One of my favorite parts about reading is the notebook I keep. Perhaps this appeals to the OCD tendencies in me. In any case, it’s just plain fun!
One summer about 10 years ago I spent a week with my favorite Aunt E. One day I happened across a little notebook she kept of the titles of books she wanted to read or look up at the library. “What a wonderful idea!” I thought, and consequently went home and made my own.
At first I started out with a little spiral notebook, just like Aunt E’s. I filled the pages with all the titles I’d ever wanted to read, books that my favorite movies were based on, and books recommended to me by others. That wasn’t enough—hording book titles was getting too addictive, so I took an old encyclopedia off the shelf and looked up ‘Classic Literature’, picking out the titles of books that looked good to me. I went to the library and combed the shelves looking for titles, authors, and genres that screamed, READ ME! If I discovered a book I loved, I looked up all the titles by the same author and copied them down. In recent years, my collection has been added to by discoveries on LibriVox catalog, CBD catalog, and like-minded blogs. Needless to say, I have since graduated to a much larger Mead lined notebook.
I want to make note that although it is a lot of fun to add more exciting discoveries to my collection (every book is a new world!), I don’t collect titles just to collect titles. I want to pick and choose with care. Only the books that seem the most likely to interest me or be good for me. I don’t like to add “fluffy books”, just so I can anticipate hitting my 2,000th title mark.
I won’t get into how preoccupied I have sometimes gotten in the past over arranging my lists so precisely. Yes, I am a list-maker, list-lover, list-liver… If I’m not careful, this can take up a great deal of precious living, and I must remember there are other more important things to do. But I do alphabetize the authors in the back of the notebook to make my life easier. This aids me in finding a particular author already in my list, and keeps me from repeating titles. I also keep a separate notebook just for non-fiction, categorized by subjects.
I’ve also found that leaving a few empty lines of space below a series or list of books by a certain author (especially if you’re not sure you have a complete list) allows you to add more later as you find them. I’ve spent too many countless hours rearranging my lists because I didn’t have enough room when I discovered there were three more books to a series I was interested in.
After a book has been read, I like to check-mark it off in my notebook with the date I finished it. Once you have completed several books, this gives you feel-good sense of accomplishment.
Keeping a notebook like this has other benefits as well. I often use it as a reference book when I need to see what author wrote “Lois the Witch.” Or the complete series of the Miss Read books (which comes first, “Village Diary” or “Village Christmas”?)
It’s always a good thing to bring this book-friend along with me to the library or a used book sale, so that I can see which books of a particular series I already own at home. Sometimes I’ll come across a book I don’t necessarily want to buy, but looks interesting enough to check to see if the library has, so my notebook keeps me from over-buying. Then, too, if you are like me and live in an area where you have access to more than one public library, you can make note of which libraries have a certain book.
I realize that many people already keep a list of sorts online at goodreads, shelfari, or librarything which you can then practically access on your phone. This may suit you much better and if it’s up your alley, go for it! But I’m the old-fashioned hands-on type, who likes the feel of the pages turn, and likes to write down all the wonderful books I plan to read. Appeals to the list-maker in me, once again. I once tried an online list on Barnes and Noble, but just couldn’t get the same enjoyment out of it. I just felt like I was spending too many wasted hours in front of a computer. Besides, I couldn’t organize them the way I wanted to, and once I’d uploaded 500+ titles it took several minutes for it to load. They didn’t have all the titles I was interested in, and then they ended up erasing my account after a few years, so thank goodness I never depended on it! Though, what were to happen if I ever lost my precious Notebook at the library… years of effort forever gone… Shudder. Hmmm… maybe I should make a second back-up notebook…
Sharpen your pencils!