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Registered Members => Book Talk => Topic started by: Christine B. on May 26, 2012, 11:09 AM

Title: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Christine B. on May 26, 2012, 11:09 AM
Writers, do you keep a journal of books you have read, that you possibly later use a reference for your writing? I want to start a reading journal and am wondering what others have found useful.
Thank you!
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Natalie on May 26, 2012, 11:36 AM
Christine, I have a critique partner who keeps a spreadsheet of the books she's read along with a rating system. As a new librarian this year, I decided to start a blog for myself (and any other librarians or teachers who might find it useful) so that I can remember the books I've read and how they tie into the curriculum. I'd love to see someone start a blog that keeps track of books they've read and how they might be helpful to a writer, with categories like pacing, voice, gorgeous prose, etc.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: andracill on May 26, 2012, 01:03 PM
I keep track on my blog (and have for a few years now).  It's nice to be able to look back and see what I've enjoyed (though I buy most of the books I really love).
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: olmue on May 26, 2012, 02:04 PM
Ever since someone here mentioned they kept a record of the books they read (I think it was ecb??), I thought, that is a useful idea. So I have several years' worth of lists. I have only been recording books I actually finish completely, and most of them are novels (ie I don't record the picture books because some of them I read over and over and over to my kids). Since I try to say positive things in public, I like having the list because I can be a little more complete about my reactions in private--things that worked, and things that didn't for me, so I can avoid that in my own writing. Sometimes at the end of the year, though, I'll post a list of all the titles, or titles by genre, on my blog, just to see them all together.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: JFriday on May 26, 2012, 02:19 PM
I have years of lists. It helps me remember the many books I've read - although occasionally I see a title and remember absolutely nothing about it. I note if they are MG or YA, but NF and adult books I just list - author, title, date finished. I also put an 'x' by them if I didn't like them. Very few have that mark, since I generally don't keep reading if I don't care for a book.

Interesting to see that the more I took writing seriously, the more I read. And what I read changed, too. Reading lists are fascinating.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Tori on May 26, 2012, 02:57 PM
Writers, do you keep a journal of books you have read, that you possibly later use a reference for your writing? I want to start a reading journal and am wondering what others have found useful.
Thank you!
I use LibraryThing to catalogue the books I've read, and although it's not a complete list, it does help jog the memory.  I'm also on Goodreads, but I transfer my LibraryThing list there every now and then.  What I enjoy (not to highjack the thread -- blush) about LT is that we can sign up for Early Reviewers each month, requesting new books, agreeing to review the ARC if we win it.  It's fun -- and writing the reviews sharpens my own writing/revising process (I hope!).
Aloha,
Tori :palmtree
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Liz Straw on May 26, 2012, 03:00 PM
I have kept a record on my Blog for the last two and a half years.  Occasionally, I will forget to add a book, especially if I have checked it out of the library.  But that is rare. 

I am trying to log all my non-fiction books on Librarything.com and am about to go over my limit of free books.  However, the price is "cheep, cheep" for paying to catalog your library. 

I figure in case of a disaster and something happens to my books, some are "rareish"  how is that for a word, (creative mind) and it would cost a lot to replace them and some might not be replaceable.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Christine B. on May 26, 2012, 03:16 PM
All great suggestions! Thank you!
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Artemesia on May 26, 2012, 08:24 PM
that's pretty much all I use Goodreads for, is to just keep track of what I've read, and what I want to read. I used to have little scraps of paper everywhere with book titles I wanted to read written on it, and then I could never find them when I needed them.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: YAScribe on May 27, 2012, 06:14 PM
I second the Goodreads suggestion. It made it so much easier to keep track of what I've read and what I want to read.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Karen de Foy on May 27, 2012, 07:34 PM
I've kept a record of the MG and YA books I've read over the past couple of years. I record not just the author's name, but the editor's and the agent's if I can find them, a one-line plot summary, and my reaction to the book. It's been hugely helpful in forcing me to think about what makes a book "work", and in recognizing faults to try to avoid in my own writing.

Actually, I sometimes think that analyzing the faulty books has been more useful than analyzing the good ones. It's easier to figure out what a faulty book is lacking than to pinpoint exactly what an author has done to make a book really sing!
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Vonna on May 28, 2012, 07:39 AM
I keep a list on my blog with links to the book/author, but only note the ones I actually finished reading. There are lots I quit reading because they didn't keep my attention. I probably should note those so I could remember what didn't work for me, but keep that list private.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Jen on May 28, 2012, 08:27 AM
This is my fourth year keeping a spreadsheet of the books I read each year.  At the end of the year, I can sort the spreadsheet by genre, category (adult versus YA), format (e-book/paperback/hardback), and a variety of other variables.  It gives me a really good idea of what I'm reading, and I also use it to keep track of favorites.  It's nice, because when people ask me for a recommendation, I just pop open the spreadsheet, and find a book I loved that seems to fit their parameters.

