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This is the previously referenced “TBR list” post….

Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with the best way to track books. Books read, books to be read, interesting books, etc. In 2010, I discovered goodreads.com. This was the answer to my problem! I’d been tracking books I wanted to look into or mark as “to read” in notebooks, book covers, or cell phone “notes” sections for ages. But those methods don’t travel well over time.

(Bear with me folks, we’re talking about early 2000s here. I was acquiring my first flash drive. The Cloud wasn’t a “thing” yet.)

When I discovered GoodReads, I’d considered all my problems solved. And they were, for a while. But eventually I came across a few books that I wanted to read that weren’t in the Goodreads library. Additionally, I wanted to alter my book tracking demographics in ways that Goodreads wouldn’t allow. I wanted more from the “stats” section.

In the late months of 2013, I decided to start tracking my TBR list not only on Goodreads, but also separately via google docs. This would avoid many of the problems I’d had prior with Goodreads’ list manipulability, and also, I’d have the list in case anything ever happened to the Goodreads website. This list, in MS Excel format, is now “complete.”

The list includes what I am currently reading as well as my entire “to-read” list. It is extensive…256 items long. WOW. (ahem… and growing).

I was surprised with how many books I had on my list. Interestingly, I was equally surprised with how many books I instantly recalled – this is three years of TBR-ing I’m reviewing! Some books that I reviewed from the GoodReads list did not make the excel perma-list. If I couldn’t remember adding it, and then reviewed the book on GoodReads and couldn’t figure out why I added it, it got deleted. This happened… twice. HA!

The most significant shock in reviewing my TBR list was how many non-fiction books were on it! Throughout my adult reading life, I’ve been … preoccupied with nonfiction.  I think a good portion of this is due to my graduate work – law, then history and public policy. It left very little time for fiction reading (which at the time I considered “free” reading. Now, reading is reading is reading). However, most of the actual reading I’ve done the last few years has been fiction-based.

Shockingly, 45% of the books on my current “to read” list are non-fiction. My perception before beginning this project of transferring my list to a different, more manipulable format, was that I would have far less non-fiction. However, in the process of re-writing the list, I was floored by how much non-fiction it encompassed. Sometimes I find that I miss going to school, as a result, I do have clear memories of repeatedly seeking out non-fiction books to add to my TBR list, so that I can “keep the education alive.” Now, I actually have to start reading them!

There isn’t a terrible ton of repeating authors on my list. Which I am pleased about. Some of my favorite authors, Gaiman and Erdrich, are on there multiple times. And, I suspect after reading “Start Here: Volume 2” there may be some more repeats, but overall I’m pleased with the diversity. I have authors from several different countries and backgrounds as well – in both the fiction and non-fiction categories.

I’m also tracking when the book is added to the TBR list, how long it takes me to read each book, what my “rating” was, and if I read the book in paper or ebook. So, eventually I will have even more awesome data on my reading habits to sort through.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve become obsessed with bookriot.com. For anyone who reads this blog, that is not news. BookRiot has heavily influenced my TBR list with 37.5% of the books on it being recommended to me by BookRiot – the only other larger category in my “recommendation source” field is “unknown.” I suspect many of those books I also heard about on BookRiot, I just don’t remember.

I anticipate that much of my early-year reading in 2014 is going to be BookRiot heavy. However, I am excited to check out many of these non-fiction titles on this list. Being able to handle each title, one-by-one, to rework this list really got me excited about reading this year! Not that I wasn’t already, but just amped it up a bit.
Who else keeps track of their reading habits? Is there anything else you think I should be tracking?

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