Why and how to track your reading

I first began tracking my reading about 15 years ago.  I am a huge fan of re-reading but I came to realize that I was almost only re-reading.  I was finished with school, so I had no assigned 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 started using one last summer and began making improvements until 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.

Happy Reading!