I enjoy lists. Yes, I’m one of those people who finds satisfaction in a well-ordered, neat and tidy list. I find that even the simple act of writing things down helps me clarify my thoughts, and it frees up brain space because I don’t have to spend time worrying that I’ll forget something.
Perhaps you’re a list enthusiast too; I’d wager that a lot of people are. Why else would listicles (a word that, I have to say, makes me cringe a little) be so tempting and so popular on the internet? In a 2013 article from The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova writes about the reasons why our brains are irresistibly drawn to list-based articles.
“Within the context of a Web page or Facebook stream, with their many choices, a list is the easy pick, in part because it promises a definite ending: we think we know what we’re in for, and the certainty is both alluring and reassuring.”
This year, I have decided to keep a list — in spreadsheet form — of all the books I read. When I was a teenager, I had a book diary in which I wrote the title of each book I read and the dates when I started and finished reading it. But my habit lapsed after a year or so, and I haven’t kept records of my reading since then.
I was inspired to start a literary spreadsheet by a link in Caitlin Kelly’s post, So, what are you reading these days? on her blog, Broadside. A Halifax librarian, Amy McLay Paterson, read 164 books in 2015, and she kept track of them all by using a simple Google Docs spreadsheet.
If you want to read Amy’s article and check out her spreadsheet, here’s a link. And yes, her article is in a list format — she writes about six things she learned from reading 164 books last year.
While I doubt my reading total this year will approach anywhere near 164 books, keeping a spreadsheet to track my reading seemed like a fun idea. It’s also handy as a reference tool when I write book reviews here on my blog and for jotting down titles on my TBR list, so that I don’t forget them.
I’m looking forward to keeping track of my reading this year. It will be interesting to see if any patterns emerge, and I think it will motivate me to read more books. Not that I need any encouragement — it’s a very rare occasion that I don’t have a book on the go.
What are your thoughts on keeping track of your reading? Do you keep a record of the books you read?