Monay Musing – Reading Record


Do you keep track of what and/or how many books you read? How long have you been doing this? What’s your favorite tracking method, and why?If you don’t keep track, why not?


A long, long time ago (back in 1994) my friend K. and I began meeting to talk about the books we’d read.  She was a new mother at that time, and the outings provided a purpose for getting up and out of the house, something that isn’t always easy with a new baby in tow.  I bought a pretty, floral covered notebook and started recording the titles and authors of each book I read.  I would bring the book along when we met, and she sometimes copied down titles which I recommended.  She lamented about being unorganized, and unable to keep up with what she considered my prodigious reading.  I consoled her, reminding her the time would come (and far too quickly) when her baby would occupy far less of her time and she could read as much as she liked.

We continued meeting for about three or four years, and the notebook continued to collect my yearly lists of books.  (As well as some of K.’s daughters scribbles, which still adorn the frontispiece and are rather precious considering the girl is now a freshman in high school.)  It lasted a full ten years before it was filled up, and I’m not altogether sure whether that’s a sign of a lot of reading or not so much…anyway, it contains the titles and authors of almost 800 books read in that time period, so I suppose it isn’t too bad.

In 2005, another friend gifted me with another blank book, this one purchased in the gift shop of the Smithsonian on a trip we took to Washington DC.  Entitled “The Reading Woman’s Journal,” it includes reproductions of paintings featuring women reading, and quotations about the reading life.  For the past three years, I’ve been using it to list books read.  I use one page per month, listing the book title an author only.  I have no rating system, but I do note if its the second or third read of a particular book.  At the end of each year, I compile my own personal “top ten” list.

Sadly, K. and I don’t meet to talk books any longer…one of those things where friendship falls victim to time (or lack of) and circumstance.  But my habit of recording the books I’ve read remains, and it’s one I will keep. 

At least until I fill up another notebook.

How about you? Do you keep a record of the books you read?


5 thoughts on “Monay Musing – Reading Record

  1. I admire your organization! I have occasionally and haphazardly written down what I’m writing, sometimes in chronological order, other times alphabetically, but I never keep it up.

  2. What a lovely way to keep track! I have the blog now for reminding me what I’ve read, and that’s about it. But the blog is certainly a kind of super-notebook!

  3. Oh dear. No. I wish I were more like you (in several ways) but in this, I fail as well. I go about eagerly embracing, singing books. Then finding the next to embrace. My shelves are haphazard—all of them, everywhere.

    Elizabeth Strout was magnificent, Becca. I wish you could have been there.

  4. Yes, reading is great incentive for me to get up early in the morning. When I sleep in, which is very rare, I feel my morning is wasted. I enjoy hand-writing my thoughts on books into my notebook, and will continue to do so regardless of how much more electronic the society becomes.

  5. Not organised enough to record what I’ve read, I’m afraid, and over the past few years, I haven’t been reading prolifically enough to warrant it, anyway. At least with books, I’ll remember that I’ve read something, whereas with movies, I can find myself half-way through watching something when I realise I’ve seen it before – and still not be able to recall the ending! I like the idea of your notebook.

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