And then at the end of the year, I do a big data-filled blog post on my reading habits (complete with graphs!):
http://jenniferlynnbarnes.tumblr.com/post/15173153681/2011-reading-in-review

It helps me keep track of my own reading habits, but since I read a lot of YA (and browse the shelves pretty much every single week), it's also helpful for keeping an eye on market trends and making projections about the future.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: annastan on May 28, 2012, 09:19 AM
I used to use a spreadsheet, but now I use an app on my phone called My Book Droid that helps me keep track of books--it even uses the phone's barcode scanner so you just scan in books (which is WAY too much fun).

I've found the most useful part of keeping track of what I read is seeing which books I couldn't finished reading; it's interesting to ponder why I wasn't able to get through those particular titles.

I also use Goodreads, but I find that I'm always forgetting to update it. Since I often have my phone nearby, I'm much better about using the app.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Marissa Doyle on May 28, 2012, 09:57 AM
I have a paid membership at LibraryThing and love it--both to catalog my collection (because I have an awful lot of books and was losing track of what I own) and this year to keep track of what I've read via a log in their Talk section.  It's fun to post what I've read and read other peoples's logs and discuss books...and it's more of an adult crowd over there, so very little drama and almost no snark.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Tori on May 28, 2012, 01:31 PM
I have a paid membership at LibraryThing and love it--both to catalog my collection (because I have an awful lot of books and was losing track of what I own) and this year to keep track of what I've read via a log in their Talk section.  It's fun to post what I've read and read other peoples's logs and discuss books...and it's more of an adult crowd over there, so very little drama and almost no snark.
Marissa, you're the reason I'm on LibraryThing -- you'd posted about this site some time ago and I love it, too. Your assessment is spot-on. Thank you for the recommendation!
Aloha,
Tori :palmtree
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Marissa Doyle on May 28, 2012, 01:55 PM
Oh, thank you, Tori!  That makes me happy.  :)
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: wolfie712 on May 28, 2012, 02:01 PM
It's never occurred to me to keep a reader's journal, but I guess I sort of keep track of what I read through Goodreads.  It's far from complete, though.  I need to go through and add in more of the titles I've read in the last couple years.

Laura :)
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Jessica Burkhart on May 28, 2012, 03:39 PM
I keep a list of books I've read on the sidebar of my blog. Kind of fun to look back on past years and see if I was reading trends, lots of books in a specific genre, etc.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Kurtis on May 28, 2012, 04:24 PM
I did this for a while as a kid. Wish I'd kept it up and still had the list -- would be so interesting to see it now.
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: dinalapomy101 on May 28, 2012, 04:49 PM
Yup! It is helpful in my librarian job as well as interesting in my writing life.
http://deenaml.livejournal.com/
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Jaclyn Dolamore on May 28, 2012, 06:23 PM
For some years now I've kept a little text file on my computer that is a list of books I've read. I love having it; just as Jen mentioned, it makes it very easy to recommend books for people. It's also fascinating to see what I was reading. When I started the list in '05 my library was only just beginning to have a decent YA section...barely. Most of the titles and authors I read back then would be completely unknown to any YA reader now. Although I mostly read non-fiction back then (it's still more than half of my reading).
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: Tabitha on May 29, 2012, 07:31 AM
I also use my blog and Goodreads to keep track of what I read. I have the Goodreads app on my phone, so it's easy to keep my list up to date. I also use it to keep track of the books I want to read, the books I might read at some point, and the books I love and want to buy for my shelf at home.

The good thing about Goodreads (or other online tool) is that I can use it to keep track of any reading goals I've set for myself. Goodreads has a feature for this, which can also go on my blog's sidebar. There is also a place to keep private notes about what you thought, so you can list all the things you hated about a book and no one will be the wiser. :) Also, you can sort by how you've rated the books you've read, so it's easy to look for the books I loved and want to recommend to someone else.

I tried a spreadsheet, but didn't like it as much. The spreadsheet was too much work for me because I had to be sitting down at my computer. With the Goodreads app, I can be anywhere as long as I have my phone. :)

HTH!!
Tabitha

ETA: Almost forgot! I've met some great people on Goodreads, too, and we've become online friends outside of that arena. One in particular--she and I chat about books often and are determined to meet someday over coffee and a good book. :)
Title: Re: Do you keep a journal of books you have read?
Post by: LTMadison on May 29, 2012, 07:39 AM
I've got an old-fashioned paper list going back to 1987 -- well over 1,000 books. I note title, author, genre and give it a grade C to A. If it's less than a C I didn't finish it and don't include.