Laura Gibbs

Random Quotes Widget from Goodreads

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Apr 29, 2018

Through a series of Internet coincidence, I ended up playing with Goodreads this weekend, and I was very excited to find out that it has RSS and it also has widgets. Wonderful! I've always wanted to use Goodreads, but I never found something that hooked me. But now... a random quotes widget, with quotes from my books? I am hooked!


Here's how it happened:


Back in November, someone I do not know, Suniti Namjoshi, contacted me with questions about the illustrations for Steinhowels Aesop, which is a 15th century illustrated Aesop; I have lots of Steinhowel illustrations at my Aesop websites. She wanted to use the illustrations for a book; I gave her the information she needed. She said she would send me a copy of the book.


Well... the book arrived last week, and it is gorgeous! As soon as I read the blurb about the book, I was totally intrigued: I had to read it immediately. So I read the book, and it was fantastic: it's about a time-traveling Sprite (the author herself) who gets pulled back in time to share adventures with Aesop. Brilliant!  I've always used a fox as my social media avatar in honor of the foxes in Aesop's fables... now I am even more committed to Aesop-as-fox.


Aesop the Fox bookcover



I went to write a review at Amazon, but then it turned out the book was not listed at Amazon (I hope it will be soon!). Since I was thwarted at Amazon, I wasn't sure what to do... but then I remembered Goodreads, so I wrote a review there:

review of Aesop the Fox by Suniti Namjoshi 


And in the process of logging on to Goodreads, it prompted me to link up Goodreads with my Amazon account, so I did... and WOW, that meant it was integrated with my Kindle highlights. I repeat: WOW. That meant I could easily create Goodreads Quotes from My Kindle highlights; just a little copying-and-pasting and presto!


To see how that worked, I grabbed a few quotes from a book by Devdutt Pattanaik I am reading right now, plus a book I read a while ago by Shubha Vilas, along with something by Suniti Namjoshi (yes, as soon as I finished her Aesop book I grabbed a copy of the Fabulous Feminist, which is an omnibus of her earlier books... she is such a great writer!). So, here's the result of my little experiment; I've got about 10 quotes in there. By the end of summer, I expect there will be LOTS more (because seriously, I've got what must be a couple hundred highlighted Kindle books to harvest from...). And of course I love that RANDOM is one of the display options:

Quotes - Laura Gibbs


Goodreads quotes screenshot


Now, the Goodreads site is pretty awful in terms of being covered with ads (some pages way worse than others)... but I saw that they offer widgets. There's a MyQuotes widget right there on my quotes page, with a random item from my quotes. There are other widgets too if you want to share what you're reading, etc. ... but for me it is this quotes widget that really appeals!


It's a javascript code, so that means that all I have to do is have it as an .html file, upload that file to Canvas, and then use an iframe to display that file in a Canvas Page (details here; it works just like a Twitter widget):

Goodreads: Random Quotes ... click and see what quote shows up for you!


Goodreads quote in Canvas screenshot


I think this is going to be so useful! I have tons of stuff highlighted in Kindle books, so over the summer I will go through and look for quotable highlights. What a fun excuse to review old books... and what a motivator for reading new books (as if I need motivating ha ha). I'm guessing by the time school starts up I will have contributed a thousand quotes to the Goodreads quotes collection (I'm thinking 10 quotes a day... or more... and it's not even May yet...). That is good for Goodreads, and it's good for me... and this widget will make it good for my students too. The random quotes widget is definitely going to be in the sidebar of my class announcements blog next year. :-)