Tag Archives: reading list

How I Track My Reading

how i track my reading

The title of this post is a bit deceptive. I’ve been considering ways to track my reading for some time now. While I’m only just beginning, this post is what I’ve finally landed upon. 2016 seems as good a time as any to put new systems into practice!

I’ve always loved reading. My tastes in material have certainly changed over time. I read less fiction than I did in my youth, for example. Typically a good memoir is my go-to. But a few trends remain constant. I prefer female voices to male. I love books which provide windows into another culture, country, or person’s reality.

But are there voices I’m missing out on? Someone’s reality I’ve over-looked, unknowingly, for as long as I’ve been flipping pages?  I’d like to find out.

While I think tracking my reading for a period of time will encourage me to diversify my selections going forward, both genre and voice, I’m also just curious. Is there any significance in my natural literary leanings? Where do the words that find their way nestled into the crevices of my brain waves come from?

Starting from this point I’ll be recording information about what I read into a spreadsheet. I’ve chosen some categories to track based on my own interests but I’m open to suggestions if you can think of anything else that may be fun or enlightening to record.

Capture1

Capture 2

Above are screenshots of the spreadsheet I came up with starting with entries from my first book of 2016. As you can see, I want to track the types of voices I’m reading– What’s the ratio of male to female? How many minority voices am I incorporating into my reading list each year? Etc. Hopefully by keeping better track of this information I can identify holes and better expand my horizons in the future.

I’ve also chosen to take note of the areas of interest that drew me to the book. This will help to track any sort of interesting trends which could emerge regarding my own interests but also will make it easier for me to recommend certain books to others down the road. Last but not least, I thought it might be neat to know how many pages I’ve read at the end of the year. So I set up the spreadsheet to add up all the cells in my # OF PAGES row. Once I have more data, I’ll play around with other “Totals to Date” features.

Do you have anything you would add to my spreadsheet before I set off on this nerdy journey? I’m just getting started so now’s the time!

Let me know if you track your reading too (or find yourself inspired to start in 2016!). I would love to compare notes.

Finally, If you’re interested, I’d be happy to do posts with some updates on the data I collect throughout the year. Would you be into that? Posting about this project will definitely hold me accountable about keeping up with this new pet project! Yay for new years and new projects!!! Let’s DO THIS 2016.

P.S. I’ve had to make a lot of spreadsheets at various jobs over the years and people are always telling me I make them in the “wrong” orientation (ie. I make them vertical when they would prefer horizontal or vice-versa.) I make them the way my brain wants them! If your brain wants your Track My Reading 2016 spreadsheet to exist differently than mine… GO FOR IT!

Huge Book Haul!

book haul2

Between a library book sale, Christmas gifts and impulse shopping with an internal monologue of “I mean is it REALLY spending money if I’m gaining KNOWLEDGE?!”– I’ve acquired quite a few books in the last couple of months.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

The Selected Letters of Lewis Carroll Ed. by Morton Cohen

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

The Million Dollar Mermaid by Esther Williams

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Lost Girls by Robert Kolker –currently reading

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Starting Out in the Evening by Brian Morton

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

God’ll Cut You Down by John Safran

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Kitty Genovese by Kevin Cook

Lost Girls is proving riveting and the perfect follow up “case” after the completion of Serial. It tells the tale of a true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island. I thought the motley cast of shady characters in Serial was difficult to keep up with at times, but let me tell you the cold-case web gets even more tangled as the body counts go up.

book haul with feet

I wonder what I’ll choose next!

Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Can you tell I’m having a true-crime moment? What are you reading these days?