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