I'm keeping three different art journals to track my progress on my 2011 intention, resolutions and one little word. My "resolutions" journal focuses on twelve specific things I want to accomplish in 2011. Here's a page for something I finally accomplished today - find a way to track the books I read.
I'm not a big reader, but I do read about ten books a year, and I buy books all the time! I had considered a little journal but the idea of writing down books I've already read seemed daunting, as well as the whole problem of trying to decide how to organize it (alphabetically, by genre, chronologically, etc.). The idea of using a blog gadget was very appealing, since I'm on my blog almost every day. But, I couldn't find one that seemed easy to install and would do what I wanted.
So, in the end, I settled on an app for my ipad. I chose "Book Crawler," and I'm really happy with it. All you need to do is put in the title of the book, and the google search engine will give you a bunch of choices for the correct edition of the book in a drop down menu. You choose the one you want, and it fills in all the other information (author, genre, etc.). There's a way to rate the book (from one to five stars) and a comment box (into which I put a little mini-review). You can also "tag" the book (the only tag I'm currently using is to note the books I read as part of my book group). You can sort how you display your books (I have mine list my unread books first and the list the books I have read by rating).
It was really easy once I got started. And, that's the lesson I learned today. Starting is always the hardest part on a project. I've put this project off for nine months because I was worried that I would have to gather all the books I read this year before I got started cataloging them. Ha! I embraced the old Creative Memories motto "Start current, stay current" and dove in. It was easy to remember and catalog the books I read over the summer. And then I kept adding, until I felt like I had made a credible effort at getting started. I have 23 books on my list (9 to be read; 14 reviewed and rated), and I feel confident it will be easy to add as I go along. As my journaling says, "you can't reach the light at the end of the tunnel until you take the first step . . ." So, now, I'm considering that resolution completed!
What's on my to be read list? Three books I started and want to get back to (Await Your Reply, The Lacuna, and Lark and Termite). Two books to read in October because of their Halloween theme (The Lace Reader and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). My current book group book (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) and our next book (Swim Back to Me). Finally, two books I'm interested in and will try to pitch to my book group (When God Was a Rabbit and Into the Beautiful North).
What did I read over the summer?
Blind Your Ponies by Stanley G. West (two stars; could have been great was only so-so, but it still held my interest for 500 pages, and I get bored and give up easily)
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (three stars; more plot than I expected; a very fast read; I liked it because I love my dog, but found the device of telling the story from a dog's point of view just a little trite)
Bangkok 8 by John Burdett (three stars; Thai detective mystery. Locale and Buddhist philosophy lifts it above generic detective literature, but felt a bit dated)
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (four stars; story of an English town surviving the plague. Excellent writing and great main character; ending feels a bit contrived)
What books did I rate five stars?
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker
So, what books have you read lately? Do you recommend them? How do you track your books?