Customizing my Goodreads shelves

It seems like most people I know are on Goodreads to some degree or another; posting reviews, getting recommendations, or just finding other like-minded bibliophiles to discuss anything and everything literature.

For me, it’s about record keeping. I read this sort of thing. One of the things I wanted to do was try to better utilize my shelves as a means of keeping these records organized. At one point, I thought more detail (aka more lists) was the best way to do this. But that wasn’t working. So as I was going through all my shelves recently, I realize there was something major in Goodreads’ organizational structure that I just didn’t like.

I had a handful of books that I just never finished for one reason or another, and had not interested in finishing. But with Goodreads, your books must fall into one of three categories: Read, Want to Read, or Currently Reading. And those books didn’t fit into any of those. That’s when I discovered, thanks to Goodreads’ twitter folks, that you can create your own exclusive shelves. What this means is, you can place books on those custom shelves without having to put them on one of the default 3.

Goodreads edit shelves

This may not be news to you, or even that interesting… but for me it felt like a game changer. I could now have a DNF shelf and those books would be in their proper place. I didn’t want credit for reading something I hadn’t, nor did I want to leave it as something I wanted to read when I truly didn’t.

As you can see, there are other options for customizing your shelves. For me, the next major one is picking which I want to receive recommendations for (obviously not the DNF list). And then after that I decided I wanted to create my own featured books on my profile. “Favorites” wasn’t just an apt thing for me, as sometimes I might rate things under 5 stars, but still think it’s worth checking out. Thus my “crushworthy” list. They’re not all phenomenal works of literature, but there’s something to love about each of them.

Goodreads profile


I’ve been a fan of Goodreads for a long while, and I’m trying to utilize it and its community better. But for now, I’m at least feeling a little better about how I’m using it to keep track of the books in my life.

*Yes, I totally still have Chicago listed as my hometown despite the fact that I am living in Indiana now. No desire to change this just yet.