Monday, March 30, 2009

Reading records, bookish travels, and link sharing

Do you keep track of what and/or how many books you read? How long have you been doing this? What's your favorite tracking method, and why?If you don't keep track, why not?
(question courtesy of MizB)

Yes, I've been keeping track of what I read since 2002. The main place I do so is in an Excel spreadsheet where I have a tab for my wishlist (books I would like to read someday), TBR (books I own but haven't read yet), full list of all books read, a tab for each year from 2002 to 2009, and Reading Challenges. Inside the yearly tabs, I have columns for Title, Author, Gender, Nationality, Translated (from which language), Translator, Date acquired, Date finished, Rating, Copyright, Prize, Format, Publisher, ISBN-10, ISBN-13, Pages, Own, Keep, Review copy, Genre, Series, Challenge, Comments.
LOL. Are you sorry you asked? I didn't have quite all of these columns when I started in 2002 but have added to them over the years.

I also have a Reading Log, a Word document, for each year since 2006, which has some of the same information as the spreadsheet but is where I elaborate to include the blurb, my review, quotes, interesting vocabulary, and any other misc. information that I want to remember about the book. This is the record that I use when putting together my reviews for my blog. It's a bit of work to maintain the spreadsheet and Reading Log, but I actually enjoy it. It helps me organize my thoughts before posting to my blog, and I always enjoy working out my stats at the end of the year. Then every time I post a review on my blog, I add the link to my Author Index and the 'Read in (whatever year)' list, and for some of them I cross-post or add links to challenge blogs.

I haven't joined any of the online sites like Library Thing, Goodreads, or similar, because just thinking about cataloguing all my books for a site like that makes me tired. So essentially I keep a pretty detailed listing of what I read but it's all just in my computer (and on a back-up hard drive, of course!). For me it's the easiest and I love being able to just click on my spreadsheet whenever I want to refer to the information.

How do you keep track of what you read?

It's Monday, where are you?

I'm still in ancient Israel, waiting to hear the result of the battle with the Canaanites, and still feeling rather hurt that my husband divorced me after so many happy years together.
[The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy]

Today's teaser also comes from The Triumph of Deborah:

As soon as she had vanished, he knew that he had made a grievous error in letting her go. He felt an almost uncontrollable urge to chase after her and plead with her to turn back. (p. 230)

I know, I know. I haven't been very good at joining the Weekly Geeks this year, but this week's theme is a rerun of Dewey's idea in which she encouraged us to link to each other's book reviews. I've had this policy in place since Dewey initiated it, and I do try to link to other reviews in each of my own book reviews. Occasionally I'll remember where I heard of a certain book, or have read a review of it, but usually I'll just do a search in my Google Reader. That never seems to catch them all though but it's something at least. And I'm always very happy if someone lets me know in a comment that they've also reviewed the same book. So please don't hesitate to do so and to leave a link to your review.

Beyond that if I read a review of a book I've read on someone else's blog, I try to leave a link to my review, but I admit I don't always remember. And I haven't been great about looking through the archives of other bloggers. But just because I've been lazy busy, doesn't mean you have to be. So, in the spirit of this week's Weekly Geeks and Dewey's original community-building idea, please take a look at my Author Index, when you have time, and if you've reviewed any of the same books, and I haven't already included a link to your review, let me know and I'll add it asap. Thanks!


  1. I've been very bad about participating in Weekly Geeks too. There's just never enough time for everything - or maybe I just need to get better organized :)

    I really like your Author Index page. So easy to find things!

  2. I love your way of organizing your books! Wish I was as organized as that :p You really should join librarything! I love it :D And if you get a cuecat scanner, putting up your books is quick!

  3. Oh wow! You are extremely organized! I'd love to start keeping track of more things, especially of where I first hear of a book. Most of the time I end up forgetting.

  4. I have a notebook that I list all the books I want to read in, and I tick them off as I go! I also have a library thing and a good reads account, but it is hard finding the time to update them when I'm already so rubbish about my blog!

    Love the new website!

  5. Ah, a list maker after my own heart! I'm very impressed :)

    Can I ask an excel question, though? You have a lot of columns in your database - is there a way tohave labels or headings on these columns?

  6. Iliana - I could really do with being better organized, or some better time management! :)
    Thanks. I'd like to have a Title Index too, but haven't got around to it yet. One of these days.

    Chris - Maybe, but for now I just can't imagine trying to fit in any other online site. I can't keep up as it is!

    Nymeth - That's probably the only portion of my life that is organized! LOL. Lately I've been trying to add where I first heard of a book when I add it to my wishlist, but I don't always remember to do so.

    mariel - That's why I hesitate to join any site like that, I have a hard enough time trying to keep up with blogging and other online commitments.
    And thanks! :)

    Rebecca - Your list making is very impressive too! :)
    For Excel, I just put headings for each column in the first row. Then if you highlight row 2, then in the Menu click on Window, then Freeze Panes, it will make it so you can see the header no matter how far down you scroll. Does that make sense? I really don't know if there's a better way, sorry.

  7. Now YOU are organized! I also have kept my books in an excel spreadsheet for years (although somewhere I kept track before that because my list goes back to 1999--can't remember how I kept track, though). I just have one big honkin' list, though--not different tabs. Great idea!

  8. Trish - I'm impressed your record goes back to 1999. I wish I'd started keeping track earlier, but what can ya do? :)

  9. my blog was my way of keeping tabs of the book I read. But sometime last year I started receiving all these ARCs and the sheer number totally overwhelmed me I wasn't reading as fast as they were coming in and I did want to read other non-ARC books as well.. so then I started an excel sheet to document the inflow of books. It is no where close to being as detailed as yours. But it helps me identify the book and let me know when I got it and for what purpose.

  10. Ramya - I don't get too many review books, or ARCs, but I can imagine you'd need some way to keep track of them all! I have fun with my lists! :)


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