Now that we’re coming to the end of one year and the start of a new one, a lot of us are thinking on how the year went, reading-wise. Did we read as much as we’d hoped to? Is there one kind of book that stood out above the rest? How does one even keep track of this kind of thing? We’re glad you asked, because that’s what we’re talking about this week.
IF I had to pick one kind of book I love as much as I love romance novels, it would be blank books. Notebooks, journals, planners, diaries, whatever you want to call them, I am madly in love with them, and, since storage space in our apartment is at a premium, I can’t have any slackers. Which means these blank books can’t stay blank. They need jobs. While I do keep a bullet journal, with one section for tracking books and pages I’ve read, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
This year was the first year I actually kept track of what books I’ve read during the calendar year, and also how many pages. I do use Goodreads, and find that invaluable. The ability to sort my books into shelves -my first Goodreads account had romances sorted into historical periods, which I found useful, and fun, especially when reader friends ask for recommendations on what romances set during (insert favorite historical period here) are. Send a link to the pertinent list, boom, sorted. I may start doing that again in 2019, though it could be labor intensive, if I’m trying to count all the books I’ve read since I nabbed my first romance novel from my mom’s nightstand, when I was eleven.
As much as I love Goodreads (and can spend hours there, quite happily) I prefer to touch paper, whenever I can, so making a section in my bullet journal, to track books I’ve read, was only natural. Adding the trackers for pages read started out mainly as a way to ensure I was meeting my reading goal for the year up at Goodreads (I am soooo close this year, it’s not even funny) but the color coding I did was all over the place, mostly themed around what month I was tracking for, and what color of marker or colored pencils I had on hand.
This year, though, I want to do things differently. Not giving up the badly drawn book piles on washi tape shelves, but I want to know more about the books I’m reading, because more information is (for me) always better. What kinds of books am I reading the most? Genre, subgenre, setting, tone, plot and/or character elements, inclusion of actual historical figures/events, etc. Whether the book is a standalone, or part of a series, and, if so, what place in the series it holds. Book one is a far cry from book thirteen, after all, and then there’s the whole matter of subseries. When the book was published is another thing I’d like to have on record, whether it’s a reprint, and probably a few other things I haven’t thought of yet. If you’re internally screaming “how could you not mention XYZ?” feel free to drop suggestions in the comments, because we’re nosy badgers and want to know what you like to do, to keep track of what you’re reading and/or have read.
For some of us, that’s nothing. Not reading nothing, but not keeping a formal record. See the book, figure it looks good, grab it and read. Perfectly good way of diving into this sort of thing. Book out of series order? Pfft. That’s (one of the many reasons) why we have librarians. Take each new book as it comes, and, if that great new book turns out to be a great old book, maybe with a new cover or title, well, it’s always fun to revisit old friends, even if they do have a new outfit.
To Be Read lists are familiar to many readers, whether electronic or old school, and most of us don’t see them going away anytime soon. Keeping track of what books in a series we’ve already read, authors who are like our favorite authors, and those hot new releases that pique our curiosity sidle up to the venerable classics of romance that we somehow haven’t managed to get to, quite yet.
There are as many different ways to keep track of reading, and plan for future reads, as there are readers. Probably more, actually, as the methods could be different for each, and there is the whole thing about kissing frogs before finding The One. In the end, keeping track of romance reading is a lot like reading romance. There’s no one right way to do it, only the way that gets you to the HEA every time.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you keep track of books read, and/or yet to read? Do you prefer digital means, or pen and paper? If you do track books, what do you track? Pull up a chair in the comment section, and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.