The Deep Dive

The Power Reader’s Guide to Reading Logs & Trackers

S. Zainab Williams

Executive Director, Content

S. Zainab would like to think she bleeds ink but the very idea makes her feel faint. She writes fantasy and horror, and is currently clutching a manuscript while groping in the dark. Find her on Twitter: @szainabwilliams.

I have an embarrassing confession to make.

I am a professional in the world of books. I am a cohost on a podcast about books. I am a writer and an editor. I am known as The Reader among family and friends. You might even call me a Power Reader…

And I do not track my reading.

It’s taken me a while to get to a place where I’m not forever comparing myself to other readers, worrying about how many books I’ve read, whether I’ve read this or that buzzy book, whether I can engage in conversation about the literary canon, and on and on. If there’s one thing I haven’t come to terms with, however, it’s my seeming aversion to any system that might help me track my reading.

Okay, maybe “aversion” is too strong a word. What’s really happening here is that I’ve tried numerous tracking systems and they just don’t stick. I get really excited about them, tell myself, “This year’s gonna be different,” track a handful of titles, and then slowly but surely procrastinate about adding books to the list until another year has gone by and I have to consult my Libro.fm shelves, physical shelves, Libby, and various eBook apps to figure out what the hell I read.

I want to get to the bottom of why certain tracking systems work for some people. I want to know how other people who could be described as Power Readers interact with reading logs, reading journals, reading spreadsheets, and other tools for tracking finished books, TBR books, etc.

So I asked the Book Riot staff and contributors, and some power readers of Instagram (our Instagram followers), to share their thoughts, feelings, and preferences about the process in the hopes of learning something new that might guide me and others like me toward figuring out how to take a real crack at this tracking thing.

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