Monday, September 5, 2011

2011 Resolutions - Track the Books I Read

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?

24 comments:

Sian said...

How do I track them? I stack them up beside my bed and when the pile threatens to topple and suffocate me, then I start looking for shelf space for them! I read at least a book a week, usually more. We need more shelves..

You are right. Starting is the hard part - that's a lesson I learned this week too

Amy said...

I've never thought to track my books .. I just pick them up and read them and leave it at that!

humel said...

I've been tracking the books I've read this year - I read voraciously, I'm up to 76 so far! Though several of those are re-reads and it includes my Bible study notes :) I've just been photographing each book and saving the photos in a folder, numbered in the order in which I've read them. It's worked for me this year, but if I continue this in future years I may want to reconsider how I record what I read and when, what I think of each book, etc. The app sounds interesting! Really hoping for an iPhone when I upgrade my handset!!

JO SOWERBY said...

i use an app called goodreads. you can put in lists of books uve already read and add books you want to read and books u r reading. it also allows the same as ur app a rating and a comment section. it then gives u ideas if u want to follow a reading plan ie how many books to read in a year and then gives u a lil slideometer to tell u how behind u r which in my case is well behind!!!
i have just read ''the american heiress'' which i will give 3 as it was a bit predictable for me and not my normal book. i normally read alot of crime,
jo xxxx

Alison said...

I don't track at all....but I do read about one book a week. I agree on 5stars for 'The Help' and would also give the same to 'One Day' by David Nicholls and 'Afterwards'by Rosamund Lupton, both of which I have read over the summer!
Alison xx

scrappyjacky said...

I think my reply would be a bit similar to Sian's...except I don't read quite as many as her....and nowhere near as many as Mel!

The Mann Fam said...

I'm a very slow reader and I only have about a half hour before falling to sleep at night to do it in. Although this summer I did get two books read. Well really only one book read and one I listened to while driving from Houston. I read Escape from Rowadan. An autobiography of a young man who learned great lessons from his trials.

The other book I listened to was Fireflies in December. A quick easy read/listening book reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird. I enjoyed it.

These last couple days I have been contemplating my lessons learned and have come to the same lesson as you about starting things. Thanks for sharing.

The Mann Fam said...

Oops, that book title should read Escape from Rwanda.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I keep track of my reading with a site called Library Thing. This is me http://www.librarything.com/catalog/Stacey42. It's really handy, especially as so many of my books are library books. I do wish they had a phone app though.

I'm up to, I think 87 new books so far this year. I don't track re-reads but I average about 5 of those a month.

Denise said...

I'm afraid I don't read as many as I'd like too (am always on here !) and don't track them although I do have a nice little pile stacking up waiting to be read in my craft room...

Beverly said...

i tried using an online service to track but I didn't really like the way it was set up and it seemed like daily I was getting emails about what friends recommnded. I usually knock a book out in a few days but have been reading Of Gods and Generals for weeks now. I am enjoying it as I love history and I have ancestors that fought in the Civil War but it is easy for me to put down and come back to in a few days.

Anonymous said...

what a great app.. might have to check it out... and i LOVED Pride, Prejudice and Zombies.. absolutely made me laugh out loud ... i know Lucy rolls her eyes at me, but i really enjoyed it .. not so much Sense, Sensibility and Sea Monsters.. you can skip that one :)

Mariana in CA

p.s see you this weekend!

laurie said...

i started a notebook for writing down and rating the books i read each year when i was in sixth grade! that was many, many years and books ago. now i have a new notebook but still record the date, title, author, type of lit, and a one or two word review. thanks for listing the books you read - i am always on the lookout for something to add to my shelf!

Ginger said...

well i don't think I need to track as I am STILL reading the same book I started at Christmas... but I am happy to say I am 250 pages from being done! I like your thoughts though and would consider doing this if I read more books.

Carola Bartz said...

I have a notebook where I track the books I actually read. Sometimes I don't finish a book, then it doesn't appear in the list. After having been to Forks, WA this summer, and beind infected by my friend's enthusiasm I started reading "Twilight" this summer and stopped again because it is so poorly written. I loved "The Help" (and also the movie), was kind of indifferent to "The Art of Racing in the Rain". I read some books again that I read years ago like "Animal Dreams" by Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Lamott's "Blue Shoe". I really loved reading "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson and "The Laws of Harmony" by Judith Ryan Hendricks.

Karen said...

I've been keeping track of the books I read since 1986. I used to keep an index card for each year, but in 1998 I bought a beautiful journal in Telluride and copied all the lists into it. Now I keep that up, but I also use Shelfari, an online site like Goodreads (which my daughter uses). I usually read between 25-35 books a year. Since 1990 I've had a goal of reading 25/year. I've made it most years. Online reading has certainly cut into my reading time, but I'm not about to give up my blogs!

The three best books I read this summer were State of Wonder, Caleb's Crossing, and Cutting for Stone.

Nancy Y said...

I've never tracked my books, but like you I don't read a tremendous amount each year. Sometimes I get in a "reading spurt" and cruise through a few at a time. The program you have sounds really intriguing.

Thanks also for your thoughts on all the one's you've read. On your list I've only read The Help and loved it.

Jimjams said...

Oh Rinda - lots to think about here - I'd love to keep track of the books I read - at least two a month - but I think mine will have to be on paper as my mobile just makes calls!

Love the idea of "start current, stay current" as I agree that first move is the hardest to make!

Have bookmarked this post for further thought!

Cheryl said...

I have never tracked any of my book reading, I might just think about doing that the books I have in my lisy include a lot of books for my University course but I may just think about doing that.

Tammy Lee Bradley said...

Awesome! I am in the process of creating a Book Diary. More later... :)

xo tam

Anonymous said...

i guess i can talk to you this weekend (happy giggle) but i notice that book crawler lite is limited to 25 books.. is the real app limited on how many books??? i'm tempted to try it out :)

Mariana in CA

Becky said...

I'm a bit like Sian - the books get piled on the bedside table until they are read, then they go on the shelf at the end of the bed until they are passed on to my Dad to be read and then they are normally passed onto the charity shop unless I have really enjoyed it and think I may want to read it again and then I have it back and squeeze it onto a shelf! I read When God Was a Rabbit when I was on holiday and can thoroughly recommend it.

Melissa said...

I keep a list each year of the books I've read, nothing fancy just title & author. The past two years I've kept the list on my blog and review most of the books I read there.

I agree The Help was definitely a five star book & I recently saw the movie and thought they did a great adaptation of the book. My book club will also be reading Cutting for Stone & The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. We just finished Sarah's Key which I really enjoyed (review on my blog coming very soon).

So glad you've found a way to track your books that works well for you.

beccaf1970 said...

Great list! I can thank my book club for most of my "for fun" reading selections, which I try to keep track of in GoodReads. My favorites from the past year or so: Cutting for Stone, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Room, The Help, Luncheon of the Boating Party, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (I really hope you enjoy this one...I found it fascinating!). Just started Girl in Translation, and also looking forward to The Paris Wife and The Tiger's Wife.