Monday, July 21, 2014

Organizing My Reading Life #GetOrganized

I have lots of books - read, unread, borrowed, review and bought - and I need to be organized. I crave organization! As of July 14, I had 5375 books. 

In 2008 I took part in a program for Minnesota Librarians called 23 Things on a Stick. It was designed to teach about useful web 2.0 tools. One of the tools that I learned, embraced, and still use today is LibraryThing

When a book comes in my door or downloads to my Kindle, the first thing I do is enter it into my LibraryThing account. I have set up a bunch of useful tags and collections. I like that I can have a book in multiple collections. It makes it so easy to find books. New books go into 2014, July, New This Week, My Library, To Read.

Review books go into my Review-Pending collection too. Kindle books go into my Kindle collection. Common tags for me are TBR, Review, YA, Kindle, and the genres of the book. I am currently using 224 different tags. One bad thing about LibraryThing is that it doesn't give you a list of the tags you are already using when you tag a new book. I'd like to have a list to choose from. 

For ARC review books, I don't put them in My Library collection but in a collection named Read But Not Owned. That is where books I borrow go too. In the Comments section for each review book, I put the date the book will be released in this format year/month/day. 

I also post copies of my reviews in LibraryThing. I usually write the review in my blog and then copy it to LibraryThing, GoodReads, and Amazon. In the Comments section, I put spoilery thoughts about the book to help me remember what the book was like. 

When I plan to read a book, I put it in the Currently Reading collection. To see which review books need to be read next, I open my Review-Pending collection and sort the comments section. Then I have a list of books in order of release date. Otherwise, I can choose a book to read by going to my To Read collection or my physical shelves and browsing. I can sort LibraryThing by date added or look for a certain tag within the collection. 

After I have finished a book, I put it in the Read Last Week collection. I take it out of the Currently Reading Collection and adjust the tags. I am always glad to remove TBR from the tags! Currently (July 14) I have 2067 books with that tag! I use those two collections when I am creating my weekly Stacking the Shelves posts and when I am creating my weekly It's Monday! What Are You Reading? post. All the pictures of book covers in those posts come from screenshots taken from collections. 

The one feature of LibraryThing that I don't take much advantage of is Groups. I know that there are many active communities of readers there but I'm not a big social networker. I don't really want to spend a lot of time talking about books; I'd rather be reading them.

Of course, I'm also a big fan of Google. I keep spreadsheets of Review Books, a Reading Log, and a list of books I donate. I have begun using Google Calendar to schedule my blog posts. I haven't given up my paper calendars though. 

How do you organize your books and your reading life?


  1. Wow impressive!!!! I used LIbrarything for classroom library, just so I could remember what I had and it allowed the students to go there and search through the books. I tagged them etc for their use.

  2. Ii use Goodreads in a similar way though I'm not quite as organised as you. I have a library thing account too but it's a secondary resource for me.

  3. I like your organization. I use Goodreads to keep track of what I need to read soon, but I really should get my LT more organized. I agree with your about the tagging there. I also tag subject and location so I have a LOT of tags. And when there are variations, like sci fi, scifi, or sic-fi, and I can't remember what I used, that really complicates things. Sometimes I open a tab with my tags when entering a book, just so I can see what I've done in the past!


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