A survey: How do you keep your book list???

I am wondering how you maintain the list of books you want to read.  I was chatting with my local librarian about this topic this morning when I  dropped off some books.  She'd just heard an idea:  put the names of all of them in a jar and when you need a book, draw one out at a random.  Interesting thought!  She keeps her list in her library account, which has a digital place where you can put in lists and organize them, but that is now 20 pages long, so she can't manage it anymore.  I have a typed list that I keep adding to.  I organize them by recommendation source or topically ... for example, I have lists of recommendations from my reading pals Mary and Rene; and I have a list I call ":adventures" which are true stories of wilderness adventures.  And now I have a bunch of published lists stapled to the back of that printed list.  But my sub-categories are insufficient, and, more important, new books keep trumping (45-ing???) books that have been on the list a while.

So, share your process, please!  I/we would love to hear new ideas, especially ones that work for you!

7 responses on “A survey: How do you keep your book list???

  1. Deby

    I was using Good Reads (www.goodreads.com), but I didn’t have the patience to put all the books I want to read or have read on that site. They had no way for me to enter multiple entries and my Life is too busy for one by one by one. Good Reads is actually a great tool, but now I keep a running Evernote list on my computer divided in two – one for printed books and one for audio books – with notes or reviews about either. Evernote allows me to include items from the Internet or a piece of paper embedded in the list (as an aside, I love Evernote as an organizing tool!) This makes for a nice list, but I don’t organize it in any special way. I just read through it until a book catches my eye. That feels more natural to me – more like what I would do if I visited a bookstore.
    I tried the “jar list” approach and hated it. That approach didn’t account for my mood or needs at the time. Pulling a random book out of the jar feels too much like a chore. Some books just need to stay in the jar, I think!
    The only thing I know for certain is that there will always be more books on my list than I have time to read them. :^)

  2. Leslie

    My overall reply is that although I do add book titles to a Note on my iPad, I’m a free spirit reader. I belong to two book groups to keep me to a list, but beyond that, I like to have the time to roam a little on my bookshelf of unread books, author interviews on NPR and browsing the library.

  3. Mary C Crawford

    I have a folder with a pocket on each side. One side is fiction, the other side non-fiction. Into these I shove pages torn from newspapers and BookPage, online reviews and lists, suggestions from friends and family I’ve printed out, scraps of paper on which I’ve jotted down titles, etc. When I’m getting ready to make a library run, I go through these and create a short list of 4-5 titles (usually 1-2 non-fiction, the rest fiction). Usually as I do this, i’m checking the library’s online catalog to see if the book is on the shelf or checked out.
    A couple of times a year I go through the folder (it gets overflowing) and cull the selections. Recently I went through the entire mess to see which titles were owned by my local library. Ones that were not, I seriously considered if I was really interested enough to request from another library, which these days is so easy. But I find this decision process helps me weed the list. I ended up with a pile of rejects almost as large as the keepers. I just be honest with myself and decide if this is a book I really need/desire to read.
    I did the typed list for awhile but found it too cumbersome. My current system works for me. In part because the majority of pieces of paper are either full reviews or brief write-ups so I can reread and re-think to help in my decision. The list method didn’t do this for me and I would have to go online to find the review. Having it right there, right then is faster and more satisfying for me. The simple fiction/non-fiction sort helps because I usually am reading two books- one fiction, one non.
    Like you, a new book occasionally comes to my attention as a “must read now”. And I always look over the new book shelves every library visit.
    When I was working at the library, I recall a couple of women who came in with a pile of 3×5 index cards. Each card has one book title with a brief note about the book and source of recommendation. They would shuffle through these walking up and down the stacks to find their books. I still think this is a pretty nifty, low-tech solution. I may switch to this method …. when I get old!

    1. Andrea Sigetich Post author

      Oh my, these are all so cool! One thing I really like is the idea of keeping the reviews and synopses with the recommendation, though I find it pretty easy to go on-line when I am am looking for new books to transfer to me “request” list at the library. (BTW, when I select a book I put it on my request list and then often put it on hold. This works unless I am the only one requesting the book .. you can’t stop a request when you are the only one on it! And that’s okay, too. It introduces a bit of randomness.) I hardly ever wander the library anymore — it just adds to the list! Except for the “hot titles.” If i have time, I will grab one of those.
      Leslie, I like your strategy of perusing the shelf of unread books. Nice and tangible! Though I have stopped buying books, which makes this impractical. Now it is a digital wandering.

      Thanks for sharing!!! I think I will do a year-end purge and reorganize!

  4. Charlene

    My high tech way of saving the books I want to read is in a good old Word document . As you said, most of them have been on the list a long time and probably will never read. When I get a recommendation for a book from someone I put their name by the title, e.g. Being Mortal – referred by Greg.

    I don’t have a specific way of deciding what book to read next. It depends on my mood at the moment, do I feel like fiction (90% of the time), airplane book, detective book, etc.

  5. David

    I don’t have an organized method of tracking books I want to read, but I’m going to adapt my mechanism for tracking books I have read. I’m a technoid propeller-head; I use HanDBase, a simple (but relational, if you want it) database that is very easy to set up the way you want it, and it works and syncs on my PC, my iPhone and my iPad. I’m a big fan of Tom Clancy, Lee Child, C.G.Cooper, Jeffrey Deaver, Vince Flynn, Ken Follett, W.E.B. Griffin, Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan (the Wheel of Time series), Alex Lukeman, James Patterson. This list is in alpha order because the database keeps it that way.

    Books to recommend:
    The Food Lab (Kenji Lopez-Alt): this book changed the way I cook, as it did for two friends who are both excellent cooks.
    Guns, Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond)
    god Is Not Great (Christopher Hitchins; not the lower-case ‘g’)
    The Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan): if you started this and gave up on book 7, pick it up again. It’s finished now, and 14 volumes; the last three written by a close friend of Jordan. Robert Jordan had the bad grace to kick off before finishing the series, but the last three books are perhaps even better than the first 11.

    1. Andrea Sigetich Post author

      This comment is from my brother David. You can guess this because his email address is “dsigetich” and no one would voluntarily sign up for an e-mail address with “sigetich” in it unless it had very special meaning to you. He IS truly a geek AND you can see where some of my own reading likes have come from … my bog brother!!

      Hope your holidays are peaceful and joyful …