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Book-keeping, Say; a Monday Musing

musingmondays1Do 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?

Compared to many of you, who maintain reading history by scrupulously and neatly keep track of books read in a spreadsheet with pertinent information, I’m rather low-tech and perfunctory. The moleskine journal is my book-keeping record since 2000. For each book read, I mark the dates of which it was read along with title and author at the heading. Then I date the journal entry which, upon revision and proof-reading, becomes the book review you read on the blog. I always number the pages of my journal and maintain a table of content on the first page of each volume. Thanks to the photographic memory that my parents have bestowed me, I always remember books that I have read.

46 Responses

  1. I don’t keep a record of books I’ve read, because in the past, when I did, the record always got misplaced. I probably should try again, though.

  2. I have only recently begun keeping track by listing on the blog all my books read. Never did this before.

  3. I don’t keep track. It would make reading too much like work. Once I did prove to a friend that I knew where all the books on my bookshelves are, so my informal methods work for me.

  4. I have tried many different book journals but recently started using Goodreads to record book I have read and books I want to read. We will see how that works.

  5. Wow! A photographic memory. How cool! I wish I could say the same. So you handwrite your review in your journal and then use it as the basis for your blog posts?

  6. For me, it’s my blog that started everything! ;P

    BTW, I’ve passed you an award!

  7. you are incredibly lucky to have a photographic memory! i have to take notes, and i resent it because it interrupts the flow of reading. i have been recording the books i read on my blog for a couple of years now, but before that i used to keep a list on a word document on my computer. I remember our primary school teachers would make us keep little records of the books we’d read — i think i like being able to look back and recall the stories.

  8. I guess my bookshelves are my reading record. I seldom throw a book away or re-sell to a second hand store, so I have the accumulation of years in various spots around the house. That’s not so much of a problem, as I don’t come anywhere near your volume of reading; of course, I do have a 30 yr. head start on you!

  9. I have a notebook where I’ll occasionally write reviews and summaries (for myself) if the book really needs my full attention, but I haven’t written anything there in a while. Granted, I haven’t read very much in the last few months, at least comparatively. I do actually keep an Excel file with all my book-related stats. Mostly, I list the books I’ve read in the year, which I’ve reviewed, and then in another spreadsheet, books I’d like to read (specifically, to check out from the library). But I think I like your method better.

  10. I have a database I use on the PC and I’ve been trying to also use Library Thing. I’m not good at keeping careful records!

  11. I make a note of what I have read at the back of my moleskine diary, date, title and author.

    I have a seperate note book for my Virginia Woolf books as I like to write about these as I read them

  12. No spreadsheet for me. My MM is up.

  13. I started keeping track only in 2005, and in a notebook, too. I just write the title, author, date read, and favourite passages.

  14. I am with you about that photographic memory. I might forget names but I remember all the books I have read till date.

  15. I track all of my reading on Goodreads!

  16. Thanks! This is kind of what I would like to do (keeping a list on the first page, and then journaling each book later on). 🙂

    And, I’m with ya on that photographic memory. Much as i said I have “memory issues”, it’s not usually (yet!) a matter of forgetting which book I read… it’s just remembering what the titles or author-names were. 😉

  17. I’m horrible about forgetting something then needing to go back and add stuff later. And since my paper journal would also have to be “perfect” that would frustrate me. So I use a spreadsheet. Love inserting columns and rows!

  18. That’s awesome! A journal is a great way to keep track of your reading. I rely on LibraryThing and my blog to do that for me! 🙂

  19. Wow, photographic memory sounds great! 🙂 I am really bad about writing things down and then I usually end up losing the papers or notebooks I write them down in. My answer is also up here: http://debbiesworld.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/musing-monday-march-30/

  20. I used to keep book journals for that but about 7 years ago or so I moved to an excel spreadsheet. What I like about it is that at the end of the year I can see all the books read and I can sort them out by genre, foreign fiction, etc. I still kind of miss my paper journals though but I hang on to those and every once in a while it’s nice to take a peek through them 🙂

  21. Thomas:
    I put my journals on the same shelf. They look like a series.

  22. mari:
    Blogging is a great way to organize as well.

