Monday, March 30, 2009

Musing Mondays-- Making a List, Checking It Twice

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?

I'm one of those people who love making lists. Until a couple of years after I left college, I did keep lists of the books I'd read. I don't remember why I stopped. But in 2002 the List Bug struck again, and I've recorded the books I've read ever since.

I have so many spreadsheets and other list-type things on my hard drive that I decided to make a more personal record of the books I read. I'd purchased two dozen hardcover, spiral bound notebooks on clearance at Target, and these are what I've used--one page per book. I finally ran out of those and am using a much fancier notebook for 2008/2009. Not only can you tell from the photo that I love my scanner, you can also tell that I'm very attached to my label maker!

I list all the details that I need for my book reviews, as well as any notations about character names, the date I need to post the review (if it's an ARC), and "fun" things for me such as number of pages and the location setting. Each page is also numbered so that I can tell at a glance how many books I've read so far for the year.

I think I prefer handwritten records of the books I read for two reasons: (1) I spend so much time at the computer that I don't want to forget how to write! and (2) As I'm writing this information down, it helps form the review I'm about to write in my mind.

How about you? Are you a born List Maker? Or is it a case of "So many books, so little time"?


  1. I did it as a kid, but then I stopped when I was 12 or something. A few years later I picked it up again and I have been keeping track ever since. I have this small notebooks that are made to keep track of the books you read.
    Date, book, author and some notes :)
    I love it cos I can go back and check things

  2. I have a database I use on my PC. I do take a few notes so I can more easily write my reviews, but I use sticky notes and toss them once my post goes live.

  3. I used to keep lists at the back of my journals, but often forgot so all of them are incomplete.

    Since I began blogging, I've managed to a much better job. It is rare that I fail to include a book that I've read with the exceptions of some gardening and quilting books.

  4. I keep a list on the computer in an excel worksheet. I insert comments in the title column of each book that gives a brief synopsis of the book. I also keep a record of pages, two main characters names, year read, year published, reviewed, Shelfari, genre, and if it is part of a series. I love the "insert comments" button - the comments don't show up unless you put the mouse over the title.

    I haven't been doing this very long (last year and a half) so I am trying to go back little by little and capture the books that I have read previously to keep ing track (the ones I can remember anyway - LOL).

    I like doing it this way because I can sort by author, genre, title, any column I want. I have another excel spreadsheet that keeps track of the number of books read for the year plus number of pages. I also does a graph of each reading year so I can tell if I am behind or ahead of what I have done in previous years.

  5. Great idea to show pics!

    Mine is up.

  6. I had never thought about keeping track until I started blogging and realized what kind of questions other bloggers would ask one out of the blue :D
    So my blog is my method: reviewed books are labeled ´review´, and if I read books and write a post which is NOT a review, I label it commentary so I remember to count those also (I will have to check the posts, though, as some posts cover 3-4 books).

  7. Hi Cathy, I am a list maker. I use to keep track of books I read but then for some reason I stopped until 2007 when I started with the lists again.

    I love your idea about the note book and having one page per book. I usually have a sheet of paper that I make notes on the book but I like your idea.

  8. I'm going to steal your idea of "more details" in my notebook.
    and I just love the fact that yours is handwritten too. There is something so nice about a handwritten list/journal, don't you think?

  9. I love how you did this and a sneak peek inside your journal. I like the thought process you use to begin "composing" your reviews. And I love your journal for this year! How wonderful! I must say, I hardly ever handwrite anything anymore ... my hand actually starts to cramp really easily anymore when I write a lot -- like a holiday time!

  10. Great idea for a paper journal! I like to use Excel, though, but I know what you mean about being on the computer enough as it is! :o)

  11. I knew you'd have a great way to keep track of your reading. I can't believe how organized you are.

  12. if I hand wrote it, I would never be able to read it!

  13. I love the detail you go into in your journal!

  14. Beth--what on earth would we do without sticky notes??? :)

    Mary--I tend to be a very visual person. I don't know what I did before my digital camera and scanner!

    Cindy--yes, the spiral bound notebooks are easy to write in, and there are no loose pages to keep track of!

    Debbie--handwritten is more personal. No matter how much we sit at a computer, "typewritten" will always have a touch of the impersonal to me.

    Jenners--I have to confess to writer's cramp whenever I write for more than a few minutes at a time. :(

    Kathy--"organized" is one of the words most used to describe me. Fortunately I'm not 100% organized. I like to leave a bit of room for sloth and spontaneity!

    Caite--my second grade teacher held up one of my handwritten papers and referred to it as "horrible handwriting". I didn't react well to that...or perhaps I did. I worked hard to make my handwriting legible!

    Thanks, Nise'!

  15. I've got to get a label maker lol. I keep a notebook too and write down the name of the book or movie and the dates I read it which I check off as I review it. I keep a notepad document on my desktop to copy and paste at the end of the month on my blog too.

  16. Tink--I love my label maker! I've even got some of my desk drawers labeled so my husband doesn't have to ask me where the label maker, envelopes, etc. are!

  17. I've been keep a list in a blank journal for about 10 years now, maybe a little less. All I write in there is author, title, pub. date, genre, and the date I finished it. I also have a Goodreads account, which helps me write a semblence (sp!) of a review, which I may or may not use in my blog. My blank journal is my go-to at the library when I'm helping patrons with readers' advisory, or in case anyone asks what I've been reading lately. I do like keeping a handwritten list.

  18. What a great use of your book journal, Patti!


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