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Recording Books Read

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Recording Books Read


Postby carrie80 » April 23rd, 2017, 12:02 pm

In an earlier thread, Halicarnassus mentioned that they have been keeping a list of books they read for the last few years. Do others on this board track your reading, and how do you record it?

I have kept lists of books I've read on and off for a few years, mostly to have an idea of how many books I'm reading. In the past I've used a text file list and a spreadsheet. This year I've been looking out for an app for tracking. I like the idea of something where you can keep tags of different information about books, so it's easy to generate lists of say number of books read this year in different genres, or in paperback/ebook/audiobook, that sort of thing. I've tried Goodreads, iReaditNow and Book Crawler, but none of them do quite what I want and I haven't kept up with any of them and I'll probably head back to a spreadsheet.

Does anyone here use any book apps for tracking or anything else book related?

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby midnightcatprowl » April 29th, 2017, 1:02 pm

I'll admit straight off that I don't keep lists of what I've read but I wondered if you'd seen this and if any of the suggestions are of any use? ... -514189426

I glanced through the article and did note that I have to disagree profoundly with the author on one issue which is not particularly linked to the recording issue:

I have a rule for myself: I never read more than one book at a time, and I always finish every book I start.

I started doing this because I had a tendency to read five books at once. When you get into the habit of doing that, you end up never actually finishing anything. You’ll read a book for a few chapters, and then put it down for another one. This is annoying and doesn’t get you the satisfaction of reading a book from start to finish. By limiting myself to one book at a time and committing to finish it, I actually end up reading more books than if I read a bunch of them in parallel.

Although sometimes I'm reading only one book at a time, I'm often reading two or more. I find the suggestion that this leads to never actually finishing anything really odd. Some books are, in my opinion, better read under different circumstances - so the book at bedtime may not be the same as the book for the train ride or for that glorious read on a day off when you can just read and read and read. Some books can have a considerable effect on your emotions so it may be wise to put certain texts aside on a day when you are feeling a bit down or very tired just to give a couple of examples.

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby carrie80 » April 29th, 2017, 7:07 pm

Thanks for the article. Wow, this guy gets into a lot of detail both in the To Read lists and the reading notes! A lot of the commenters are fans of Goodreads - maybe I should try that again.

I so agree about reading multiple books at once. There's usually a point where I get swept up in a book and stick to that until I'm done, but before I get to that point, I often have the start of several books on the go at once while I work out what I'm really in the mood for. Also some books, especially slower moving more lyrical ones, I prefer to read in small bits over a long time, ditto non-fiction. The ease of switching texts is one of the joys of e-readers.

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby MistyMeena » July 20th, 2017, 10:06 pm

Interesting points. I too usually have 3+ books on the go at once for all of the reasons given. I find that I read more this way even though some books individually will take months to finish. I wouldn't just watch one TV series at a time (box set binges don't appeal) - we have the ability to follow multiple story lines.

On topic: I have kept a handwritten list of every book I've read since starting work in 1991. It is a simple list with the books numbered through the year as I finish them (so that I can quickly see the total for the year) and each month marked off (I like to see how productive individual months are but appreciate this is either due to a spate of short books, extra reading time or finishing several of those books that have taken a few months). I give a star rating.

I've thought about spreadsheets or looking for an online record but my list does what I want it to. Even looking through the whole thing to find out if I've already read a book, or how I rated it, doesn't take long. In the past few years I have also made a few notes in a dedicated notebook about books that I feel I might want to remember something more about (inspired in part by writing reviews on the Fool!). This might be non-fiction interesting facts, plots of classics or memories of books that I think may turn into films to allow comparisons if that happens.

I find it reassuring to see that in the year after my third child was born I still managed to read 14 books.

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby madhatter » January 27th, 2018, 6:02 pm

Years ago I started recording which books I read, and later introduced a different suffix for books I had read and which had also been read by my father, who rarely borrowed books himself but read many of the ones I had taken out.

The object was to help avoid having to rely on memory to remind me of authors I liked, and which books I had already read.

I maintained the list as a text file on computer, printed off and carried about with me, then updated when drawing out new books and that being used to update the computer later.

From time to time the printed list plus hand amendments would become unwieldy and a fresh version printed.

