When I was sixteen, I began keeping a record of the books I read. From 1988 to 2018, I wrote the title and author of every book I finished in a spiral notebook. Title and author only–no rating system or notes. Only books that were read to the end–no abandoned titles. Although my system isn’t very informative, I love having a written record of so many years of reading and often flip through the book to recall a particular title or track patterns in my reading life.
In 2012, I added a Goodreads account. I also began blogging about my reading, sharing short reviews every Monday of what I’d finished over the past week. Although I sometimes forgot to log a book in one of my tracking locations, having three ensured that I had an accurate picture of my reading life.
But in 2018, I started to struggle to keep my spiral notebook updated. It was never handy when I finished a book. I’d lose it somewhere in the house for a couple of weeks, and once I found it, I wouldn’t feel any motivation to catch up and fill in the titles I’d finished while it was missing. Eventually, it seemed like wasted time and effort to log essentially the same information in three places. By mid-year, I’d put the notebook away.
Then, in 2019, I started to struggle with weekly blogging. I had a lot going on. I needed to cut myself some slack somewhere. Enter: the blogging break. Taking one week off turned into two weeks, then three, then whole months with no posts.
Now I’m down to just Goodreads. When I can remember.
I did begin 2020 with good intentions. I bought a new notebook to replace the spiral I’d used for a decade.
But I only managed to log two books, which covered my reading life for roughly two days.
Inspired by a couple of teachers I follow on Twitter who compile a yearlong thread of their reading with photos of the books they’ve read and a microreview, I began photographing my finished reads and jotting notes in my notebook that could be crafted into microreviews.
This project seemed especially exciting once I realized I could use cats as props.
But I never wrote any microreviews or posted any photos. By February, I’d forgotten the whole thing.
It’s only March. There is time to get this particular train back on its tracks for 2020. But I’m no longer sure what works for me. Should I start blogging again? Microblog? Photograph each book (with or without cat props)? Log titles in a notebook? Or something else that I haven’t even thought of yet? How do you keep track of your reading life?
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