Keeping Track: Reading Lists, Spreadsheets, and More
If there is anything I love, then it’s data visualisation. There is just something so incredibly pleasing about seeing lists and graphs and tables. I barely keep track of things in real life (for example, I only occasionally actually open my planner to write appointments in there…) but when it concerns my entertainment, I’m a dedicated tracker.
I started to list the books I read, and when I read them, in 2011. I started with a simple Word document, and with every passing year, the system got more elaborate, until I made the switch to spreadsheets. It was a bit frustrating at first, but with a lot of Googling and adapting some of the advice of Crini’s wonderful speadsheet blog series, I started to appreciate Excel more. I keep track of books I read, author, author gender (out of curiosity – I read an almost equal split), amount of pages, genre, age category, and rating. I’ve considered adding more columns, but then I’d have to add all that info for over 500 books in my spreadsheet… and that’s a scary amount of data. My favourite part is the overview, where I keep track of yearly and lifetime goals.
It’s incredibly satisfying to see the pie charts fill up with blue (“read”), and even though the lifetime page goal is still so far off at one million, I still really enjoy looking at the stats. I haven’t finished adding my books from 2012 and 2011, which is a project I’m keeping for a rainy day.
The cool thing about spreadsheets is that it can calculate all sorts of things for you, so I keep track, for example, of the dispersion of genres and age categories of books I’ve read in any given year. (Excuse the random mixture of Dutch and English words, that’s what you get when you’re bilingual.)
The statistics on the right are from 2014 – so I read 27 graphic novels, which made up 18% of my reading that year. I especially found the middle grade/young adult/adult breakdown interesting, because I am sometimes seen as a “YA blogger” (whatever that might mean) even though I predominantly read adult fiction.
In 2014 I did especially well on the reviewing front, reviewing an overwhelming 89% of all the books I read. I don’t even know how I managed that in retrospect, but it’s definitely something to be proud of, right?
Inspired by my book tracking, I recently also started tracking the TV shows I’m watching:
The top lists the seasons, and the green fills up as I finish watching an entire season. So if you ever wonder why I watch that much Netflix – well, I just really like seeing all the green.
Apart from these, I also love making smaller lists. Lists of books I want to read soon, lists of books I want to buy, lists of TV shows I want to watch, lists about the lists I still have to make… okay, I’m kidding about that last one.
Do you keep track of your reading?