A new year, a new TBR (to-be-read) pile. If you’re an avid reader, you’ve probably started on your must-reads for the year and maybe even set a reading goal for 2021. Personally, one of my reading goals for 2021 is to read more books outside my usual genre. But as these are unexplored genres for me, finding a good book in these categories may be a bit challenging.
Goodreads, probably the most popular website and application for bookworms, is most bookworms’ go-to site for anything book-related from discovering to tracking and reviewing of their latest reads. Their popular features also include the yearly Goodreads Choice Awards where you can vote for the best releases of the year as well as the yearly Reading Challenge where you can target reading a certain amount of your choice every year.
But Goodreads is not perfect. Its user interface is not the best and their recommendations feature is not spot on. Goodreads is also bigger on the social aspect, which may be a big plus for some but an unnecessary feature for others.
Enter The StoryGraph, a new website for book lovers that just launched last January 4, 2021. After using the beta site and app for a month, I found that The StoryGraph has a deep understanding of the behaviors and preferences of book lovers and has developed features that I believe are helpful in tracking and discovering new reads.
Perhaps one of the highlights among StoryGraph’s features is its recommendations. Comparing the homepages, the first thing you see on Goodread’s are updates from your friends, similar to a Facebook timeline, while StoryGraph immediately gives you a list of recommended books. These recommendations will be based on your answers to a comprehensive questionnaire upon creating an account where they ask you about your reading preferences such as preferred genres, kinds of books you usually read, characters, and more, so make sure you give detailed answers as much as possible to get the best personalized recommendations.
Upon clicking ‘Find a Book’ on its homepage, StoryGraph allows you to filter the books based on your mood instead of just genres, giving you search results that best fit what you are looking for at the moment. It also has other options that allows you to filter your searches such as page number and pace and you can also choose to only show books that are on your to-read pile.
Book profiles on StoryGraph are also interesting as they provide you with a more in-depth overview of the book. Aside from the usual straightforward details such as author, publication date, and page numbers, book profiles are filled with more information on the book’s content such as content warnings, mood (sad, dark, relaxing, funny, adventurous, lighthearted, and more) pacing (slow, medium, fast), and even character traits (strong development, lovable, diverse, flawed). These info are curated through crowdsourcing. Upon marking a book as ‘read’, StoryGraph asks users for their own opinion on the book in terms of the mentioned aspects.
Another good thing about the book profiles on StoryGraph is the fact that the average rating is not front and center. Not focusing on the rating too much can allow you to choose a book based on its content rather than popular opinion. A book with a 3-star rating may not necessarily be a bad book for you and who knows how many new favorites you will discover if you don’t judge a book by its rating! Here is a sample of a book’s info section using Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood as an example:Another interesting feature on StoryGraph is the statistics page. On the stats page found on the ‘Your StoryGraph’ page, you will find a statistical summary of all the books you have tracked. It shows you insightful statistics on how many books you have read in terms on mood, page numbers, pace, genre, and average rating. I love this feature as it gives you an overview of your taste and likes or what genres you have yet to explore!
StoryGraph also allows you to to set a reading goal similar to Goodreads. You can also import your Goodreads data so you won’t need to start from scratch!
You can visit The StoryGraph page at www.thestorygraph.com or install the app by following the steps in this link: app.thestorygraph.com/app. The StoryGraph is free but they will also be launching StoryGraph Plus, a paid subscription if you are looking for a more enhanced and personalized experience.