  23. Jeanne:
    I remember where my books too! The thought of this can be scary sometimes! 🙂

  24. Juliann:
    I was cataloging books on LibraryThing but I have become too busy with the blog alone. My journal is the best way to keep track because I always scribble down some thoughts on every book I read.

  25. Jenners:
    Yes, I handwrite all my reviews in the journals before transcribing them online. 🙂

  26. Melody:
    You’re so kind and generous. Thank you so much. Blogging is a great way to keep track of books, unread, read, and to-be-read.

  27. estelle:
    Before internet and journal keeping, I was mostly reading for school and I did not have a systematic method to catalog books. I have found myself re-reading books from ages ago.

  28. Greg S:
    You’re very well-read and always supplement my discussion with insights.

  29. Biblibio:
    I have not been aware of my stats except for the number of books read in a year until I started blogging. But I have a full reading history in the journals.

  30. Beth F:
    Database…you’re serious. 🙂

  31. Flo:
    I have always enjoyed writing…writing on paper I mean. I hardly work on my computer unless I’m blogging, e-mailing, and writing up manuscripts. A notebook and a pen will do for me. 🙂

  32. bookfan:
    I have a spreadsheet of books to be read…they are books that bloggers and friends have recommended and ones that I cannot get to right away. So it’s easy and convenient to cut-and-paste the title/author and onto the spreadsheet.

  33. claire:
    OMG! We have the same journaling style! 🙂

  34. gautami:
    I average 3 to 5 days to finish a book. With that amount of time, how can I not remember what I have read? Even if I might not recall the content of a book that doesn’t intrigue me, I would for sure remember the title. 🙂

  35. Staci:
    I signed up but haven’t done anything to my GoodReads. I need to catch up. 🙂

  36. MizB:
    As I have mentioned to Gautami, I always remember what I have read because I have spent at least 2 or 3 days with one book. Even if I didn’t like what I read, I would still be able to remember. 🙂

  37. Sunny:
    I used to be very fastidious with my journal as well but I realize that occasional strike-out and cross-outs render the writing more genuine and thoughtful. I solely keep all my thoughts in the journal. 🙂

  38. Megan:
    I have salcked off with LT because keeping up with this blog is a hand full. But I always push myself to do a journal entry immediately after I finish a book. 🙂

  39. dsuzuki:
    I keep all my thoughts and notes in a moleskin journal that I carry in my bag wherever I go. 🙂

  40. iliana:
    You’re always neat and organized. I have finished my seventh Moleskin and they are all sitting on one end of my shlef overlooking the desk.

  41. I’ve been keeping track since 2006, more to see when I read what than the actual titles, which I remember. Up until my blog, I had notepad file on my desktop. My system is simple: author and title under each year.

  42. I write each book I finish in the back of my journal – author, title, date and an asterix if I’d recommend it. I also started recording books read in 2000 – and once or twice over the years, generally when I have uni work I’m avoiding, I’ve made one mega-list, if you will. I think it has given more purpose to my reading – but then that could be just getting older too.

  43. Mish:
    You’ve got a good, convenient system.

  44. Nico:
    I’m pretty on top of recording my thoughts on readings. So I don’t worry about keeping an ongoing list, because I would have said more than a few words on everything I have read. 🙂

  45. […] Book-keeping, Say; a Monday Musing […]

  46. I’ve been keeping track in lists by year since approx. 1993 but a lot of them got misplaced 😦

    At first I kept a list at the back of my daily planner (yes, on paper — it was in the early nineties remember 😉 I don’t knwo where those are now… maybe I kept them in the basement. Later on I also kept a digital text document or spreadsheet but I keep jotting down title, author, year, start and end dates of reading and no. of pages in my planner because I (almost) always have that with me. Unfortunately in the early years I wasn’t to good with back-ups 😉

    So I think what’s left are accurate lists from this century on. Each year I also note my reading list on my bookcrossing shelf (http://gnoe.bookcrossing.com) and for a while now when the year has ended I move it to my blog.

    So you might say I keep a double track 😉 Thoughts about the books I write in moleskin notebook – I never leave home without it 😉 And yes, I also keep a TOC at the 1st page, but without page no.’s.

    Sorry, I can’t seem to write SHORT replies 😉

    BTW Do you do the same with the movies you’ve seen?

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