After a short while I placed the authors in alphabetical order to make it easier to find my preferred authors in a library. The list grew until it got to four columns each side of a single sheet of paper, and the font size got smaller to get more on as the number of entries grew. To keep to a single sheet I also abbreviated the titles rather then putting them in full.

I also began using the calendar on the computer to remind me when they were due back.

Until late last year when I first had a smartphone. After that I discontinued the paper list and set the phone to share the master list with the computer in the cloud, so I could update the entries on the phone or at home, and moved the calendar to the cloud as well for the same reason.

No longer needing the list to fit on a single printable sheet, it is back to a single column. No need either to abbreviate the titles.

I may well extract just the authors names for a separate list however, as scrolling through the long list is not convenient when library books are sometimes separated into fiction, crime, thrillers, historical, fantasy etc.

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby Urbandreamer » January 27th, 2018, 7:46 pm

There is actually software that can make the task easier.

For example

I don't actually use either. I have moved onto ebooks and audio books.
I store my ebooks on my "ebook bookshelf" using calibre

The "bookshelf" is a raspbery pi type comouter running linux and calibre-server which means that I (or my family) can download a book to a kindle or kobo. I can search by author and if the books there then I've bought it so probably read it.

As yet I haven't organised my audo books. Nor do I know of any software like calibre to make it easy.

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby JohnB » January 27th, 2018, 8:09 pm

Book Catalogue Android app. Allows you to add books by scanning their ISBN, has good database lookup, import from GoodReads, tagging and customisable displays.

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby Dod101 » January 27th, 2018, 10:09 pm

I sometimes wish that I had kept a record of every book I had read as it would be interesting to look over it from time to time. At this time of year I read two or three books a week, depending on their size naturally, whereas in the summer I will maybe read one book in a week or sometimes fewer than that because I like being outdoors gardening and it is difficult to do that and read at the same time! Still, my bookshelves give me a fair indication of what I like because I tend to get rid of books which I know I am unlikely to read or refer to again.

Sometimes as now when I am reading Citizen Clem (last few pages thank goodness) I will read another book at the same time and maybe even finish it before going back to the original.

But a bit like my investment records, my reading records are not very good because fundamentally I do not see the point.


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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby JohnnyCyclops » January 28th, 2018, 9:03 pm

Ah, so I'm not alone in recording what I've read. Initially it was in the notes on my trusty Apple iTouch (c. 2006 vintage) and I've tracked books that way since 2012. Not sure quite why I started. I think as I approached mid-life I realised at my reading rate (slow!) I've only 'got' a few hundred more books left in me, so I might as well ensure they are decent reads, both fiction and non-fiction.

The list also highlighted one very slow year in 2016 when I only read three books and was disappointed I'd not done more (prior to that the 'scores' were 10-7-9-9 counting from 2012 forwards). So in 2017 I set the goal of a book a month, and with some enjoyable focus cracked 13 for the year - my 'best' since records began! As we reach the end of January I'm in to the final 20 pages or so of the first book for 2018. I've always bought more than I read, but also make use of the lending library for things like travel books (borrowed and read the excellent "The Japanese Chronicles" by Nicolas Bouvier to accompany a trip to Japan last autumn).

I still keep a note on the iTouch, but concerned that eventually it will give up the ghost, and that notes on it aren't accessible elsewhere, a few months ago I transcribed them across to MS Word on the laptop. At my slow pace (I'm a slow reader on the page, as well as not reading (books) for days or sometimes weeks) the Word list suffices and didn't take long to copy-type.

The list also helps me remember authors I've enjoyed. Last year I dusted down Iain M Banks' first sci-fi novel, Consider Phlebas - last read as a young man, but with the late Banks now having a finite back-catalogue, the 'collector' in me wants to work through them all again, including ones I missed the first time. I might then do likewise with his straight fiction. The list will tell me how long it's been since I last read one of his, and to pick up the pace if needs be.

Finally, I consider the "book a month" to be a modest pace, and keeping the list I'm now able to challenge myself to improve year-on-year, in quantity but also hopefully quality too. I understand Bill Gates reads a book a week and can be found (Linked In and his own blog) with his books of the year recommendations.

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Re: Recording Books Read


Postby Infrasonic » February 5th, 2018, 4:47 pm

I use a browser clipper extension (clip to Onenote) to save my library loan list as a screenshot to OneNote.
As the list gets updated I still have the older books archived that way.

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