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Why and how to track your reading

I first began tracking my reading a few years out of college.  I am a huge fan of re-reading but I came to realize that I was almost only re-reading.  I was in a disappointing job, and my best comfort was to sink into a familiar book.  So I did it alot.  Jane Austen, L. M. Montgomery, and Louisa May Alcott were the most often read.  I didn't think that this was altogether a bad thing.  They're great books!  I always felt uplifted... until I finally understood that it was a crutch.  I think it sunk in when I picked up my collected works of Jane Austen to read something, but I'd just read all of them.

I knew that there was a whole library nearby full of new books (or new to me).  I also had several books on my shelves that I'd brought home and never read.  So, I decided to write down every book that I read.  And limit myself to going through Jane Austen once a year.  (Maybe twice if I really needed it.)  I just wrote down the month and year, and listed titles and authors.  From time to time I'd flip through it and laugh at how often I'd still re-read the old favorites, plus Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, which I went through about once a year then.  I began to make some headway into my own book hoard, and read more widely.  

This was about the time I started to use spreadsheets for work, and when I got used to them, I loved them.  I have a zillion spreadsheets.  It started with a home budget, and now anytime I want a list, I make a spreadsheet for it.  So, my hand-written list has become a spreadsheet.  I've made improvements, and I think it's really useful, so I'm sharing it. 


I have a tab at the beginning with some general information and instructions.

I track the author and title, of course, the month I started and finished, year published, why I'm reading it, and genre.  Some of these are in drop-down lists that you could easily change.  Or you could add more.  Some things that you might want to track:


    time spent on the book


    pages read


    who recommended it


    your own rating system

  • In the why column, you could add school or book club.  It's really easy, and if you don't know how to change the lists, the instructions cover it.

​If you decide to use my reading tracker, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.  The last field is notes, and I really enjoy stopping to write a short statement about the book.  Plus, then I have notes ready if I want to write a review for storygraph.

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