Books, books, and more books

October 20th, 2008 • Kate

Let’s be honest here: like so many of you, I love to read. I read voraciously. Manuscripts and submissions, yes, but I still have my favorite authors as well that I need to keep up with. When I moved in with Rexroth, we combined our bookshelves (well, some of them), and I discovered a whole other set of books I want to dive into.
So, the question of the day is this: how do you track not just what you want to read, but what you have read? Do you keep a pile next to your bed, or in your office? Do you write down a “to-read” list, but keep the books alphabetically on shelves? Do you use an online library system to track titles, or post your reviews in a blog, etc.?
I’m up to four library books patiently waiting on my bedside table to be read, stacked in front of the new Neil Gaiman, the new Terry Pratchett, a new copy of The Eight, and its new sequel, The Fire. Besides posting my Recent Reads here, I also keep track of them on Amazon.
What about you?

Filed Under: Slushpile

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15 Responses to “Books, books, and more books”

  1. Jackee Says:

    I've tried a few different ways, on-line and off, and I think has been the best help.
    Oh, and as to the question for the editor, how about:
    What is your ideal author? And what makes them so ideal?
    (Okay, so that was two questions, but they go naturally together….)

  2. jeanoram Says:

    I don't keep track of books I have read. As for those I have in the house that I want to read and haven't, I have a stack in the bedroom. For those I don't own, I have a wishlist on my fav online bookseller, plus a parked request list on the public library's site. Then when I am looking for something to read, I just take something off my stack or unpark something online. Plus, I also have a mental list of ones I want to read when they come my way.

  3. Jeanie W Says:

    My towering TBR pile used to dwell on top of my bedroom radiator, but since the furnace started kicking on in the evenings the stack has migrated to the floor. A few partially read books hang around my bedside table. They don't lie on it – that space is taken up by a lamp, a telephone, and a notepad – but around it, on the floor or on the chair where my little writer's notebook sleeps at night. The books I want to read but don't own yet wait patiently on my Amazon wish list. And of the books I have finished reading, I keep track of those in the genres I write in (MG/YA) on a bright yellow legal pad, currently lost in the shuffle of papers on my desk.

  4. Shannon Says:

    I second the rec for It's a good way to discover books that need to be read, too. 🙂 When it's time to read them, I have a stack of books by my bed, and keep several on my Palm as well.

  5. redheadedali Says:

    I *love* The Eight and can't wait to read The Fire!
    As for keeping track of my reading, I use LibraryThing. That's not exactly what it was designed for, but it works well enough for me.

  6. bridgetzinn Says:

    GoodReads is awesome! I use it mostly to share what I'm reading with friends. I've never tried keeping track in Amazon — I'll have to check that out. I keep an excel spread sheet of what I read with lots of detailed categories including tracking the publisher, agent and editor(s) if I can find that information, what I thought of the book and where I heard about it (Newbery winner, CCBC recommendation etc.). It takes a little bit of time, but it's really nice to refer to when I'm looking to recommend a book or for information about a publisher.
    For Books To Be Read I use an electronic sticky note on my desktop with info on where I discovered the title and what my library card number is so I can order it online quickly!
    I so miss my old library system where I could have 100 books on hold!

  7. Kathleen Says:

    I keep a list in the back of my pocket diary with two columns: books read and movies (concerts, exhibitions etc) seen. Then every month I do a blog post with a (usually very) short review of those for the previous month.
    I do this because I thought for a long time I had not read Emma, and then found a fragmentary journal from my first year at uni with the entry, "Finished reading Emma today". (The upside of this sort of memory is that it is sometimes possible to read books again for the first time).

  8. Narda Says:

    THE EIGHT is my all time favorite book and to think that you mentioned it. And even greater to find out there is a sequel, FIRE. I read Calculated Risk which was also very good, different. And I didn't know there was another book The Magic Circle. What a treat to find these finds! Now, I will never get my writing done…

  9. L.C. McCabe Says:

    I just finished The Fire last week.
    I had to read it because Katherine Neville is going to be doing a book signing/luncheon in my area next month.
    I wanted to have read it before meeting her so that I could schmooze with her and ask questions based on my careful reading of her book.
    It is good. I think people could read it and enjoy it without having read The Eight, but they will miss a lot of follow up payoffs.
    As for how I structure my TBR pile. It keeps growing and growing. Now I've got a stack of published books written by my friends that I feel obligated (in a good way) to read. Then interspersed are books used for researching and those recommended by others.
    I try to balance out my list by alternating fiction and nonfiction titles.

  10. Carrie Harris Says:

    I've tried GoodReads and BooksIRead, but I still haven't found my dream tracking system. It's pretty pitiful that I HAVE a dream tracking system, but I do.

  11. Amie Says:

    I LOVE goodreads but I don't use it to track what I've read. Though I do sorta track what I want with it. I also have a sticky note on my computer where I write down books I want AND I keep an wishlist that I add books to as I find them so I don't forget.
    As for what I read? I tend to scarf a book once I start it, but I keep a few on my nightstand and always keep one in my purse. If I'm almost done or I'm running somewhere, I typically just pick up whatever grabs my interest–no rhyme or reason!
    MY CP has an excel spreadsheet (HIGHLY DETAILED as she's rather OCD lol) of books she's read. I tease her about it mercilessly!

  12. Sheila Says:

    I'm a spreadsheet user, but I'm not OCD (one look in my closet and you'd know.) I'm just very forgetful. A couple of times people have asked me for book recommendations and I blanked. I knew I had read some good books, but couldn't remember the names.
    I haven't read The Eight, and it sounds wonderful, so it goes right into my "Books To Get" spreadsheet. I've checked my local library and all the copies are checked out, so having it in the spreadsheet will remind me to check later. The file is right on my desktop, always handy. Because I will forget if I don't enter it right away.
    I have four kids, so I peruse a lot of sites looking for good books for them – Planetesme, Jen Robinson's book page, fuse#8, etc. They recommend so many good books that I had to create a system to keep track of them.

  13. apmullaly Says:

    I use librarything to track books I own/read. I don't usually have a stack of book to read (well no more than a couple) at any one time because I plow through everything so fast.
    I mainly commented because of your stack. I just finishd the Graveyard book (very good read it in one quick night, am now reading it to my kids) Have read half of the Fire (I got the ARC a while ago, but had never read the Eight and am finding it just a touch slow go, its probably just me its not my usual style of book). Finally, I have every book ever from Mr. Pratchett (including all his "kid" books), hopefully he staves off Alzheimer's forever.
    So probably not much help on how to keep track, but sign me apprecitative of your current crop of books to be read.

  14. Marva Says:

    I alternate new stuff with classic, golden age writing. I'm in the middle of an A.E. VanVogt book, "Empire of the Atom." I think we can learn from the masters. I also jump back in time to Heinlein, Niven, and others to find out what the real writers were getting published in the 50s and 60s. I've got this feeling that agents would have rejected them out of hand.

  15. boothyisawesome Says:

    Hey Daphne!
    Ooo, I hope you enjoy Terry's latest- I LOVED it. Such a good book. 🙂
    I have a list of books I've read in Word, and I've also separated books I've read from books I haven't read, so that makes things easier too. But usually I do remember if I've read a certain book or not, regardless of if I've written it down or put it in the right pile.
    Also, I reviewed Let It Snow recently on my myspace blog. Here's the link to it: