Organizing Your Reading List

If you are a complete bibliophile and have more books on your To Be Read List than you could sanely ever expect to read, then I have a suggestion on how to organize your list.

Everyone has a way. Some have an ongoing list in the planners, on their phones, or in a notebook. Others are more laid back and pick up whatever book catches their eye. Some people, like me, like to use Microsoft Excel or Access to organize our lists.

I use Excel. I understand the benefits that come with Access, but I was defeated by that program during a core class for my Bachelor’s degree. My professor even had trouble using Access and she was supposed to be teaching us how to use it!

My columns are: Date Read, Author, and Title, #of Pages, Subject 1, Subject 2, and Review.

My list is organized in two ways: (1) Date Read and (2) alphabetical by author name. By having the Date Read information as the initial sort factor, it puts all the books I’ve read at the top of the list. That allows all my To Be Read titles to all be at the bottom. It also allows for the To Be Read titles to be listed in the ordered in which they were added.

Reading List Headings

Author and title columns are self-explanatory. The # of Pages column is used two different ways. The actual number of pages of the book are in this column once I’ve actually read the book. If I haven’t read the book yet, the column has either the call number for the book if it is available in the library I work at or is tagged ILL so I know to Inter-Library Loan it from another library.

Subject 1 and Subject 2 columns are quick reminders for me to note in a few words what a book is about: Jane Austen, writing, cooking, murder mystery series, etc.

The Review column is where I jot a quick 2-6 word review of the book, usually Recommended, Eh, LOVED IT!, and sometimes a 6 word summary.

Well, that’s how I organize my reading list. I have a friend who built a database for her books in Microsoft Access and it was comparable to a real library catalog. Unfortunately, something happened and she lost the entire thing.

As of this posting, here are some stats:

Total # of titles on the list: 2038

Total # of titles marked as Read: 394 (I’m pretty sure I’ve read more books than this, but I only started keeping track 5 years ago.)

Total # of TO BE READ titles: 1644

End of Reading List

© Cori Large January 1, 2015

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13 Responses to Organizing Your Reading List

  1. T Austin says:

    Wow – you have impressed me! You are super organized indeed! I am happy that I finally got a kindle so I don’t have a mountain of books to store anymore. It makes it fairly easy to organize and revisit titles I have without having to haul a bunch around!

  2. Great idea- I just use GoodReads, but this is a great way to have a paper copy!

  3. Kara Benz says:

    I’m so impressed with your dedication and organization! I keep a running list on GoodReads but thats about as far as I’ve gotten lol

  4. momwithfive says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow, you are so organized! I use GoodReads to keep track of my books. I can organize them by category that way too. I’ll go through my to-read list and just browse if I’m looking for something to read. And I thought I was bad with 150 books on my to-read list, lol!

  6. HOLY COW, you are definitely a reader!! I’m totally impressed with your list! I almost feel like I have no place to comment because I’m not a book reader (agh, I feel judged already).

    I feel you on the Access part. That program can be complicated to use at times right?! Stick with Excel, lol.

  7. Asheli says:

    This is awesome that is SOME organization!

  8. Cool. I read like crazy, but just organize with an app.

  9. Becki S says:

    I’m officially inspired to start organizing all the books I’ve read! Thanks for sharing these tips =)

  10. I tend to do this – often, buy a bunch of books with the good intentions of reading and then never get to the.then I completely binge read until I catch up.

    • caendicott says:

      I used to buy books all the time and they’d just sit on my shelf unread. Then I realized how much money I was spending and started using my library. It has saved me so much money!

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