Thursday, December 20, 2007

Keeping Track of the Books

For years, little slips of paper would fall out of my purse or flutter around on my desk. Written between the margins in my calendar/address book I’d see the name of a book and wonder who had recommended it. The task of writing them all on a list was akin to putting the photos stacked in my rolltop desk away in an album: a wish-list task that would most likely never get checked off.

But, I did it. I prepared an excel spreadsheet of books. Yes, it took valuable writing time, but I am proud of my masterpiece. I’m talking labeled tabs. This is probably the accountant in me, trying to keep track. Before you get too impressed, I need to admit the pages are not numbered, nor the titles in any particular order. That would require using the sorting function of excel and I never quite mastered that. But still.

The tabs are easy—categories such as:

Fiction I want to read

Non-Fiction I want to read (translation: primarily books on the writing craft). Occasionally, a non-fiction narrative like Glass Castle comes along and then I’m right in line to buy it.

Books that most affected the lives of my Oxford classmates. I look back on this list to get a quick reminder of how lucky I was to have met each of those unique individuals. Where else would you get recommendations as diverse as this: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Law of Love by Laura Esquival, or Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll?

Books I have read. This is an attempt to keep count of how many books I actually read-though I don’t date it so I won’t know if the list is per month, year, lifetime! And since I just started it, I am far behind on the count.

Books I enjoyed enough to recommend to others

Audio Books with a spectacular reader (here again, let me push Alan Rickman reading The Return of the Native)

So, how do you keep track?

1 comment:

pamela hammonds said...

When I moved 2 1/2 years ago, I left behind a wonderful group of women who met each month to discuss a book we had read. For my going-away gift they each brought something to fill a basket. Many brought their favorite books but one woman gave me a journal titled "The Reading Woman" for keeping track of books I read along with a section for comments. It is still blank! It was such a cool book, I didn't want to mess it up by writing in it! How crazy of me, huh? Now you've inspired me to get it out and start writing.