Goodreads Blog

Read for a Good Cause with Goodreads Book Club

Posted by Otis on July 06, 2011 1

The right book can literally change a life. This founding philosophy has guided Goodreads from the start, and now we want to give back in a tangible way. We are proud to say that this summer the Goodreads Book Club has partnered with First Book to donate to children in need.

The stats on illiteracy in North America alone are staggering. Many kids can't get their hands on a book when they really want one, because many schools and families lack the means to purchase books. Our inaugural Goodreads Book Club is about bringing readers together: Now we've expanded that core goal to bring books to children that desperately need them.

Here is our pledge: We are donating 1,000 books to kids in need for every 10,000 Goodreads members who add A Visit from the Goon Squad to their shelves. As of today, there are already more than 25,000 who have read or plan to read Jennifer Egan's evocative Pulitzer-winning novel, so we have already promised 2,000 books! Help us reach the next campaign benchmark by adding the book and inviting your friends to join the Goodreads Book Club.

Our partner, First Book, is a stellar nonprofit organization that serves children with the greatest need by distributing books throughout the United States and Canada to schools and community programs in low-income communities. Their commitment to bringing children a steady supply of new books is very much aligned with the Goodreads mission to get people excited about reading. As First Book notes on its Web site, "Studies show that interest in reading more than triples among children who received new books from First Book."

Our initial goal is to donate 5,000 books—which means we need 50,000 people to add A Visit From The Goon Squad by August 2, when the Book Club concludes with a live video chat with author Jennifer Egan. If more than 50,000 people add the book before the end date, we will honor our pledge and donate up to 10,000 books!*

This is a fun, easy way for you to help us give the gift of the written word to thousands of kids who need it.

Help us spread the love!

To celebrate our partnership with First Book, we're giving away 10 paperback copies of A Visit from the Goon Squad, signed by the author Jennifer Egan! Enter to win »








* Books added by illegitimate accounts will not be included in the total number of adds. We reserve the right to disqualify accounts from unverified sources.

Comments (showing 1-50 of 57) (57 new)


message 1: by Soul (new)

Soul This is Really Great effort and Good thing on Goodreads part to help kid's who can't get their hands on books because of their financial problems.

keep up the good work, may God bless u all!!!


message 2: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Clark I'm 100% behind efforts to get more books to more kids, especially those who live in households where nobody reads books and go to schools whose libraries are being slashed in a frenzy of counter-productive "deficit reduction." But isn't there another way than having to read a particular book? I have my own "to be read" pile and Egen's book doesn't happen to be in it.


message 3: by Kyusik (new)

Kyusik Chung Donna wrote: "Wow, having already added, read, and commented on Goon Squad, I kind of wish I had to exert some sort of effort to consciously help out... then again, it's a new and sort of happy experience to dis..."

You can exert some effort to help out by spreading the word and recruiting your friends. ;) Every couple of friends = one more book for a child in need.


message 4: by Otis (new)

Otis Chandler Colleen - Goon Squad has wide appeal imho, but for those that aren't into it, you can always make a donation to First Book directly!


message 5: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Clark Otis wrote: "Colleen - Goon Squad has wide appeal imho, but for those that aren't into it, you can always make a donation to First Book directly!"
I'm glad to do so. How?
I don't mean to disparage Egan's book. One of the great things about there being so many books is that we can follow our own noses. And I do like Good Reads for the opportunity to share with many readers.


message 6: by Spacedaisie (new)

Spacedaisie Nice! AVFTGS is my next pick for Book Club!


message 7: by Betsy (last edited Jul 06, 2011 02:28PM) (new)

Betsy Colleen, I'm with you, but I decided to "cheat". The book doesn't appeal to me right now, so I'm going to add it to my "Maybe" shelf. That's where I keep track of books that I'm not sure I want to read right now but I think I might want to read them in the future and I want to be able to remember "that book I saw several years ago in a Goodreads promotion". After all, you just have to add it to your shelves; you don't actually have to buy or read the book.


message 8: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Clark Betsy wrote: "Colleen, I'm with you, but I decided to "cheat". The book doesn't appeal to me right now, so I'm going to add it to my "Maybe" shelf. That where I keep track of books that I'm not sure I want to ..."
Thanks, will do.


message 9: by Linette (new)

Linette I'd love to help out with this truly! But I really don't want to read that particular book. Maybe with the next book that's chosen for this book club? Looking forward to it.


message 10: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown Linette wrote: "I'd love to help out with this truly! But I really don't want to read that particular book. Maybe with the next book that's chosen for this book club? Looking forward to it."

You can add it to any shelf you like, not just your currently-read shelf. Also, as others have suggested, you can support the cause by encouraging your friends to add the book.


message 11: by Brian (new)

Brian Colleen et al., if you're interested in donating directly (first of all, you totally rock!), all you need to do is click on the FirstBook logo (the one above on this page will work just fine!). Or just http://www.firstbook.org . There's a link to donate on their homepage. We don't have a way to donate from within Goodreads, but that's a cool idea for the future.


message 12: by Kerie (new)

Kerie Allibone Retweeted and happy to do so. I loved this book and have recommended it to my friends already.


message 13: by Anna (new)

Anna I've already read the book. hope it counts.


message 14: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Freitag The donation and distribution of books is an excellent idea. More people ought to be encouraged to read and hone their minds. However, the definition of "illiteracy" is not "the inability to procure books" but "the inability to read." Books are in abundance. I know: I'm an author. I'm competing with a massive sea of books out there. The difficulty is not that the children cannot hold a book in their hands (we have libraries in our forward world, institutions for people to procure and read books for free - assuming they turn them back in on time), but that they are not educated in the grueling, but rewarding, process of reading.

By all means, let us uphold the honour and dignity of books: but let us also cultivate the skill of reading them.


Kristi-The Book Faery I think it's a fantastic idea to provide books for those areas that don't get the amount of funding necessary to keep books on their shelves.

Most children/teens entering a library aren't illiterate but looking for an outlet to take them away from the real world for awhile, to find something that touches their heart or to learn something new. I was one of those kids.

I'm in :o]


message 16: by Kressel (new)

Kressel Housman The book doesn't look like my cup of tea, but I added it to support the cause.

In any case, there are other ways GoodReads can do book give-aways. No doubt, all of us have dozens if not hundreds of old books just sitting on our shelves. For those of us with kids, there are bound to be dozens more in the "outgrown" category. Isn't there some way we can start donating these to people in need? For example, I work in NYC. One of these days, I plan to give a bunch of "outgrown" books to a rehab program for drug-addicted mothers. Couldn't GoodReads create a function to track the books we give away to good causes, just like the books we read are tracked and counted?


message 17: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl I do want to read this book, sounds kind of like my life.


message 18: by Ms Troyer (new)

Ms Troyer Just wanted to add - I'm a teacher and my kids have received lots of great books from First Book. It's a fabulous organization and I'm so glad you guys are helping them out!


message 19: by Dottie (last edited Jul 07, 2011 10:09AM) (new)

Dottie Otis -- this will work if the book is placed on any one of our exclusive shelves? Am I correct in that? Or does it have to be on a specific Goodreads official shelf? If not, I'll move the book.


message 20: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown Dottie wrote: "Otis -- this will work if the book is placed on any one of our exclusive shelves? Am I correct in that? Or does it have to be on a specific Goodreads official shelf? If not, I'll move the book."

Any shelf at all.


message 21: by Dottie (new)

Dottie Patrick wrote: "Dottie wrote: "Otis -- this will work if the book is placed on any one of our exclusive shelves? Am I correct in that? Or does it have to be on a specific Goodreads official shelf? If not, I'll ..."

Okay -- It's on there and thanks for the quick response, Patrick.


Kristi-The Book Faery Right on! I have so many books and our local yet undeniably understocked library has so many rules about accepting books it's virtually impossible to donate to them. Small town, smaller minds-same with our school library, sad to say.

I'd love to find a way to donate my ton of books that are well loved and taken care of to people who'd appreciate them. I'm running out of book shelves and believe me, I've got plenty :o]


message 23: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Colleen wrote: "I'm 100% behind efforts to get more books to more kids, especially those who live in households where nobody reads books and go to schools whose libraries are being slashed in a frenzy of counter-p..."

Why not just add it to your "to read" shelf. Hopefully you decide in the end to read the book, but all they're asking is for you to put the book on your shelf on Goodreads. You don't have to swear an oath to read the book and no one will come after you if you never get to it. Help out some kids by putting it on your shelf and then read it or don't... the choice is entirely yours.


