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How do you keep track of the books you read?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. We appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
This a super easy answer, but I want to chat around it for a moment, because it reminded me of somethings I have done to track media in the past. I hope you’ll stick with me as I go on a bit of a tangent. Also, bear with me, as I cherish honesty, because I will give you some important low-down on some sites based on my personal experiences with them…
When I was a kid, I had my own mini-library, like most privileged kids. I was very blessed. My mother, who came from severe poverty, wanted to be sure that her children had everything they needed to succeed. And she knew how much I loved books. Thus, she got me a scholastic subscription, and I was able to order some books when the book fair came around. I’m beginning to understand, as I age, how rare that was outside my family. (My dad’s mother also had a small library, which I adored perusing whenever I was there.)
The way I kept track of my reading back in those days, was either memory or organizing the shelves. I once purposely read every single book I had on those shelves, to be sure I had read them all. So then, it was easy to track: if I had the book, I had read it or was in the process of reading it.
Years later, I would buy books fully intending to read them, but they would end up on the shelf without being touched as I worked and went to school. Then work just took over my life. I still haven’t finished the Wheel of Time, which I started in the 1990s. College brought so many books to be read, and work has brought exhaustion. Trying to write took precedence in my free time.
In more recent years (last decade and a half, probably), the internet has provided more means to track and to read. For instance, I am a member of Wattpad since 2015. That’s where you can sample my books, and get the companion of The Trailokya Trilogy. This site allows users to create lists, so you’re able to add books you’ve read on the site to a list and track them that way. These books would not show up on other sites to be tracked. This is a place for new writers, mostly, and their WIPs. It’s a fabulous site to get feedback, create community, and provide a space for writers to publish outside of traditional means. No one makes any money, but I believe that Wattpad is seeking ways to monetize for authors. The first stage of that is subscribing monthly for premium access.
On a side note, don’t go into Wattpad thinking everyone is going to want to read your work or chat with you. It can be a bit icy there. People are probably fearful they’ll be asked to review work, give feedback. I joined a group for women in my age range, and it was fine, but I didn’t have a lot in common with them, I felt, so I was not there much. I didn’t want to fake it, and they seemed pretty well-established with one another, that I felt like I was interrupting things. There are groups in which to post your work for others to find, and still more groups based on common interest. Be good to the users there. I have not met anyone mean-spirited. It’s a good place even if it might be hard to find your group.
I found Wattpad much later than Facebook. Supposedly I’ve been a member for about 12 years now. When I first started, they had widgets in which you could list books you’ve read, movies watched, and favorite music. It was a great but unorganized way to track your reads/watches/listens. Last.fm provides a real time tracking of music. Maybe spotify does too? I am not as familiar with it. IMBD allows you to track films via lists, like Facebook or Wattpad. I think you can organize them however you wish. I’ve used excel to inventory my films, and have even considered something like this for books, but it would be an enormous and pointless project to undertake. Who would care? You’d be surprised…
That brings me to my favorite site to track books on: GoodReads. The site has kind of fallen away as a major stop, at least for me. I don’t go to it to find books, and I visit primarily to update my profile and respond to messages. I found the site too cliquey. People were very unkind, unwelcoming. If you could provide them something they needed, you were immediately taken in. If you were just another author, you were ostracized as a nuisance. So joining groups was impossible. It took way more effort than was normal. The locked door policy of the users, however, doesn’t negate the sites usefulness to track reading. I’ve tried to list everything I can remember reading, but I am certain I missed many books, because memory is imperfect.
As for who cares about these lists? Readers do. A lot of readers want to know what books the authors they read are reading. It’s a way to connect. I think that’s pretty groovy. I just wish GoodReads was more conducive to making connections that people seek. I’d characterize the general user as either highly introverted, anti-social, or anxious (seems like suspicion but is anxiety). You’ll need to work extra hard to make friends here. I have run into animosity without having done a thing. So if you use it, don’t expect interaction. It’s simply a tracking site. But maybe you have the it GoodReads users like and will find the site to be different for you. Either way, give it a try. What can it hurt?
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