March 14, 2020

How I Keep My Reading Organized

Every reader is different. Some just read whatever they want and don't have a defined TBR list. Some use just Goodreads or a physical list (or just consider their TBR shelf/stack the list). Others use Goodreads, a spreadsheet, and a reading planner to organize their reading habits.

I am solidly in that last category. And, for funsies, I'm going to break down how I use each one.


I've used Goodreads the longest to track things. I joined in May 2013, which feels like EONS ago. I keep the standard read, currently reading, and want to read shelves, plus I have a DNF category. Then I have a bunch of sub-shelves. Everything from specific wishlists (ARCs, specific classics editions, hardcovers) to a favorites shelf, shelves for my ARCs and e-galleys to (currently) six specific TBR shelves. 

(Literally had to zoom out to fit all these shelves in one screenshot.)

I started breaking my TBR down a bit a few years ago (I want to say in 2015 or 2016) because I was adding so many unpublished books that it felt a tad overwhelming and like I wasn't really reducing the list any whenever I read a book. So I have to-read-released, three to-read-unreleased by year (2020, 2021, 2022 at the moment), to-read-unreleased-unknown (if it's a book that was announced but had no known pub date or has been pushed back so far that it's kind of up in the air), and one specifically for the classics I need to read.

I try to mark a book as currently reading as soon as I can, so the start/end dates are accurate. But occasionally I forget to mark one as finished, so that's where my next two tracking methods come in.


Yeah, there are technically multiple ones, if we consider I have one for current reading (with separate pages this year for new-to-me books and rereads) and one for my to-be-read lists. Even though I also have Goodreads to help manage all my TBRs. I like lists.

I've been doing reading spreadsheets since 2014 actually, but they've gotten more refined as time goes on. This year is the first time I'm doing separate pages for new reads and rereads. 

Here's a snippet of 2019's!

You can see I list title, author, length, rating, genre, publisher, and dates read. The two columns between are asking if it's a book for review and if it's a new-to-me book. The highlighted purple rows are a first-time reread for the year; the turquoise one is a second-time reread in 2019. The spreadsheet for 2020 looks a little different; the first page has no colors, but the rereads page does. Right now it's all solidly one color, as I've had no time to reread a book more than once yet, lol. But that could change come this summer. :)

Then my TBR spreadsheet has three pages: released, unreleased 2020, and released but not on GR shelf. That last one is a weird quirk of mine. I have a bunch of memoirs and cozy mysteries and other books I've found that I'm interested in, but I don't include them on my usual Goodreads TBR. Most of them are ones that have been hard to find at my library, so I'm not sure I'll be able to read them. Several I might read a few pages of, then DNF, so I figure they're not worth having on Goodreads. The columns are the same across this spreadsheet: title, author, pub date (month, date, and year for unreleased titles; just year for already published stuff that I add to my TBR), genre, publisher, and the date I added it to my TBR.

Finally, the one for all the books I own is extensive. It has multiple pages based on categories (YA, middle grade, classics, Christian fic, adult fic, ARCs, and some books that are in boxes in my closet). I use this to help me track if I actually want to keep a book (if I haven't read or reread it recently enough, it might not be worth saving shelf space for), a book's edition, and its format. This one is also sorted alphabetically by author's last name (how I shelve my books too), so it makes things easy to find

Owlcrate Planner

My most recent reading tracking device! I got one in my December 2018 box and decided to try it. I'm fully hooked now. 

It functions pretty much like my spreadsheets and Goodreads, except it's on paper, which is nice for when I'm traveling without my laptop. Also it gives me a place to occasionally write a short review of books I'm not actually reviewing for my blog, and it's kind of nice to have a loose monthly TBR (though I often read books outside of it, and don't always get to the ones I listed).

So how do YOU organize your reading?

1 comment:

  1. Your spreadsheet looks so beautiful, haha I'm totally obsessed with organization as well! I also love your planner, seems like a cool idea :).

    I don't really keep track of reading myself; I tried using a journal but eventually got tired of writing everything out by hand. And I haven't been reading enough this year to use a spreadsheet, LOL.


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