Goodreads Blog

Five Stories of Friendship and Favorite Books Found on Goodreads

Posted by Hayley on September 05, 2017

Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.

"Friendship," C.S. Lewis wrote, "is born at the moment when one man says to another, 'What! You, too? I thought that no one but myself…'"

We see a lot of those moments on Goodreads. Here you are not alone in your love of authors and books; here you can find entire groups of readers as caught up in other worlds and other characters as you are.

As Goodreads Turns Ten, we wanted to highlight some amazing stories from our members about finding kindred spirits and rediscovering the joy of reading. Read them below, and, if you have your own story, share it with us in the comments.

International Pen Pals

"Several years ago I connected with a woman from Germany named Carolin on Goodreads. We had read the same book, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and started discussing it. Over many exchanged messages, we found we had a lot in common. And we just kept talking. We became very close. She would mail me surprises from whatever country she was visiting.

When I lost my first son, she was a great comfort to me. We never lost contact. Last year she flew all the way from Poland to Colorado to visit with us! We hung out and had an amazing time.

And it all started over a random book on Goodreads!"
-Leah K.

Guilt Free

"I stumbled into romance books as a guilty pleasure in my late twenties—and I do mean 'guilty.' I would never, ever, on pain of death to my e-reader, have admitted out loud what I liked to read. Instead, desperate for more recommendations but too shy to ask anyone in real life, I found Goodreads.

After meeting hundreds of like-minded readers and authors on the website, I stopped feeling guilty about my books. I even casually sorta-kinda dropped it into conversation with my sister one day to see what would happen. Lo and behold, she was a closet romance fan, too! Intrigued, I asked my mom and...yup! Now we trade recommendations and industry gossip and even go to conventions together. Goodreads for the win!"

Happily Ever After

"My brother Hani is getting married to a woman named Hind Al Essa. We all used to live in Saudi Arabia, but Hani and Hind met on Goodreads after bonding over the books of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, their favorite author."

Origin Story

"I was always a reader. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking me to the library so I could pick out books to read on the weekends. I didn't know a lot of other people who read, so reading was mostly an isolated act for me.

Then, in 2007, I discovered Goodreads. Not only did I immediately join book clubs to connect with readers, I also started shelving and reviewing books. I didn't know it at the time but both of those activities would lead me to where I am now— a creator and moderator of The Next Best Book Club (TNBBC) and a small press book blogger/freelance publicist.

From the moment I created an account here, not a day has gone by where I haven't checked in to the site. Through Goodreads and TNBBC, I've met a seemingly infinite number of amazing readers and authors. I've discovered new and exciting books to read, and I've been able to introduce those books and authors to other readers, too!

I am so thankful for Otis and Elizabeth and the book haven they've created for us. My reading life exploded when I found Goodreads, and I don't know where I'd be today without it."

From: Your Favorite Author

"I was engaged to be married in November. For the past few months, he had been keeping a secret that he was not ready to get married and was hoping to change his mind by the time the wedding day came. (Imagine that perfect plot of being left at the altar!) Thankfully, I found out and called off our engagement.

In order to keep myself distracted, I decided to pick up reading again. After a few tries, I found a book that was just daring me to read it—The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able by Natalie Grigson. I was so in love with everything about this book that I decided to message the author on Goodreads. She was like a celebrity to me, so I never actually expected anything to come of my message to her. But then I saw an email pop up on my iPhone! I had to catch my breath for the next five minutes. Natalie replied back…to me!

Since then, I've been so fortunate to exchange a couple of emails with her. I told her she was the reason my "internal monologue" was something I was no longer ashamed of! And thanks to the encouragement, I started my own book club. Natalie gave me the confidence I needed to open myself back up to literature."
-Elizabeth C.

See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18
The Best Books of the Decade, Chosen by You
Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time
Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member

Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy I love the story of the pen pals! <3 <3 <3

message 2: by Rachmi (new)

Rachmi Goodreads was the main reason why I finally have gut to read books in English.

I'm not an English native speaker though I've been learning it since I was in junior high school, but I wasn't brave enough to read any book in English. You may find it ridiculous but for me who rarely use English it takes courage. And then in 2009 I read about Goodreads and decided to join though at the time I only joined one group, a (sort of) Goodreads branch, I'd like to call it because it's only for readers from my country.

And then discover a new author, Julie Kagawa who published her debut and it apparently has translated into my own language, the next couple months I heard that the publisher was closed and I couldn't continue the series. I was quite disappointed but then I "forced" myself to continue it by reading the rest of the series in English. Bought the whole boxset at Book Depository and slowly but surely finished it within months.

While I read, I was also more confident to interact with members from around the world (in English!). And joined a couple of groups based in many countries.

And here I am! member since 2009 and reading most of my books in English now, have friends from around the world, even met two of them in real life and call them and talk to them regularly through phone call, whatsapp, and any other communication line.

So thank you so much, Goodreads! And happy birthday!

message 3: by D.G. (new)

D.G. Oh wow! So many amazing stories!

message 4: by Safae (new)

Safae Rachmi wrote: "Goodreads was the main reason why I finally have gut to read books in English.

I'm not an English native speaker though I've been learning it since I was in junior high school, but I wasn't brave..."

