I was pleasantly surprised when so many people chimed in with comments on a post on the popular book blog Book Riot about using spreadsheets to keep track of one’s reading. Even when you only read a handful of books each year, it can be hard remembering titles, author names and other details about books you read a while ago, and if you read as much as I do, it can be hard keeping track of last month’s readings, let alone last year’s. I can generally recall a lot about a book I read 10 or more years ago, if I have something to jog my memory, but I have read over 1000 books in the past 10 years, so off the top of my head I certainly could not list all of them. This is where spreadsheets are lovely.
I have kept a books spreadsheet going since 2007, adding a new sheet to the file each year so that each year’s readings are listed separately, all in the same document. When my bibliophilic sisters want to see my list of what I have read since 2007 (which they actually do occasionally) I can open the spreadsheet for them to browse, or I can even email them the file so they can play with it on their own computers. I have forgotten to add a couple of books over the past 7 years, so the list is not perfect, and I wish I had started it in 2004, or better yet 1996, when I left high school, because my memory of those earlier years of my adult reading life are hazy. Since January 2007, though, most of the books I read are listed, along with the date I started reading each book, the date I finished reading it, my rating on a 10.0 point decimal scale, and a space for notes, along with some extra columns of information that have varied over the years. I think next year I might track author gender, author’s nationality, and for fiction the setting of the story (as in, which country and era), which I had not tried yet on my spreadsheet.
This weekend I am putting together a new spreadsheet file for my Read Your Library challenge, where I can list just library books I have been reading. a spreadsheet snapshot of the library shelves that will fill in to resemble the actual library’s holdings list as I read more of their books. What I really want is a giant interactive checklist of all their books so I can just check them off as I read them and see which ones I am missing so far. Sadly, no one else is crazy enough to be trying to read my local branch library, so the demand for such a list is vanishingly small. I doubt they have such a thing available for patrons.
Have you checked out any good books from your library this week? I just finished Clickwork Angels, by Kevin J. Anderson, which was lovely, reminding me a lot of the aesthetics of Lloyd Alexander’s stories, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. I’ll be posting an update soon with my reactions to all the books I read most recently for my library reading challenge.