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Book Records again

I too kept track of the books I read for my Specialist Exam (no Major Fields in my department). I've kept track of books for reading programs in elementary and secondary school. I read all of the Newberry Award books as of 5th grade. I've always liked the idea of keeping track of books, but never really done it. I wonder if it's a combination of my historical and accumulative instincts to desire to the information, even if I don't retain it. Does it matter if I've read a book if I can't remember what it's about?

A few people commented on the book records poll to observe that they didn't see the point in keeping track of all the books they'd ever read. Is it a genre of life diary? Are people who keep track of books more or less likely to keep track of other things, like movies? Is it a form of collecting things which doesn't take up much space? Is it a tally for pride, each book a notch? Early life habit, once established, never altered?

For those of you who do so, why do you keep track (or want to keep track) of the books you read?


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
hmmmm I'll have to think about the y?

so many templates that its so easy to say o I'll just do it for the hell of it?
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
I started keeping track of the books I read about 4-5 years ago, mainly because I was curious how many books I actually read in a year. I've kept it up (with the exception of 2005, when I crapped out after writing down two books, but then, I hardly managed to read at all that year anyway) because I like being able to look back and see what I read, and because, especially after having Arthur, it gives me a bit of a feeling of accomplishment - because for a while there, I was worried I'd never go back to the same level of reading, but really, I haven't dropped that far from previous totals.
Apr. 12th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
It's something I started doing last year, for a few reasons. I was curious to see how many books I was reading, of what type, and at what speed. But also I decided a while back that I just wasn't reading as much as I should, so I set myself a target of (an average of) 100 pages per day, and the record helps me keep track of whether I'm hitting this target or not.
Apr. 12th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
Me, I just hate forgetting things. When someone asks me about a book I've read, and I realize that I can no longer remember the plot or any of the characters, I feel a profound "OMG I'm getting old" anxiety.

Of course, as Plato so wisely pointed out, writing things down atrophies the memory rather than improving it. But I'd still prefer that to the void. :)
Apr. 12th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
I too write down my reaction to a book (when I do) because I've got a lousy memory. A book that's otherwise fled my mind can return in some detail after I've read over a brief summation. Occasionally, alas, the book is nearly as lost to me after I've read my abstract as before.
Apr. 12th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
When you've been reading for over half a century, keeping track is downright impractical!
Apr. 12th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC)
I like to keep track - even though many of the books I read are pure junk. I remember plots very well and will only ever reread a book if I actually like the writing, so I usually don't have shock repeats, despite the volume of books I read.

However, remembering plots doesn't always mean I remember how good the writing was. So, I really would like to keep track of good authors so when it comes to purchasing something in an airport, I know whether the book is going to be a keeper or a beg-the-used-bookstore-owner-to-please-buy-it-book.

It just struck me that one way of keeping track would be to review the book for Amazon.com or some other site, so I could actually keep track online without losing my list!
Apr. 12th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
Apart from an odd year when I was at six-form, I've only been keeping regular track of books read for about 8 years I guess.

The initial reason was that I was in a literary APA where we talked about books so it was useful to know what I had actually read, my memory being what it is!

Nowdays I don't really need to keep the list, but I find it quite interesting. It helps with writing the Vector 'Review of the year' piece, and the longer version I usually put up on LJ.

We also tend to compare year-on-year totals, though pennski and I use completely different systems. She keeps a hand-written record of each book read, with a one-line comment on each. I keep an excel spreadsheet with just the name, author and date completed. Because I have that obsessive thing going on there I also keep three tabs: one for novels or collections/anthologies, one for graphic novels/cartoon books/manga, etc and one for sf magazines.

But, honestly? I do it just because I like to!
Apr. 12th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)
I keep track of mine due to my very bad memory - I can never remember which books I've read and logging what month (the lowest level of granularity I can be bothered with) lets me tie other things that happened at the same time to an actual point in time. It also gives me a big list which I count up and then try and beat the next year :)
Apr. 12th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
I started this year, prompted mainly by an 'end-of-year' meme which asked what the best book I'd read that year was, and my sorrow at realising that I couldn't really give a reliable answer, because I couldn't remember the full range of options. I'm really looking forward to doing the same meme at the end of this year now, and being able to give a carefully-considered answer!

I do recognise that the important books should stay in your memory unprompted, and that the ones you forget you've read by definition can't have been very good. But then again, when it turns out that the memories of them which you would otherwise have lost can actually be prompted back into existence by a pretty small trigger (say a 100-word LJ write-up), it seems to me to be worth doing - a point which applies to keeping a journal generally, and not just to recording books.
Apr. 12th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Now tha you mention it, I'm not sure why I keep track. I suppose that I'd like to be able to go over it later and see what the patterns in my reading (and thought process) were. My Mom has been keeping a record like that since I was born, and I'm wondering if I will be able to pull of the same cool feat of reading like her.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )