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Pimp Your GitHub Profile with Books You Read

zwacky profile image Simon Wicki Originally published at wicki.io ・4 min read

Keep the books you read in sync with your GitHub profile README

In this post I'd like to show you how to use GitHub Actions to automatically sync your Goodreads books you read in your GitHub profile README.

I created goodreads-profile-workflow for devs that love to read and like to share what they read. You can customise the input parameters to your liking: list the books you're currently reading, last 5 books you read and even add your personal ratings, too.

GitHub logo zwacky / goodreads-profile-workflow

Show what you're currently reading and recently read on your GitHub profile readme.

Leave a star on the repo if you think it's cool!


GitHub Actions and Profile READMEs

When you head over to your GitHub profile page, https://github.com/zwacky in my case, you'll see that you can do more than just pin repositories. If you're missing yours, check out the official docs on GitHub to get one, too.

Keeping your profile README fresh with up-to-date data is a great way to show your visitors what you're up to or what you've been working on. Either you do it manually or you automate it with the help of GitHub Actions. They can run workflows periodically and update your README for you.

There are tons of great ones out there. Have a look at the great list awesome-github-profile-readme repo for inspiration. They include GitHub Actions that can:

  • update your latest blog entries
  • update your GitHub activity
  • or even update your sleep data from your sleep tracker

How To Use

I'll quickly explain here how to use goodreads-profile-workflow and what the GitHub Actions do. For a full step-by-step guide read the how to use section of the project.

#1 Add placeholders to your README

Your README.md will be updated and eventually updated every hour by the GitHub Action. So it needs to know where the list begins, and where it ends. The content inbetween will then be replaced with the latest content. As an example it could look like this:

# Hey there 👋
I'm Simon and live in Berlin as a Freelance Frontend developer.

# Last 5 Books I've Read 🤓
<!-- GOODREADS-LIST:START -->
<!-- GOODREADS-LIST:END -->
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You can customize the GOODREADS-LIST tags, so you can have multiple workflows updating different sections in your README. This is also what I'm using to get to the screenshot at the top of this post.

#2 Create a workflow file

Create a file in your own GitHub profile repo so it's located at: {REPO}/.github/workflows/goodreads-books-workflow.yml.

GitHub Actions look for *.yml files in the /.github/workflows directory. These files are called workflows.

In this workflow file you can paste the following:

name: Latest book list from goodreads
on:
  schedule: # Run workflow automatically
    # This will make it run every hour
    - cron: "0 * * * *"
    # Run workflow manually (without waiting for the cron to be called), through the Github Actions Workflow page directly
  workflow_dispatch:
jobs:
  update-readme-with-goodreads-books:
    name: Update this repo's README with what you're currently reading
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    steps:
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - uses: zwacky/goodreads-profile-workflow@main
        with:
          # Replace this with your goodreads user id (go to "My Books" on goodreads to see it in the URL)
          goodreads_user_id: "92930971"
          shelf: "currently-reading"
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The last lines are input parameters. Make sure you change them with your Goodreads ID.

Have a look at all the input parameters and template variables that goodreads-profile-workflow support.

#3 Commit and trigger the workflow

If you head over to the Actions tab in the repo. You should see your "Latest book list from goodreads" workflow. This is also where you can see if the job ran successfully or if there is an issue or typo.

manually trigger workflow for GitHub Actions

Alternatively you could also wait until the scheduler picks up on the "0 * * * *" setting (every hour) in the yml workflow.

#4 Done 🎉

Hope you find this workflow useful! Please reach out via GitHub issues or Twitter. Excited to hear from all the different reading lists and how your profile looks. Please consider leaving a GitHub star.


Simon Wicki is a Frontend Developer in Berlin. Passionate and fluent in Vue, Angular, React and Ionic. Interested in Tech, frontend & non-fiction books.

👉 Join me on Twitter to follow my latest updates.

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