Fridays are tip days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Have you ever been in a library, looking for a book you were told was great, but were unable to remember the title or author? Or started reading a book, only to realize you’ve read it before?
I have. And I’ll ‘fess up. I did it often.
I solved the problem by keeping a list.
Why Keep A Reading List
The primary goal of a reading list is to note what you have read and when. This saves you from selecting the same book again, and also will allow you to see if you loved … or hated… a particular author’s other works.
When you add suggested books to the list, you then have a ready source of books to look for in the library or bookstore when you want to read something.
The Details of the Reading List
I find it important to track the following details for books I have read:
- Date read
- Source (library, own, etc)
- My rating (I use a scale of 1 to 5)
- A brief summary of the book.
For books that have been recommended to me, I also note who recommended them and why. This helps avoid the “what was I thinking?” question when I pick up a book I want to read.
Keeping Track of the List
The list is a great idea, but it has to be portable for it to work. My first list was a little spiral notebook. I listed the books I had read in the front, and the ones I wanted in the back.
When I got my first PDA I transitioned the list to electronics and started storing it in a database application. This allowed me to keep it with me, but also allows me to put all of my reading lists up on my personal website.
Now I use a program called BookCrawler. It’s the best I have tried so far, and allows me to export everything and generate my online reading tracking.
Of course right now, I am using the program to get through my backlog. I have entered all the books I have in the house that haven’t been read, and I am working through the list. (See Simplifying the Reading Backlog)
How do you manage your reading?