Am I the only one who barely remembers what reading was like before I started book blogging? Because it feels like forever ago, even though my blog is just over two years old. I think I kept track of what books I’d read in a notebook (not the best system), but apparently even that is pretty unusual among casual readers. So, I’m curious: do you track your reading? And if so, how do you do it?
I’m guessing most people reading this blog track their reading via Goodreads. I will admit, it’s definitely the most convenient. It’s also fun to share your progress with friends. And I love being able to sort the books I’ve read by things like page numbers and publication date. But it’s not the only way to keep track of what books you’ve read (and the books you still want to read).
I’ve tried keeping track in a notebook, which is completely impractical – you have to flip through basically the entire book every time you want to cross one off, there are always duplicates, and no way to sort them, plus, it can be lost. Spreadsheets seem daunting and unnecessarily time consuming (I spend enough time sorting through my shelves on Goodreads). And any sort of word doc seems like it would be nearly as hard to keep organized as a physical notebook.
Recording the books you’ve read is just the beginning. Currently, I use a bullet journal to track my progress for the year, and I have several different pages in there for tracking different aspects of reading for this year. I keep track of my ratings, of the diverse books I’ve read, of the 2017 releases, of ARCs I need to read and review, of all of the books I’ve read so far, of the ratio of fiction to nonfiction, the genres I’ve read (and how many books from each), and the formats (physical, ebook, and audiobook) of the books I’ve read, among other things. I will admit that the reason for most of these things is to make the end-of-year posts easier (last year, they took forever), but I do really enjoy seeing my reading stats progress throughout the year, too.
You also might have noticed the reading lists in the menu bar above. In college, I took a contemporary American lit course that focused on Oprah’s Book Club, and exploring how and why books end up on that list, and the effect it has on pop culture. Since then, I’ve been interested in what makes me pick up certain books, and I thought it would be fun to keep a record of what books I’ve read that any influential power – Oprah, Amazon, the New York Times, Gilmore Girls – has deemed a “must-read” book. I don’t choose books from these lists on purpose, but I do update them periodically to see what I’ve read, and what I’ve added to my TBR. I think it’s fun, but it’s definitely a little bit crazy.
Writing this blog has taken my reading habits to a whole new level. I obsessively, compulsively record each book I read. Some things are helpful – like having a digital TBR of books I may or may not already own, which helps me remember all the books I want to read – and some things, well, aren’t – like knowing which books Rory Gilmore and I have in common.
It kind of blew my mind when I realized recently that most people just read books and don’t do anything to mark the occasion. There are people who read a lot of books and have no idea what Goodreads is. They don’t read to meet an arbitrary goal, or feel the need to binge-read all the books they can find after a slump. They just read. And it made me wonder what that would be like. This blog makes that relatively impossible – I still have to keep track of books for reviews and such. But would I enjoy reading more if I didn’t feel the pressure of a TBR or growing “read” list? What would it be like to finish a book and simply put it down?
Do you think keeping a record of our reading enhances or detracts from the experience of reading a book? If you track your reading, what sort of stats do you track? And is there a reason you track your reading (i.e. blogging, sharing with friends, etc.)?
Let me know in the comments! I’m curious to see how different we are in our tracking habits.