Why I Keep Track of What I Read

Since forever, people have been commenting on how much I read. People used to ask me how many books I read, and before I kept track, I had no idea. I used to say, “I dunno… like 5 a month?”

After being asked that question for maybe the millionth time, I had the “brilliant” inspiration to actually keep track. (I’m slow sometimes. I own it.)

In 2013, I started keeping a list of books I read. Over time, what I keep track of has evolved somewhat. These days, I have a list on Numbers and also track via Goodreads. On my personal list, I record title, author, number of pages, date started, date finished, genre, comments, and year published. As a book nerd, it’s fun to look at all that information.

In 2013, I only finished 72 books (my lowest number since I’ve been tracking) and 30% of them were re-reads. In 2017, I finished 132 books (almost double my 2013 number!) and 20% of them were re-reads. Interestingly, my re-read number has seemed to be steady at about 30 per year.

The number of books I’ve read has steadily increased since that first year I started tracking them. I’m not sure if it’s a result of the tracking somehow, being more mindful of what I read, or just a coincidence, but it’s interesting.

Why I keep track of what I read

  1. So that I could answer the question, “How many books do you read?” This really was the question that started it all.
  2. So that I can keep track of series I’ve read. There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a series, enjoying it, but having the next book not come out for a year or more. In the past, I’ve forgotten the title and author, and since I didn’t keep track of books, had to do a Google search. While I eventually found them, I decided I didn’t like leaving such an important issue up to fate.
  3. So I can remember what I read. Though I usually remember what I read, it has occasionally happened that I’ve forgotten that I’ve read a particular book, usually because it’s somewhat forgettable. Keeping track of what I read lets me jot notes on a book as to whether or not I liked it and why.
  4. Because I like lists. Really, I love lists and numbers. It’s fun to say, “I read this many pages last year” or “80% of my reading last year were books I’ve never read.”
  5. It’s a good way to keep track of what books were recommended by other people. I probably wouldn’t remember this on my own, but it’s helpful to remember who recommended what, and where our book tastes overlap.

Do you keep track of your reading? What method do you use?

What I Read In 2016

img_73542016 was a great year for reading. I ended up reading a lot of books I really liked, which is always nice.

I recorded a lot more information about what I read this year, including year published and genre. It was a lot of work, but kind of fun to see too. I still haven’t found an app I really like, so I just use a document on Pages, plus Goodreads. (If you have a Goodreads page, friend me!)

I ended up reading 117 books, for a total of 221,641 pages. I abandoned 3 books this year, though I plan to return to one of them. In case you’re curious about my criteria for abandoning books, you can find it here.

I read 81 new books, and 36 were re-reads, which are noted with asterisks.

My favorite book of the year was All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood, though I also loved: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

What was the best book you read in 2016? Have you read any of my favorites? What did you think of any of those?

The complete list of what I read:

Heart Shaped Box, Joe Hill
In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume
*Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Olive Kitteredge, Elizabeth Strout
*Watchers, Dean Koontz
Devoted in Death, JD Robb
My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King
One Plus One, Jojo Moyes
Six Months, Three Days, Charlie Jane Anders
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Jessee Andrews
We Are Called to Rise, Laura McBride
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
* The Face, Dean Koontz
Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing, Larry Brooks
* Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
My True Love Gave to Me, Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Knight’s Wyrd Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald
I’ve Got a Time B*mb, Sybil Lamb- did not finish
Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon
The Mystery of Hollow Places, Rebecca Podos
Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
Still Alice, Lisa Genova
The Day We Met, Rowan Coleman
*Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, JK Rowling
Brotherhood in Death (# 42), JD Robb
* The Secret Garden, Francis Hodges Burnett
Beatrice and Virgil, Yann Martel
* The Martian, Andy Weir
*Naked in Death, JD Robb
The Library of Souls, Ransom Riggs
Bossypants, Tina Fey
* Sushi for Beginners, Marian Keyes
* Morrigan’s Cross, Nora Roberts
*Pollyanna, Eleanor H. Porter
* Watership Down, Richard Adams
* Dance of the Gods, Nora Roberts
* Valley of Silence, Nora Roberts
* Slumber Party, Christopher Pike
Room, Emma Donoghue
* Mr. Darcy’s Diary, Amanda Grange
*Every Breath You Take, Judith McNaught
*Truly Madly Manhattan, Nora Roberts
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez- did not finish
People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
*Peppermints in the Parlor, Barbara Brooks Wallace
*Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson, MD
*What Dreams May Come, Richard Matheson
*Daddy Long-Legs, Jean Webster
A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
Issola, Stephen Brust
*These Happy Golden Years, Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Lightning Thief, Rick Riorden
Sea of Monsters, Rick Riorden
The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin
Made You Up, Francesca Zappia
Titan’s Curse, Rick Riordan
The Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan
The Dude and The Zen Master, Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman
*Lover Eternal, JR Ward
The Outliers, Kimberly McCreight
A Tyranny of Petticoats, Edited by Jessica Spotswood
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson
The Way Back to You, Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott
*Blithe Images, Nora Roberts
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
A Green and Ancient Light, Frederic S. Durbin
Lone Wolf, Jodi Picoult
Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman, MD
*Where the Heart Is, Billie Letts
*The Host, Stephanie Meyer
Party of One, Dave Holmes
The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan
Dark Town, Kaja Blackley & Vanessa Chong
All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
There Will Be Lies, Nick Lake
The Obsession, Nora Roberts
I Am Providence, Nick Mamatas
*Francesca, Baby, Joan L. Oppenheimer
The Honey Thief, Elizabeth Graver
Mr. Perfect, Linda Howard
The Truth About Alice, Jennifer Mathieu
A Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay
*Dance Upon the Air, Nora Roberts
*Heaven and Earth, Nora Roberts
*Face the Fire, Nora Roberts
*Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
Coraline, Neil Gaiman
The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
*The Cold Dish (Longmire 1), Craig Johnson
Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer
For Women Only
I Was Here, Gayle Forman
You, Caroline Kepnes
*The Shining, Stephen King
Doctor Sleep, Stephen King
Death Without Company, Craig Johnson
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black
Kindness Goes Unpunished, Craig Johnson
The Liar, Nora Roberts
Another Man’s Moccasins, Craig Johnson
*The Darkest Part of the Forest, Holly Black
This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab
The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
The Dark Horse, Craig Johnson
Little Paris Bookshop, Nina George
Infomocracy, Malka Older
I, Robot, Isaac Asimov
Junkyard Dogs, Craig Johnson
Hell is Empty, Craig Johnson
Divorce Horse, Craig Johnson
Hidden Bodies, Caroline Kepnes
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Bryn Greenwood
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
Wait for Signs, Craig Johnson
*The Night Circus, Erin Morganstern
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore

