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Keeping track of your reading on the web

30 May 2009

I enjoy reading, and try to keep track of books I’ve read or am reading, if only to prevent my taking books out of the library that I’ve already read, or, even worse, buying books in bookshops that I already own.

There are quite a lot of web sites that claim to help you do that, but I’ve recently discovered one that seems to do it better than most, and that is Good Reads.

Others I’ve tried are LibraryThing, and Bibliophil, and one that I’ve used to show books I’m reading now on my blog is AllConsuming.

For current reading, Good Reads seems to do better than AllConsuming, and for other things it seems to do better than both Bibliophil and Library thing, both of which have a rather clunky user interface, and are a bit slow to load.There are also various book “apps” linked to Facebook, most of which seem even more clunky, and not worth bothering about.

As well as having a smoother interfact, however, Good Reads seems to have one featurwe the others lack. AllConsuming lets you keep track of books you have read, but not books in your library. Bibliophil and Library thing let you keep a catalogue of books in your library, but are not so good at keeping track of reading, for example books from other libraries that you don’t own.

Good Reads seems to manage to do all three. It shows books you are currently reading on your blog (not this one — WordPress doesn’t handle Javascript too well, but you can see it on my Notes from Underground blog). It also allows you to register books in your own library. And you can also show books you have read from other libraries. It does this through “shelves” — you can have a current reading shelf, a shelf for your own library, and shelves for other libraries you use.

I haven’t been using GoodReads very long, and perhaps there are disadvantages I have yet to discover, but so far I’ve been impressed.

It has various discussion groups, and ways of linking to “friends”, which some of the others have as well, but on GoodReads they seem to work better.

I had a look at one of the discussion groups — a challenge to read 100 books a year.

I checked my own records, and dound I have read 45 books over the last year, so I have a long way to go to match that. And I’m sure if I tried to I’d have no time to do anything else.

For what it’s worth, here are the books I read in the last year:

  • Bradby, Tom 2005. The god of chaos.
  • Edwardson, Ake 2008. Frozen tracks.
  • Flynn, Michael 2003. In the country of the blind.
  • Gaiman, Neil 1997. Neverwhere.
  • George, Elizabeth 2008. Careless in red.
  • Gerrard, Nicci 2007. The moment you were gone.
  • Green, Michael Cawood 2008. For the sake of silence.
  • Guterson, David 1995. Snow falling on cedars.
  • Hutton, Ronald 1987. The Restoration: a political and religious history of England and Wales 1658-1667.
  • Hutton, Ronald 2001. The triumph of the moon: a history of modern pagan witchcraft.
  • Huxley, Aldous 1932. Antic hay.
  • Jackman, Stuart 1973. The Davidson affair.
  • James, P.D. 2008. The private patient.
  • Kellerman, Jesse 2008. The brutal art.
  • Kelly, Jim 2006. The moon tunnel.
  • King, Stephen 2008. Just after sunset.
  • Langhan, Sarah 2006. The keeper.
  • La Plante, Lynda 1997. Trial and retribution.
  • Larsson, Stieg 2008. The girl with the dragon tattoo.
  • Leighton, Isabel (ed) 1964 [1949]. The aspirin age.
  • Levitt, Steven D.; Dubner, Stephen J. 2007. Freakonomics.
  • Maitland, Barry 2000. Silvermeadow.
  • Mankell, Henning 2003. The man who smiled.
  • Mankell, Henning 2004. One step behind.
  • McLaren, Brian D. 2004. A generous orthodoxy.
  • Nesbo, Jo 2009. The redeemer.
  • Potgieter, De Wet 2007. Totale aanslag: apartheid se vuil truuks onthul.
  • Rankin, Ian 2006 [1993]. Witch hunt.
  • Rayne, Sarah 2004. Tower of silence.
  • Rickman, Phil 2008. The fabric of sin.
  • Rigbey, Elizabeth 2007. The hunting season.
  • Sayers, Dorothy L 1934. The nine tailors.
  • Smith, Martin Cruz 2007. Stalin’s ghost.
  • Smith, Tom Rob 2009. Child 44.
  • Spring, Michelle 1999. Nights in white satin.
  • Thomson, Cindy 2006. Brigid of Ireland.
  • Thoreau, Henry David 2004. Walden Civil disobedience.
  • Tracy, P.J. 2007. Snow blind.
  • Trapido, Barbara 2003. Frankie & Stankie.
  • van de Ruit 2005. Spud.
  • Walters, Minette 1998 [1993]. The ice house.
  • Walters, Minette 2006. The scold’s bridle The dark room.
  • Weisman, Francesca 2006. The shape of a stranger.
  • Woolf, Virginia 1965. A writer’s diary: being extracts from the diary of Virginia Woolf.
  • Zola, Emile 2007 [1890]. The beast within.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 May 2009 4:21 pm

    One site that wasn’t mentioned but that I’ve found good for tracking books is Shelfari.com.

  2. 31 May 2009 1:42 pm

    Yes, I think GoodReads may be the best of the bunch. I use it, and Bibliophil, and AllConsuming, and also Visual Bookshelf (on Facebook) – the latter because so many of my friends there also use it. Plus my own book blog, of course, on which I put longer reviews than I do elsewhere.

    GoodReads has a sidebar widget for blogs which I like rather better than the AllConsuming one, so I’m using that now, and it also has a link to Facebook. I shall probably continue to keep up-to-date with them all; I like the simple interface for Bibliophil and the ability to standardise authors into surname, firstname format, making the exported database easier to search; I like the fact that AllConsuming allows DVDs/films as well as books; and while Visual Bookshelf is my least favourite, I like the ‘social networking’ aspect since it connects to so many people. But overall, I think GoodReads is probably my favourite now.

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