Welcome readers of The Australian Bookshelf! This is the first of a series of guest blogs that will become a regular feature each Wednesday, hence: Guest Blog Wednesdays. Guest blogging is a great way to network, share readers and knowledge. This weeks guest blogger Perry Gamsby gives us the low down on how to keep track of everything you read.
Read And Remember – Why A Reading List Is Such A Good Idea
Most writers are serious about their writing, they are also just as serious about their reading. I have yet to meet a writer who is not also an avid reader. In years past it was quite common for readers and especially writers, to maintain a Reading List. This was a list of everything the person read that year and included the author, title, comments and any other details the reader felt was relevant.
I wish I had kept a list since I started reading even before I started school. I used to read Ladybird Books, Enid Blyton and anything I could get my hands on, to be honest. Over the years since then (some 45 or so at least) I have lost count of how many books I have read but it would easily be in the hundreds, I would hazard a guess the thousands, also. If I averaged it out at 50 a year (less than one a week), in 45 years that makes it 2,250. What have I done with all the words? They have to be still tripping over themselves in my head somewhere.
I have kept a Reading List faithfully since January 2009 and whenever I recall a book I read prior to that, I include it. Amazon.com is a great place to while away a few hours finding books you have read to add to your list but for now I haven’t the time so I just add a title as I remember. I do keep a faithful record of every book I read now, though. I list it in an Excel spreadsheet with Author, title, comments and month read as the column headings and keep a copy on my website which I refresh every now and then as I remember.
It is a great pleasure to look back over the books read in the previous year and enjoy all over again the pleasure experienced when reading the book itself. I try to read a classic work of literature followed by something more contemporary to get a little variety but sometimes, as my record reminds me, I have binges where I will read several books by the same author until I make an entry like ‘a bit formulaic’. A kind of literary version of the act of observing affecting the thing observed I suppose.
I do read a lot online but I don’t include web sites or blogs, just books. I don’t include short stories, such as those I feature on my Dangerous Ideas writer’s web site but I do include collections of short stories, whether read in hardcopy or electronically. I do include the eBooks I read as I see these as complete books and not articles, magazine stories or web sites. I can envisage the day when I read everything off my Kindle
Start your own Reading List. Do it now, back date a few recent volumes you can recall to give it some weight and don’t forget to add every new book as you finish it. I also include any I only half read or can’t bare to finish but I do annotate this so I know to one day return to it if I really feel it is necessary. However you set out and use your List, it is your list to do as you please with but I am sure that in time you will value it as much as I value mine.
Perry Gamsby, MA(Writing), is a writer, publisher and lecturer who is passionate about helping other writers get read, especially as eWriters and print on demand self publishing. http://perrygamsby.net
If you would like to feature on The Australian Bookshelf as a guest blogger, then follow my blog (and i will follow yours) and send me your details with a potential topic. I welcome authors, readers, bloggers and writers from all backgrounds! I am also open to a guest blog exchange to return the favour- Jayne.