Books I Read In 2014

On Spontaneous Saturdays, I post something on whatever topic comes to mind.

Berry Springs Park and Preserve Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Berry Springs Park and Preserve
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

In 2013, I started keeping track of the books I read.  I did this partly because I was curious, and partly because I do read a lot of books.  It got to the point that I couldn’t remember what books I’ve read and which I haven’t, so I thought that keeping a list was a good way to figure out if I’ve read a book before or not.  It’s not terribly sophisticated; I just keep a Google docs list so that I can update it anywhere, and I also like to keep track of the amount of time it takes me to read something.  Because I’m almost never without a book, people always asked me how much I read, and I used to tell them it was on average, 5 books a month.  I can see now that I was very much underestimating that.

I started reading 87 books this year, and only didn’t finish two.  One, I stopped reading, and the other, I’m still working on.

Forty of the books were rereads, and 6 of them were from the 100 Classic Books I’m working my way through.

My favorite new books from this year were The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, On Little Wings by Regina Sirois, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl,  The Unfortunate Fairy Tale Books by Chanda Hahn, and Every Ugly Word, Aimee L. Salter.  Interestingly, I didn’t find any new books to go into my all time favorites list, but these are all good, and worth reading.

I tried to read more “smarter” books this year, in addition to the classics.  I learned that while “smart” books might be good for my brain, I hate them.  I’ll stick with the classics, which at least make me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and if nothing else, help me get some references made by other authors.

What was the best book you’ve read this year?

* This is a book I’ve read before.

+ This is a book I didn’t finish

# From my classics list

X This was a book recommended by my book club.

