Tracking Your Reads

Since I was away all weekend, I didn’t have to time prep a book review, so let’s talk about tracking what we read!

One thing that astonished me whenever I started exploring the book blog world is that people actually had found a way to combine two of my favorite things– books and lists.  Don’t ask me why this had never occurred to me before.  Perhaps I was too busy hoarding my professor’s lists of “suggested” (more like you will read this book eventually if you want to keep in my good graces) history books and articles on random scraps of paper to think that it would be handy to keep a list of books I wanted to read for fun.  You know, in the event that I might spend a whole summer unemployed struggling to find something good to read.

I went through several iterations of my own lists.  I tried using amazon’s wishlists (since amazon’s suggestions were what I was using to find reads this summer and fall) and then I made a google spreadsheet.  Then I came across this beauty of Fyrefly’s and all bets were off.  (If you are a spreadsheet+book nerd, you need to check it out.)  I also downloaded Dropbox so I could keep my records up to date wherever I went.  The only major change I made to that magnificent spreadsheet was to add a sheet to keep track of books I want to read, who recommended them, and where I can find them when I’m ready for them.

I am really enjoying maintaining my spreadsheet, partly because I am a huge organization nerd (I have a notoriously clean desk.  Really.  My co-workers were just teasing me about it.) and partly because I am at the age in which my previously unassailable memory has started to wither (if this is how bad it is at 26, I can’t even imagine what being 60 will be like).  I can barely remember anything I read a few months ago, even though I think I was actually enjoying myself.  It is also amazing to have some clue what I am looking for when I go to the library or the book store.  (I have a tendency to impulse buy/check out the worst books.  And then never read them.  Or I do and wish I didn’t.)  Finally, it is pretty cool to track how quickly I read books, how many I can expect to get to in a month, and what exactly it is that I am reading.

How do you keep track of what you read?  Are you a spreadsheet-keeper or is your blog or even just your mind good enough?  What tips do you have for those of us who are new at keeping track of our reads?  What info is actually worth keeping track of?  Pages?  Dates of publication?  Days-to-read?  Etc?

January 2012 Reading Stats

I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions.  However, I decided shortly after New Year’s to read more and better books and to keep track of what I’ve read.  I guess that is sort of a resolution.  In any case, I am itching to sum up my progress so far, so here are my stats for January…

# of Books Read: 9

Total Pages Read: 3822

Books Read:

Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman

The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Favorite Book of the Month: Although I ranked the Chaos Walking trilogy (the three Ness books) the highest, I think The Magician King was my favorite.  It actually made me laugh out loud (then I had to explain what was so funny to my husband) and was delightful and amusing and although I cannot figure out why it was such a page-turner, it was.  Also, I can no longer fault it for leaving loose ends (my biggest complaint about the book) since I learned that there is a third book in the works.

Interesting Tidbit: I read two non-fiction books this month, which is pretty atypical for me… although both were memoirs of sorts and I am a sucker for stories told in the first person.

In the Works: I am currently reading Meg Rosoff’s What I Was and listening to Shirley Jackson’s We Always Lived in the Castle.  The Jackson book fulfills two goals I have for myself: listen to audiobooks more and revisit books I enjoyed as a child/teenager.  I am also discovering the 21st century apparently, as I have only recently started reading book blogs, checking out author’s websites, and learning that there are audiobooks I can check out from the library and put on my cell phone and listen to very conveniently.

What I Learned: It is always best to check out the entire trilogy from the library when possible.  I am no good with cliff-hanging.