Tag Archives: spreadsheets

Tracking My Reading: An Update

how i track my reading

As I mentioned in this post, I’m tracking my reading in 2016 in order to illuminate trends and identify potential holes in my reading habits. Since a quarter of the year has now passed (WHAT?!?!), I thought I’d pop on and do a quick update of my selections from the year thus far. Already I’m getting a clearer picture of the type of voices I’m missing out on as well as honing in on the subjects I find most fascinating. Here’s a breakdown of my first few months…

  • I have read 10 books so far in 2016.
  • The oldest was published in 1998, the most recent in 2015.
  • These 10 books were comprised of 3,137 pages.

Author Info

  • 6 authors were female and 4 were male. (Better than I thought!)
  • All authors were white; 1 Jewish born of immigrant parents. (YIKES! Definitely something I need to work on!!!)
  • 6 authors were American, 3 were British, and 1 was Canadian.
  • Only one identifies as LGBTQ. (Another area for improvement.)

Genre Info

  • I read 3 memoirs, 3 works of fiction (1 thriller, 1 historical), and 4 works of non-fiction.
  • A few themes that were encountered throughout several books included; travel, stories of financial struggle/low-wage work, the effects of oppression/patriarchy on women, and mental illness. (Uplifting, eh?)
  • 5 of the books took place in America.
  • The historical fiction novel I read took place from 1791-1810.
  • These books expanded my knowledge in environmental science, cultural anthropology, nutrition, Southern history, Indian politics, ethnography, mental health, and religion.

Fiction Info

  • Of the fiction books I read, all 3 utilized a female narrator.
  • All 3 passed the Bechdel Test (although one BARELY passed).
  • While only 1 had characters who were identified as POC.

With that information in mind, here are the 10 books I’ve read so far in 2016:

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby

The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler

January First by Michael Schofield

Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home by Leah Lax

Now, over to y’all…what have YOU read in 2016? Have you noticed any trends in your reading selections over the years? And finally, can you recommend some books for me to start filling in the gaps of missing voices in my reading lists? I’d love suggestions and recommendations! Thanks in advance. 

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.


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!