Logging TBRs and Book Reviews

Posted December 7, 2018 by Amber in Bookish Things / 15 Comments

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A couple weeks go, I spoke about taking notes in a book and how I keep track of quotes, et cetera.  Now that the year is winding to an end, I thought it was a good time to talk about reading logs and how we all keep track of the books we read and what we think about them.

There are a few different ways I personally keep rack of the books I’m reading and my haul.

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#1. My Blog

This first one should seem fairly obvious.  Since I’m a blogger, I do tend to post the reviews of every book I read on here, and I store my reviews in my archive – even the DNFs.  This is a personal choice – a lot of bloggers don’t review every single book on their blog.  There’s a few different reasons I choose to, but the main one is simply that this is my space, and I like to have everything all organized in one place.

My main archive is a whole different engine from the UBB Plugin I use to format my reviews, but for me, it’s worth it.  This archive allows me to put the books in my own virtual backend library, keeping track of my review average by genre, age group, publishing house, author, etc.  The front end is what you see – search ability by title, author, series, rating, genre, publisher, and review year.  There’s a whole lot of awesome to this system, and I wish that I knew more about CSS and general coding so I could manipulate it a little better on the front end.  Nonetheless, I really like this log both for its easy organizational abilities, search ability, and visual aesthetic.

#2. Goodreads

I believe a lot of people these days use Goodreads to keep track of book.  They keep track of their owned books, TBRs, review their books there, and talk about their reads in the forums.  Goodreads has become a buzzing center for book lovers, so it always surprises me when I talk to a passionate reader who hasn’t joined.

There are still a lot of things about Goodreads that drive me crazy.  For one – if you’re on the desktop version and don’t have an ad blocker enabled, it can be so ad-cluttered. Especially when it comes to TV and movie advertising – it takes over the entire background with mini auto-play ads in the sidebar  Oy.

On the other hand, a lot of people want to see half-stars, which I COMPLETELY understand.  Still, even without an overhaul, Goodreads runs a good site for book lovers.  If I were to recommend one way to keep track of your reading log, Goodreads would be it.

#3. LibraryThing

LibraryThing is conceptually similar to Goodreads, it’s a lot more technical.  I don’t know many people in the blogging community that use it, but as I discussed in my Top Ten Topics post, the technical data on it is fantastic.  I like the breakdowns of information in the Common Knowledge section for each book.  There’s search ability by character and it’s curated by the community, so if you’re reading a book and have noticed a setting or a character or any little piece, you can add it.

Using both LibraryThing and Goodreads is a little redundant, but for me, it’s worth it.  I win a book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers every month I enter.  I initially started using it as a digital cloud for the books I own after trying a bunch of different software.  Now, I participate annually in SantaThing (a Secret Santa book swap completely managed and curated by LibraryThing) and cross-post all my reviews there.

also use their “Will You Like This Book?” algorithm to test books on my TBR to decide whether they go in the immediate “Want to Read” list, or if they land on the “Low Priority” list.  And honestly?  It does a pretty good job for me, but it only works so well because I have so many books inputted into my personal library.

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#4. Reading Planners

The fourth and last method is a new one I’m trying next year, and to be honest, I’m not so sure about it?  Reading planners and book-specific journals are hugely popular within the bookstagram community, and I fell in love with the Novel Companion notebook by Little Inkling Designs.  It was this picture that hooked me:

How gorgeous is that?  I thought to myself – well, I can make something pretty like that!  Y’all, I have already messed up this planner.  I think I need to get myself some white-out and start fresh so it’s pretty, because the very first thing I tried to do was calligraphy (fail) and then I wrote “January 2018” (fail) and I want to have something aesthetically pleasing, otherwise what’s the point? Haha.

If I can get this one going to my satisfaction, I’ll share photos on here and on Instagram as well.  There are loads of bookish planner options beyond this one by Megan Easter – Stella’s Bookish Art has one, and usually the book boxes send something like that in their December boxes.

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How do you keep track of your book reviews?

Do you have a Goodreads account?

Do you keep a running TBR?
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15 responses to “Logging TBRs and Book Reviews

  1. I LOVE that little reading planner. As a planner obsessed person, I don’t know why I don’t have one yet? I have a Goodreads account, but you’re right — there are a lot of less than perfect features. Good luck with your reading planner! 🙂

    • Amber

      Thank you! If you’re a planner person, then definitely check out things like the Novel Companion! It’s fill in your own date so you can start anytime! 😊

  2. I mostly use the Goodreads way, but I also have my own Google sheets, and download (export) the goodreads stuff every now and then. Because I clearly remember how many books I read last year and the year before, but the funny thing is that the number goes down as time passes. I assume some of those books have been removed? Because otherwise, I have no idea. So I keep at least the titles read in my own lists 🙂

    • Amber

      An export is smart – I think that’s part of the reason I double-up between LibraryThing and Goodreads – I just don’t trust Goodreads? Sad but true.

  3. Oh that last reading planner looks SO pretty, I love it! <3 I mostly use Goodreads to keep track of everything I read and my blog for everything I review, though I sometimes forget to update my reviewing list haha. I haven't thought about getting any kind of planner, but you made me so curious now 😀

    • Amber

      I’m definitely going to try this one out and maybe in June do a “Checking in about that whole reading planner thing” post. I never used to be a planner person at all, but I started using one in the last couple years and now I’m hooked, so hopefully a reading planner will be a good fit? We’ll see!

  4. AJ

    Ugh wish i could be as organized as you! But thanks to this post, I won’t be having that much hard time. Thank you so much for this!

    • Amber

      Thank you AJ and thank you for swinging by! Sometimes I am organized to a fault, but if any of these things work out for you, that’s awesome!

  5. My main tracker is a spreadsheet where I list all the books, but I also keep them in my bullet journal and on Goodreads! LibraryThing sounds awesome I will have to check it out!!

    • Amber

      Calligraphy is one of those things that looks wicked easy, but never seems to come out right!

      LibraryThing is open to international readers! The one thing I didn’t mention is that it does cap your books at 200 if you don’t have a lifetime membership, but lifetime memberships are given away all the time for free – I got mine for downloading the app, and they just gave away a BUNCH in October to everyone who finished a simple scavenger hunt. Mine was so easy to get and I got it as soon as I signed up, so I often forget it doesn’t come by default. 🙂

  6. I love tracking my TBR and the books I read! I have a couple of spreadsheets that I’ve been using that I find are the best method for me, and I also bough the Always Fully Booked Planner (that I bought AFTER I had already bought my general 2019 planner, oops lol). I’m excited to see how you like using the Novel Companion! I’m thinking I probably should have ordered that instead of the planner but it was sold out at the time!

    • Amber

      The Novel Companion sells out REALLY fast. I think it was sold out again within a couple hours of me buying mine…. What do you you keep track of on your spreadsheets? Just the book title and author, or other information as well?