Your story is so much like mine , we are both not native speakers of english, and both joined and started reading english books in 2009 .

message 5: by Greg (new)

Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom Goodreads is almost the only place where I can hang out with people that not only love to read books but readers who actually read my favorite genres.

message 6: by Rachmi (new)

Rachmi Safae wrote: "Rachmi wrote: "Goodreads was the main reason why I finally have gut to read books in English.

I'm not an English native speaker though I've been learning it since I was in junior high school, but..."

High five! And now we're friends :D Another reason why I love Goodreads so much. I met so many dear friends of mine here and when I want to travel, I often think if I can meet up with one of them and share our love of books in real life. It's just so wonderful!

message 7: by Taaya (new)

Taaya Oh, I'm sooo jealous of the Pen Pal story. (It's a bit like in Katarina Bivald's book, though I hope none of them will die shortly before the other comes to visit. But finding a friend in a different part of the world just because of a book? THAT's the real magic of this world.) I always dreamt about something like that happening to me. But unfortunately a real website to find friends via books has not yet been invented. Like .... people recommendations based on how you rate specific books. That'd be great.

message 8: by Kinga (new)

Kinga I opened my GR account in 2008 when I moved to London from Warsaw (or at least this was when I started using it actively). It helped me to readjust from reading mainly in Polish to reading mainly in English and gave my reading some directions. Also, I met lots of people on here, whom I then met in real life (especially much needed London friends). Here I met Anna who is now my best friend.

Writing reviews in English helped me gain confidence to write in English (and what do you know, I'm getting published soon).

I really don't want to get all mushy over a website but it is one of my favourite corners on the internet.

message 9: by Kinga (new)

Kinga Taaya wrote: "Like .... people recommendations based on how you rate specific books. That'd be great. "

There is a Polish book website that gives you a list of users whose ratings and book choices match you the closest. That feature alone wouldn't be too difficult to implement on GR but I think it's often better to find friends who like slightly different book to you and have slightly different opinions. :)

message 10: by Taaya (new)

Taaya Kinga wrote:

There is a Polish book website that gives you a list of users whose ratings and book choices..."

Is it available in English? (Or German?)

I don't know. I'm a book blogger, so in the community I see a lot of people reading other books than me. That doesn't help me to get in contact with them. They're not interested in reading what I just read in order to discuss it, and neither am I interested in reading what they just read. We all have high TBRs and not the time to read something in between just to be able to talk about it.

A different opinion is good, sure. But discussing why a book is great or why character A did this instead of that is no fun if the other person hates the book. You need somebody who hates the book as much as you do or loves the book (maybe for a different reason) in order to truly discuss something without disliking the other person in the end.

message 11: by Safae (new)

Safae Rachmi wrote: "Safae wrote: "Rachmi wrote: "Goodreads was the main reason why I finally have gut to read books in English.

I'm not an English native speaker though I've been learning it since I was in junior hi..."

well you are more than welcome to come visit in Morocco anytime you want

message 12: by Breslin (new)

Breslin White Aw, this is heartwarming. ☺

message 13: by Rose (new)

Rose Rachmi wrote: "Goodreads was the main reason why I finally have gut to read books in English.

I'm not an English native speaker though I've been learning it since I was in junior high school, but I wasn't brave..."

That's a sweet story, and I'm glad you were able to finish the series and be a part of Goodreads as well. :)

message 14: by Maria (new)

Maria Origin Story is wonderful. GR changes our lives.
I have always love reading but with GR now it's more incredible: new ideas, new people, a lot of languages, suggestions... it's wonderful. Thanks!!!

message 15: by Sandi (new)

Sandi I haven't read all the comments, but a couple's names, Hani and Hine, are just too funny. No disrespected intended.

message 16: by Reading Faerie (new)

Reading Faerie I liked the stories Pen Pals and Guilt Free. : )

message 17: by Julia (new)

Julia These stories make me love goodreads even more <3

message 18: by Anna (new)

Anna Those are some really neat stories!

message 19: by Anna (new)

Anna I love the pen pal one especially. So cool.

message 20: by Catherine (new)

Catherine I love writing lettres!! I have quite a few penpals.

message 21: by Paweł (last edited Sep 11, 2017 05:15AM) (new)

Paweł I joined Goodreads about a month ago, though previously I was using a similar polish website. I thought of joining earlier, but I was afraid of losing a couple of years of read books I had on the other portal. I made the decision after buying my new Kindle, which is integrated with Goodreads. It took me a couple of hours to add my books (I just added a part of my collection from couple of years back, though). It was tough, because there is ten star rating on the polish website, so with books I rated uneven number of stars I had to recall how much I liked that book and decide to round it up or down. It was a great decision and I like spending time on GR. I wouldn't have thought you can make friends on GR. It's really heartwarming to read all these stories happening in a small corner of a cold place full of trolls (the Internet). Have a nice day, everyone ;-)

message 22: by Leah (new)

Leah K Hey, look at that! I am the pen pal girl! I had been on Goodreads for years with little interaction with anyone when I had the good fortune to make the random connection with Carolin. She is an amazing woman and I am happy to call her a best friend! I'm glad our story has touched many of you :)

message 23: by Cruz Lorenzo (new)

Cruz Lorenzo Ohh I like it very much)

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