As many of you know, for years since the early nineties, I have participated in an online book discussion group. Constant Reader it is called. In about 1993 I purchased a little Dell desktop computer for my home simply in order to learn what the hell people were talking about when they used terms like “hard drive,” “memory,” “RAM,” “floppy disk,” and stuff like that. My internet access was through a service called Prodigy, similar to AOL. There was this message board area of Prodigy. One day I stumbled upon an online discussion by about eight people from around the United States of a novel by Robertson Davies, the great Canadian author.
My connection was dial-up of course, and in those days it was so slow that I could go out in the kitchen and make a pot of coffee while I waited for a new page to load. Nonetheless, this was a new world for me. There sure as hell was nobody in Cedar Rapids with whom I could discuss Robertson Davies that I knew. It is a fair statement to say that this damned online book discussion group changed my life. We need not go into all that. Some of those changes were over the top.
Through the years Constant Reader has had to move to different homes on the internet—different hosting sites. That Prodigy service just disappeared years ago, for example, or was gobbled up by some other service or something. Constant Reader's home currently is at the Goodreads site, which claims to be the largest online gathering spot for book nuts in the world. 2,500,000 members. Constant Reader is just one of hundreds of discussion groups there. There is an icon over there on the right that will link you to Goodreads if you are a book nut and are interested.
I am getting to the point.
Anyway, to amuse myself I wrote and posted a couple of book reviews there. A couple of weeks ago I noticed these mysterious little statistics under my photo in my profile in fine print. I clicked on them to find out what the deal was. Apparently, out of those 2,500,000 members of Goodreads, three people had clicked on this little thingie at the bottom of my reviews indicating that they liked them. Suddenly, that week I was number 27 out of the 50 best book reviewers in all of México, a very big country!
So you know me. This is exactly the kind of thing that will suck me in. I wanted to get closer to that woman up there at the top. I am now writing one little book review per day and posting it there. I just finished getting entirely carried away with my review of Tess of the d'Ubervilles this evening. It will only take me six favorable clicks or so to get a lot closer. I will keep you posted now and again.
I had thought that I was all done with the competitive thing. But we are talking all of México here, and I was in the ballgame and did not even know it!