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan As a teacher in a school community that desperately needs to improve literacy rates, I applaud this initiative. It always saddens me to learn that many of my students do not have a single book of their own. I am immediately going to add A Visit to the Goon Squad to my "to read" list! Let's put books into the hands of children.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I think this is a fantastic movement. I'm joining, and hope every member does too :D


message 26: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Anything to make "Goon Squad" a big best-seller, eh?


message 27: by Janine (new)

Janine What a great thing to do!


message 29: by Eva (new)

Eva Leger I already have it listed - did so when GR started the challenge - but this is an awesome idea! I'm going to share it with my friends here and on FB and hopefully we'll get some more books out!
I hope we keep this going!


message 30: by Soul (new)

Soul Sketchbook wrote: "Anything to make "Goon Squad" a big best-seller, eh?"

like Andrea said : "You don't have to swear an oath to read the book and no one will come after you if you never get to it. Help out some kids by putting it on your shelf and then read it or don't... the choice is entirely yours"

so please stop criticizing good work.


message 31: by Jessica (new)

Jessica It's good work, a good cause, but why with a novel that's already a bestseller? Why can't goodreads push a novel that's high quality and not already known to thousands? and why this particular novel? Just wondering....(inquiring minds want to know).


message 32: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook I share this sentiment.


message 33: by Eva (last edited Jul 08, 2011 05:54AM) (new)

Eva Leger Santosh☜(⌒▽⌒)☞ wrote: "Sketchbook wrote: "Anything to make "Goon Squad" a big best-seller, eh?"

like Andrea said : "You don't have to swear an oath to read the book and no one will come after you if you never get to it...."


1.) "good work" is a matter of opinion. Because you think the book is "good work" doesn't make it so for the rest of humanity.

2.) I think most would agree that the comment you replied to isn't exactly 'criticism'. It's more like a bland statement.
Saying something to the effect of, "Hey! Pick a good book instead of this sucky one!" would be more like criticism that what's above.
IMHO anyway.

3.) Why should someone not "criticize" the book? Is this not what GR is about? Is the entire point of GR not to talk about a book, give your own opinion, etc.? Have I gotten this all wrong?


message 34: by Soul (new)

Soul so.. Answers :

first of all to Jessica : hi there,
Jessica wrote: "It's good work, a good cause, but why with a novel that's already a bestseller? Why can't goodreads push a novel that's high quality and not already known to thousands? and why this particular nov..."

well, it is always debatable that Why particular novel or writing or author has been chosen for Group read but look at the positive note :
this book has won few literary awards
so at least we will learn something from it.

and let's say Good reads put some new authors new novel in group read, which is also good in quality. but there would be hundreds if not thousands saying
"why this author or why this novel"?
"i haven't even heard of him!!"
so
for a book club it is always safe route to choose, at least a well known book if not best seller.

hope this will answer your inquiring mind.

TC bye.


message 35: by Sketchbook (last edited Jul 08, 2011 06:28AM) (new)

Sketchbook My mind does not like being manipulated so blatently. Now I'm off to the soup kitchen.


message 36: by Jessica (new)

Jessica So, how will the next book be chosen for the Book Club? Is it a group or an individual who makes that decision? and will each GR Book Club read also be linked to the cause of First Book?


message 37: by Soul (new)

Soul Well let's see :

this book is one of the
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2010)
& i simply don't know which place it managed to get but i guess,

at the end of the day it is a group of individuals who make that decision.

apart from that,

"as a reader it's an honor talking with u"


message 38: by Soul (last edited Jul 08, 2011 07:13AM) (new)

Soul To Eva, hi there..

Eva wrote: " 1) "good work" is a matter of opinion. Because you think the book is "good work" doesn't make it so for the rest of humanity. "

well i agree with what u r saying, that good work is a matter of opinion.

but as i am seeing this particular situation,

'if just by adding a book to my small to read list make some poor child get a book to read' then for me it is a 'good work' and it is IMHO.

but it is my opinion. i am not saying that u should put it in your to read list and make it even bigger by adding one book to the list of 4195 books.

now for the word "criticizing"
i might have over done it by saying that. but as i understand Criticism implies or means : "Disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings"

thus,

"Anything to make "Goon Squad" a big best-seller, eh?"
statement may just be a IMHO but it as well is a overemphasis over shortcoming, and thus a Criticism.


message 39: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Whose payroll are you on? Suffit!


message 40: by Soul (new)

Soul ya and for fellow NYCer Sketchbook,

i m just a reader. like u and like thousands other. and as for payroll, i earn fairly enough to keep my annual to read list satisfied.

but the reason i am taking my time out and explaining this is because, it is not just about you and me it is about much younger readers who will get their first ever free book, and think about it like this even if a single person out of those child's become a reader or (fingers crossed) a author isn't it worth the shot.

tell me what do u think?


message 41: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook We must do what we can to bring happiness into the lives of others.


message 42: by Soul (new)

Soul very true..

by the way what does "Suffit!" means by?
i mean i can't even find it in my dictionary.


message 43: by Jessica (new)

Jessica ca suffit.


It's french for 'that's enough'


message 44: by Soul (new)

Soul oh! then i must say sorry to mr. Sketchbook
coz, even after he said "That's enough" i kept on explaining what i meant.

by the way
ca suffit of me. lol..
:)


message 45: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Awesome, Goodreads! I love the First Reads organization and have donated to them several times. Thank you, Goodreads, for doing this and choosing the perfect group as a recipient.


message 46: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown There seem to be some questions about how we chose A Visit from the Goon Squad. Hopefully I can shed some light on that. The story there is pretty short, really -- the Goodreads staff really liked the book (you can read our reviews to see what the specific breakdown was) and there were many passionate reviews from members extolling its virtues. It was something we all felt good about recommending to our millions of members, and we thought it was a book with fairly broad appeal. Obviously, we couldn't have picked a book that would appeal to literally every member of the site, but we felt this one would have something to offer to many different types of readers.

We chose the book before it won any awards (this project had been talked about and planned for months before it actually launched) or was on the bestseller list. That it has become so popular of a book (25,000 people had added it to their shelves before we announced this charity initiative) only validates our choice, in my opinion.

It was never the goal of the Goodreads Book Club to elevate an obscure book to fame, though that might happen with a future selection. As for how we will choose the next book, it will be much like how we chose this book -- by finding a book that we think is wonderful and that lots of readers might enjoy. We may add a wrinkle to the process (as this is the first time we've hosted the club, we're learning as we go), but it will remain an organic one.

For anyone interested in more about the book club and how and why we chose this book, you can read about it here: http://www.goodreads.com/bookclub/abo...


message 47: by Sketchbook (last edited Jul 08, 2011 02:25PM) (new)

Sketchbook Dear Patrick,

Goodreads is a terrific site. Here my friends and their friends and I can exchange ideas about the classics, discover "new" books that are old, find out about hitherto unknown books, and feel part of a literary culture.

We didnt join to read "best-sellers," pop selections or to be coaxed into them by Good Cause manipulation. Mass-packaging of culture to feed the masses isnt of interest.

Hooray for Goodreads!


message 48: by Natasha (new)

Natasha I am very proud and excited that GoodReads has taken on this endeavor. I had to retire from teaching high school due to a serious relapse of my Multiple Sclerosis. In the years I taught, I was astonished by the reading level kids were coming to me with in high school. Across the country students in high school read and comprehend below that of HS standards. Most of my kids read at a fourth or fifth grade level....except many of those in honors. I high percentage of students cannot even complete a simple 5 paragraph essay due to the influence of media including texting. U git wha Ima sayin lol. That is how students write even on tests and exams until teachers try to unteach them this bad habit of the new generation's grammar.

In saying all of this I was always excited if students wanted to read and many of my students did not get this kind of support from their parents. On a side note some parents find it more important to by their kids uneducational items like smart phones, expensive clothes beyond the means of their budget, and other items that distract from learning like video games instead of buying their kids A BOOK! So when my science students found a link to something we were learning or even a movie we discussed in class, I would use my own money to buy them a book....with the promise they return it so it could go ino my "class library". My heart would do flips when the student returned bursting to talk about the book. Some had questions regarding the plot or if something was possible. Some students took longer reading but they read. The biggest hits were Harry Potter, Stephen King, Dean Koontz (his medical thrillers excited some and linked many of our vocabulary words to their readings), and some classics like Richard Mattheson (most students weren't aware that his books had inspired many of the movies they watched).

Libraries espescially school libraries have a dwindling inventory. Some books are so out dated that the books become uninteresting to even pick up. I hope that this GoodReads initiative is successful. Reading seems at the bottom of the To Do List of most school age kids. We live in a society now where funding has cut most of the important items that used to make schools successful: field trips, guest speakers, class textbooks (to accommodate the large class sizes), and library books that kids actually have heard of and want to read.

Please let us know how to increase the buzz of GoodReads and FirstBook. What twitter hashes have you used #GoodReads/FirstBook ? I want to do my part to get the word out but I don't want to be counterproductive about it. On these posts could we unite and come up with a # to raise the ranks on Twitter and Google to spread the word? Do you have a press release predone to use in our area or downloadable posters to put up in bookstores or libraries? Have you contacted Amazon or some of the other major book retailers to help this become viral and at the top of every persons' To Do across the nation, maybe even globally?


message 49: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Editor: delete ref to M.S.


message 50: by Arti (new)

Arti nice idea


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