Monday, September 17, 2007
Or (shocking to me as it might be to me) maybe you don't bother keeping track at all?
I had a notebook where I used to write down books that I read, starting back in 1988 (if that was before you were born, gentle reader, there is no need to mention that little fact :-D) . I later found a list I made that dated from 1980 (yes, being retentive starts early I suppose), so I added that, too. But as my notebook filled up, and my list grew longer and longer, I found it more and more difficult to find titles I was trying to locate (especially to see which book I was supposed to read next in a series).
So one day I sat down and transferred everything into a Word document. Now if I want to see all the books I've read by an author, I can just do "edit, find" by the author's name, and it takes me right down the list. It would be kind of fun to make a database out of it, but right now I just don't have the time (although the geek in me is delighted at the prospect). I also have a very complex system I use so I know if the book was a winner: I put a little happy face next to it. Yes, bleeding edge technology, I know - but I can still do a search and see what my favorite books are - which comes in very handy when I don't know what I feel like reading next, because I can bring up favorites and then head over to Amazon to see if the authors have published anything recently.
One unexpected benefit to being a retentive list maker is that, when I look through the list of books I've read, it brings back that time in my life quite forcefully. I remember reading this book while I was stuck in an airport in Denver, that book on the beach in Hawaii, this one when I was nursing my first child, etc. Kind of a cool time portal.
What about you? How do you keep track, if you do at all? If you don't, why not? Have you ever wished you did? Here is an interesting article about someone creating a virtual library through Google's new virtual library service. This service is similar to Library Thing, but includes book searches via Google's Book Search capabilities.
That whole idea is very appealing to me. I've noticed that since I began blogging about the books I read, they remain fresher in my mind, and I think that taking time to really think about them and write a short review about them enhances my reading experience. It makes me read more attentively. I don't know that I have the time right now to invest in taking advantage of putting together a virtual library. But I'd sure like to!