Monday, January 2, 2012

How I Keep Track of Books

I love to read.  That set in about the same time I had kids and didn't have time to read.  Then I really wanted to.  Here's how I keep track of my books:
Part I:  My Journal ...

I moved away from my home and friends several years ago.  One of my friends from the old neighborhood moved close by recently and started a book club.  She is Wendy at Simply Brookes.  We shared lunch with some amazing ladies once a month.
Then she left.
I had this great idea to give her a journal to keep track of books she has read as a going away present.  I took some quotes about friendship and some quotes from books we had read, printed them and glued them into the journal.  I gave it to her at our last luncheon.  Guess what gift she had for the rest of us?  Yep, a journal.  She explained that when she finishes a book, she jots down the name of the book and date in her journal.  I can't remember for sure, but I think she also keeps a "to read" list on the last page of the journal and crosses them off as she goes (I need to do this).

I printed the same quotes I put in Wendy's journal and put them in mine.  I used the friendship quotes as well as the book quotes because to me, books are intertwined with friends, love, emotions, home, family ...
I love quotes (probably obvious at this point), so  in addition to writing the name of the book and when I finished, I write a quote or two from the book.
No need to be perfect about it.  Write what is meaningful, and that is what I enjoy when I flip through the journal.

My favorite books from book club were East of Eden by John Steinbeck, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  **Updated** I'm not sure how I forgot this, but I also loved Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  These are at the top of my all-time favorites list. 

Some other books I really enjoyed this past year:  Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, True Grit by Charles Portis, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne.

(Middlesex is in the photo above, but not my favorite.  Glad I read it, but not sure I would recommend it).

Part II:  GoodReads ...

This morning I found a website called to keep track of my books online.  I previously used a different website, but it's not there anymore.  In addition to their website, GoodReads has an iPod app and an Android app.  I have a list of read, currently reading and want to read books.  I can friend people, read reviews,  see quotes, post to Facebook or Twitter, rate books and get recommendations based on how I rated my books.  I can post directly to my blog (haven't tried this yet) and make different kinds of widgets for my blog (my favorite widget shows quotes I liked from my books).  Stop by GoodReads and friend me.

**Update** Thanks to Bonnie, whose comment reminded me that I have a Shelfari account and had completely forgotten about it.  I will have to compare it to Goodreads and see which I like better.  I'll let you know.

This afternoon I was catching up on Nester's blog and she asked how her readers keep track of books.  So I'm going to link up to her ... check out the link if you want to see what others are doing.

Have you read any good books lately?


Keren said...

Good ideas. I just started using Goodreads, as well (, and found it very helpful. I read Unbroken and The Help last year--super books!

Bonnie said...

I love your journal idea. I like to keep track of what I've read using

I also like quotes. I might have to start my own journal for my favorite quotes.

I've also linked up at The Nester.

simply brookes: said...

oh sweet sweet friend. what a treat you are. you made my day with your kind words. you are a gem and i'm so lucky to call you friend. YOU my friend are the reason i'm in blogland. and yet you are still paying it forward.

i'm smiling because of you. love my journal and my friend.

Martha said...

Love the journal! You know what I love best? Your handwriting! So pretty! I've been stalking your Pinterest boards - good stuff, my friend :)

Tanya Patrice said...

I keep track on Goodreads as well - I used to use Shelfari, and while I think it has a prettier interface, I think Goodreads has a more active & vibrant community.

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