Newsletter 1

What Does Your Reading Log Look Like?

Jeremy Anderberg

Staff Writer

Jeremy writes and edits for The Art of Manliness during the day. By night he writes a little more, reads a lot more, and endlessly watches How I Met Your Mother with his wife, Jane. Follow him on Twitter: @JeremyAnderberg

book journal

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Whenever it comes up in conversation that I keep track of the books I read (don’t ask me how, but it does come up every once in a while), I’m inevitably looked upon by non-bookish people as being a little weird. A little obsessed. A lot nerdy.

And yet I know I’ll find refuge here in the Book Riot community. I log the books I read, and various details about them, quite religiously. I’m curious what “metrics” you all use when logging books for the year, how you organize, whether you do it online or on paper, etc.

I use a simple Google Spreadsheet that I’ve named “Books Read.” I chose Google Docs because it’s in the cloud, therefore always available, and super easily editable. It’s also easy to organize based on the various categories, and I can also do easy addition for adding up pages read — another yearly metric I keep track of. This year (2013) is my fifth year of keeping a log, and it’s been the same format every time. I give each year a new sheet in the digital notebook.

Here’s a screenshot of my log.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.14.32 AM

The fields I track:

  • Date Finished — As I’m writing this, I realize I don’t record the date started, which can make things a little distorted in terms of how much I actually read in any given month.
  • Title — Self-explanatory, although I don’t usually include subtitles, mainly because I’m lazy.
  • Author — Not organized by last name, as I don’t often care much about seeing what I read by author.
  • Pages — Based on the edition I read, so this isn’t a number that’s set in stone.
  • Category — I like to record the genre, sometimes using a sub-genre as well. I like to have balance in what I’m reading.
  • Date Published — This is the original date published, not necessarily the edition I’m reading. This even gets tricky because for translated books, the original date and English date are different. I don’t have a set rule here.
  • Misc — The final column is for any miscellaneous notes. If I didn’t finish, I usually note how much of the book I actually read. If it’s a series, I might note which number in the series it is. Whatever my heart desires, I’ll put here.

I also keep a separate DNF list, which this year (5 books) is more than it’s ever been. I’ve finally become marginally okay with DNF-ing a book.

That’s it for me, now on to the real reason for this post. I REALLY wanna hear how you guys log your books! Possible tracking fields include:

  • Date Started / Date Finished
  • Hours Read (Total)
  • Hours Read (Per Book)
  • Word Count [a quick Google search can offer more info than you’d think]
  • Publisher
  • Amazon / Goodreads Rating
  • Personal Rating
  • Did you read a paper copy or digital copy? Kindle or Nook or iBooks?
  • Did you buy the book? Loan from library? Was it a galley?
  • How did you discover the book? Bookstore? Recommendation?

    What other categories can you think of? It’s that time to reflect on the previous year of reading, to create lists/goals for the coming year, and of course, decide how we’ll track our book reading come 2014.


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