? You must be mistaken. It was never there…


Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s