  1.  #1984, George Orwell (12/23/13- 1/4/14)
  2.  The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (1/5- 1/7)
  3.  Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (1/12)
  4.  *Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1/12- 1/18)
  5.  +The MELT Method (1/20-
  6.  *Mr. Darcy’s Diary, Amanda Grange (1/20)
  7.  *Christy, Maud Johnson (1/23-1/24)
  8.  *Starting from Square Two, by Karen Lissner (1/27- 1/30)
  9.  X Boy’s Life, by Robert McCammon  (1/30- 2/22)
  10.  On Little Wings, by Regina Sirois (2/2- 2/3)
  11.  *Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (2/16-2/17)
  12.  Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman (2/22- 2/28)
  13.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2/28- 3/3)
  14.  *Black Dawn, LJ Smith (3/11)
  15.  *Witchlight, LJ Smith (3/11)
  16.  The Dogs of Christmas, W. Bruce Cameron (3/13- 3/14)
  17.  *The Chosen, LJ Smith (3/16)
  18.  Hollow City, Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (3/18- 3/25)
  19.  Doomed, Chuck Palahniuk (3/26- 4/5)
  20.  *Carolina Moon, Nora Roberts  (4/3-4/4)
  21.  *Genuine Lies, Nora Roberts (4/5-4/10)
  22.  *Red Dragon, Thomas Harris (4/11- 4/15)
  23.  Island of Fire (The Unwanteds 3), Lisa McCann (4/16-4/17)
  24.  *The Host, Stephanie Meyer, (4/18- 4/20)
  25. #*The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, CS Lewis (4/21-4/22)
  26.  *Hannibal, Thomas Harris (4/24-4/28)
  27.  *The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (4/30-5/2)
  28.  The Heartbreak Pill, Anjanette Delgado (5/4-5/12)
  29.  *Baby Island, Carol Ryrie Brink  (5/16)
  30.  X The Glimmer Palace, Beatrice Colin (5/18- 5/26)- boring, read like historical fiction
  31.  #The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman (5/28- 5/31)
  32.  *Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery (6/1-6/2)
  33.  *Anne of Avonlea, LM Montgomery (6/3-6/4)
  34.  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (6/5- 6/15)
  35.  The Cold Dish, Craig Johnson (6/6- 6/10)
  36.  The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace (6/17- 7/6)
  37.  *Blue Dahlia, Nora Roberts (6/24-6/25)
  38.  *Black Rose, Nora Roberts (6/25-6/26)
  39.  *Red Lily, Nora Roberts (6/26- 6/30)
  40.  *Jewels of the Sun, Nora Roberts (7/6- 7/7)
  41.  *Tears of the Moon, Nora Roberts (7/7- 7/8)
  42.  *Heart of the Sea, Nora Roberts (7/8- 7/10)
  43.  House of Leaves, Mark Danlewski (7/11- 8/ something)
  44.  *Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire (7/17- 7/19)
  45.  *Born in Ice, Nora Roberts (7/27-7/28)
  46.  *Born in Shame, Nora Roberts (7/28-7/29)
  47.  *Born in Fire, Nora Roberts (7/29-7/31)
  48.  *Sea Swept, Nora Roberts (8/1- 8/2)
  49.  *Rising Tides (8/2- 8/3)
  50.  *Inner Harbor, Nora Roberts (8/4)
  51.  Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl (8/5- 8/18)
  52.  Timebound, Rysa Walker (8/18- 8/22)
  53.  *Pride and Predjudice, Jane Austen (8/22- 8/28)
  54.  Four, Veronica Roth (8/28)
  55.  Unenchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 1), Chanda Hahn (8/28- 8/29)
  56.  X While I Was Gone, Sue Miller (8/29- 9/2)
  57.  Fairest (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 2), Chanda Hahn (9/2-9/3)
  58.  Fable (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 3), Chanda Hahn (9/3)
  59. X  The Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty, and Friendship, Rachelle Friedman (9/4- 9/7)
  60.  *Walking Disaster, Jamie McGuire (9/8- 9/11)
  61.  Notes to Self, Avery Sawyer (9/11)- A girl with a head injury has to learn about herself and remember what happened the night of the fall.
  62. Broken Promises, Dawn Pendleton (9/13- 9/15), meh… poorly written, no conflict
  63. It Started With Dracula: The Count, My Mother, and I, Jane Congdon (9/15-  9/21)
  64. Broken Dreams, Dawn Pendleton (9/22)
  65. Broken Pieces, Dawn Pendleton (9/23- 9/24)
  66. Broken Valentine, Dawn Pendleton (9/24- 9/25)
  67. Every Ugly Word, Aimee L. Salter (9/25- 9/26) Young girl being bullied, Older Self, excellent.
  68. Kiss a Girl in the Rain, Nancy Warren (9/29-9/30)
  69. Iris in Bloom, Nancy Warren (9/30- 10/1)
  70. The Mad Tinker’s Daughter, JS Morin (10/2- 10/10)
  71. *Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (10/14- 10/15)
  72. Loving Lauren, Jill Sanders (10/24- 10/25)
  73. X The Light Between Oceans, ML Steadman (10/25- 10/29)
  74. Ghost in the Bedroom, MA Harper (10/30- 11/3)
  75. #Dracula, Bram Stoker (11/4- 11/11)
  76. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg (11/12)
  77. Reign, (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 4), Chanda Hahn (11/13)
  78. #The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (11/14 -11/15)
  79. X #A Farewell To Arms, Ernest Hemingway (11/16- 11/25)
  80. The Crying Lot of 49, Thomas Pynchon (11/28- 12/18)
  81. *Divergent, Veronica Roth (12/4)
  82. *Insurgent, Veronica Roth (12/5- 12/6)
  83. *Allegiant, Veronica Roth (12/6- 12/7)
  84. *Blood Brothers, Nora Roberts (12/10- 12/12)
  85. *The Hollow, Nora Roberts (12/12-12/14)
  86. *The Pagan Stone, Nora Roberts (12/14- 12/15)
  87. X +The Night Circus, Erin Morganstern (12/30- present)

“A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.”

~Author Unknown