A fun way to track what you’re reading

A fun way to track what you’re reading

I consider tracking my books to be one of the next best things to reading—right up there with talking about books with fellow readers and dreaming about what to read next. We even devoted a whole episode to tracking the books we read on What Should I Read Next! We talked with 15 different readers about how they organize their reading records, and it was so fun, inspirational, and often, surprising!

Last week I had the pleasure of getting together with devoted reader and MMD Book Club Community Manager Ginger Horton in person. She shared how that episode inspired her to try one of the suggested tracking methods for herself.

Here’s what Ginger did: she borrowed Caroline’s idea from our special episode and got a Line-a-Day Journal (similar to this one here) that holds five years’ worth of memories and began recording, for her entries, what she’s reading every day. When she looks back on that journal one year from now—and then two and four and five—she’ll be able to see what she was reading at the time.

For some people, this may not be a huge deal. But for Ginger and many other dedicated readers, that record is a time machine. That tiny mental queue will take her back to the experience of reading that particular title—why she chose it, what she thought of it, where she was when she read it.

Ginger’s only been doing it a week but she already loves it. She says she can’t wait for next year to roll around because looking back at what she’s recording right now is going to be so fun!

I’ve tried to keep up with a line-a-day journal in the past (I have this one here) but I abandoned it long ago. (Not on purpose—I just kept forgetting to update it!) Ginger and our special episode inspired me to try and dig up my journal (which might be tough, considering our recent move and resulting state of disarray) and try it for myself.

Readers, would you consider tracking your books like this? Have you tried it for yourself? I’d love to hear all about it in comments. And if YOU have an unconventional method of tracking your reading, please share that as well! 

P.S. A few of my favorite line-a-day journals: Jane-a-Day, a floral line-a-day, and The Happiness Project one-sentence journal.

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54 comments

  1. KG says:

    After too many times getting halfway through a book only to realize I’d read it before, I started a book journal about 8 years ago. It’s in a Word document in which I record the book details, the jacket summary, my own summary, and the editorial reviews.

    In an effort to remember as much as I can about the book, I tend to write long summaries (easy to do since I’m typing), but it’s become cumbersome. It feels like a chore because it takes so long since I’m so determined to remember detail. I’d love to find a way to record enough detail without spending so much time on summarizing books rather than reading. 🙂

  2. JULIE CASTELL says:

    I don’t currently track, I use Goodreads.com as my tracker. Probably not the best mthod as I am a fast reader & consume many books.

    I’m open to getting a journal but trying to find the time to write what I’m reading plus put it on goodreads & everything else seems a bit daunting.

    • KG says:

      It is daunting to find time to journal everything – I find that especially challenging since I find myself writing so much detail when I journal what I’ve read.

  3. Stacy in TX says:

    A little late in commenting, but wanted to join in the fun. I use a combination of things for tracking. Goodreads is my primary tracker since having all my book information in one app is wonderful when at a book store and I’m trying to remember what books are on my wishlist. I also create shelves for each year so I know when I read a book. Since I love tracking stuff, there are also shelves that show when I bought a book. Once the book is read, then off that shelf it goes leaving the total left to be read.

    I use Library Thing for tracking but primarily for social interaction with people who are doing the same reading challenges that I am.

    Finally, I’ve been using the Day One Journal. It’s an online journal that lets you have multiple journals, so I have one for personal, garden information, and books. If I remember, I update the book journal daily with what I’m reading. It’s fun since Day One has the option to see what else you posted on that date in history, so as I use it more my book reading past will show up.

    • JULIE CASTELL says:

      Stacy,
      I use Goodreads as my tracker/all things reading related. I looked into Librarything.com & it looks better than Goodreads.com. How do you use both? I barely have the time to get on Goodreads. I only can use 1 site for my reading site but transferring all my stuff over to Librarything seems daunting. Any suggestions for a fellow bibliophile?

      • Anki says:

        I’m not Stacy, but I can tell you how I use both sites. There is some overlap, but each site has different strengths, which is why I find it useful to maintain accounts in both places.

        I joined LibraryThing in February 2006 (nearly a year before Goodreads was even a thing), and use it primarily as a catalog for my personal library. It lets me keep track of all sorts of information related to my books, and I have complete control over my library data. With relatively few exceptions, all the books I have cataloged on my LibraryThing account are ones I own or have owned at one point, and I try to keep on top of adding new books as they come in (I still have a backlog on my cataloging efforts, but at least it isn’t getting much worse).

        I joined Goodreads at the end of 2009, and it is the home of my ever-growing TBR list, as well as being one of my primary reading tracking systems (the spreadsheet I mentioned in my earlier comment on this post is my current primary tracking device). Because of how the data is managed in Goodreads it is easier to add generic/semi-generic editions of books to your shelves, which makes it ideal (for me, at least) for maintaining a searchable TBR list. The social networking aspects are also a bit more front and center.

        As for transferring all your stuff over from one site to the other, the process is made easier by the import/export features on both sites. So you could export your library on Goodreads (saving the file to your computer) and then import it at LibraryThing. LibraryThing also has a dedicated Goodreads importer, which as far as I know removes the step of you having to export the data yourself.

  4. Krista says:

    In the evening, before I close the book I’m reading and turn off the light, I scan the page or two I just finished and jot down a quote in my bullet journal. It could be anything: an image that stands out, a piece of interesting dialogue, an appealing turn-of-phrase. Some nights I forget, but I love the ongoing catalog of quotes that transport me right back to the book when I look them over. Here’s yesterday’s quote, from IQ by Joe Ide. “He looked like a man who’d lost his dignity and was too tired to go get it.”

  5. Karen says:

    Since I do most of my reading on my Kindle, I found an easy way to collect quotes and comments together from all ebooks with a timestamp for each one. I set up a separate private Twitter account and linked to it on my Kindle. Now I can select something, click “share” then Twitter, and include my comment at the beginning of the tweet. Later I can see those tweets in my usual Twitter feed.

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