New Superstition Review Goodreads Account

GoodreadsAs an English Literature major, I’ve studied Hemingway, Nabokov, Bronte, Chaucer, Shakespeare…and the list goes on. There’s something all of these writers have in common: they aren’t living. Their voices are frozen in the past.

Can you think of any living authors that you love to read? There was a time when I couldn’t list many. On the Superstition Review intern application, our editor Patricia Murphy asks for three of your favorite living authors. When I saw that I thought, “Living? Why? All the good ones are dead!” Looking back, I can’t believe all of the authors I was missing out on reading. If you browse through the contemporary authors in Superstition Review’s Goodreads bookshelves, you’ll see these authors are writing lots of books and they are all a part of a thriving literary community. If only we would put down Faulkner, Fitzgerald, or Frost, pick up one of their books, and join the conversation. When I began to use Goodreads, the social networking site for readers, I found that Margaret Atwood, along with some of my other favorite authors, has an account there as well.

Contemporary authors are not only writing books: they’re tweeting, collaborating with a publisher on a Q & A session, or speaking to college students. Simon J. Ortiz is speaking to my Literature of Immigration and Diaspora class this semester. Michael Ondaatje came to ASU’s Tempe campus to hold a public discussion. Margaret Atwood is an activist of environmental preservation in Canada, and she uses Twitter and Goodreads to connect with her fans and promote environmental awareness. Alice Munro is the literary voice of the Canadian middle class – she is referred to as “the Canadian Chekhov” – and her new collection of stories was just published. Dickens or Dickinson can’t fulfill that kind of presence.

When I joined Twitter, I was delighted by the presence of authors, literary magazines, and book presses. It was like browsing through a virtual bookstore: I followed Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Ondaatje, Salman Rushdie, Anne Lamott, Sherman Alexie, Roxane Gay…and that’s just the writers. Almost every university literary review is on Twitter, plus Tin House, Willow Springs, McSweeney’s, and The Paris Review. I followed The Penguin Press, Red Hen Press, Random House, and Graywolf Press. Authors, magazines, and presses are tweeting like they aren’t worried about censoring themselves or fulfilling an image of distant formality. They talk; their followers talk back.

Every time the little blue mark pops up on the bottom of my Twitter feed, it means I have connected with someone. One time, that blue mark appeared because Margaret Atwood had retweeted my tweet. It was incredible – an accomplished, famous writer who has over 300,000 Twitter followers took the time to retweet my tweet. I took a screenshot of my tweet on her profile, uploaded it to Instagram, and updated my Facebook status (it read: One of my tweets was retweeted by Margaret Atwood, one of my favorite authors. No big deal…just kidding, it is!). In my 15 minutes of Twitter fame (at least, it felt like fame to be on Margaret Atwood’s profile for, literally, 15 minutes before I was lost in her sea of tweets) I experienced how literary culture powered by social media makes writers and literary organizations accessible.

One of my projects this semester was to add to our SR Goodreads bookshelves all of the books by SR Contributors from all of our nine issues. I created bookshelves that hold fiction, nonfiction, and poetry written by Superstition Review contributors. With nine issues of Superstition Review released to date, the number of books quickly rose to well over 1,000. I became better acquainted with so many contemporary authors.

Some Superstition Review contributors have a vast list of published works, such as Sherman Alexie, T.C. Boyle, Adrian C. Louis, and Madison Smartt Bell. Other contributors have a smaller list of works on Goodreads, but their readership is growing as they use Goodreads and other social networking sites to create an online presence. The SR Goodreads account is a great way to follow their careers.

As I worked on a Goodreads project for Superstition Review, I noticed that literary magazines and presses are also using Goodreads, like other social networking sites, to extend their online presence. Goodreads’ target audience is passionate readers, so the site can be used to showcase works that magazines and presses have published while making connections with readers and other literary organizations.

Willow Springs and Featherproof Books have bookshelves titled “we published it,” The Paris Review has their blog connected to their Goodreads account, and Superstition Review includes all of their various social networking links on their Goodreads profile. The Goodreads literary community shares the goal of extending readership of their magazine, blog, and the authors they have published, while increasing traffic to their other social networking sites.

With the emergence of Goodreads, the options for following and connecting with authors, literary magazines, and presses is vast. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and Goodreads are all channels of communication within the literary community: which do you prefer and how do you use them?

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7 thoughts on “New Superstition Review Goodreads Account

  • November 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I love social networks as a way of discovering new writers and keeping up with old favorites — although I will say that sometimes breaking down that barrier can also lead to some discontentment. Sometimes I read authors whose works I really admire and then get on their twitter and their opinions are… inflammatory? Extreme? and the love I had for their writing gets diminished. That being said, any time I can find discussion of people who enjoy reading talking about books and writers, it’s a place I want to spent more time at!

  • November 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I agree with Colleen that sometimes an author’s Twitter presence isn’t as likable as their characters…but other times the opposite is true and I love it when that happens! I am so excited about SR’s goodreads account because it makes keeping up with new publications {just a little bit} easier. Great post Rikki!

  • November 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Great post Riki! The work you’ve done in putting a Goodreads account together is fantastic. I, too, had struggled to think of present day contemporary writers who I admire. Most of the class I have taken thus far focused on classic literature and I did not feel as well read as I should be. Now, with the opportunity to be an intern for SR, I am able to understand social media through the literary realm and discover many present day writers. Your work with Goodreads has allowed for this expansion to grow, I’m excited to explore Goodreads through literary magazines such as the one you created for SR.

  • November 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Good job with SR’s Goodreads account, Rikki! And your post, of course!

    I’m with you and Leann; when Trish asked me to list my top five contemporary authors, I had omitted “contemporary” and had instead given her my list of non-living authors. After she pointed out what she had really asked for, I struggled with which living authors I liked; I remembered reading their works but couldn’t recall their names. Initially, I was blown away with the existence of literary magazines. I mean, I knew they were probably out there but to the extent of my clueless knowledge, I could only think of The New Yorker. As the internship progresses, I’m discovering more and more contemporary authors.

    I have yet to sign up for a Goodreads account for fear that I may be sucked in and explore the site instead of doing homework, but I will definitely do so soon.

  • November 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you to everyone for the kind words. Working on SR’s Goodreads account and writing this blog post were enjoyable and informative, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity.

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