November 9th, 2006

I have this book database that my husband built for me, more or less to my exact specs. It’s supposed to help me track what I’m reading. And it doesn’t work for me. I never get around to entering the books. I thought it would be so cool to be able to query the database : books read in 2005, or YA Novels read, or books with review URLS, or books by author x. And it would be cool, but it doesn’t work unless I enter the data, and I’ve proved unwilling to go to the trouble. For a time I thought LibraryThing might help me with this (I tag books with the year I read them if it’s this year or last) but considering the huge numbers of things I borrow from friends and the library, and how little progress I’ve made entering my books on LibraryThing, that’s just not accurate enough.

Sooooo, I’ve been trying to come up with an alternate mechanism for recording what I read year to year. I have noticed on several blogs I read that people often enter this information right in their blog, and some have separate blogs for handling their reading material. I think I’m going to start noting my reads here. It’s searchable, after all, and although I can’t query it the way I could a database (how many x in y), I may be more likely to note it here, which is the bigger problem at the moment. I can keep a running tab year to year pretty easily by placing a bracketed number next to the title. I can even dump the database info for 2004, 2005 and 2006 (such as it is) into a few posts and have the complete record here (don’t hold your breath for that, though). The only problem I can see is procrastinating on entering the book because I plan to review it. I’m simply not going to review everything I read. To ensure there’s minimal correlation between noting what I’ve read and what I intend to review, I’ve created a separate category, called Book List, for the notation of books I’ve read, and a template to use in those entries. It should be short and sweet, just an overview with the pertinent facts and whatever interesting notes I feel like jotting down. Reviews will still come under the Entertainment category, as usual. I also hope I can use this method to keep better track of the fiction I read online, which is proving an increasing portion of my reading material, though since most of that is individual short stories, I’m not sure how I’m going to count that yet. There may be stuff that is less sensical or less for public consumption than usual in these entries, not because any of my thoughts are so private, but because a lot of my thoughts about things I read are so mundane and so scattered, but if you put up with the dream entries, surely, you can put up with my semi-coherent ramblings about stuff I read. Also, like the dream entries, they will be category noted, and you can just skip stuff in that category as it arrives.

As the first entry in the Book List category, I feel I should note what I’ve read, and I’m not going to start at the beginning of 2006, I’m going to start at the beginning of the week. Such is life.

A stir of bones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. (best guess 23) [YA]. I checked this book out of the library. I finished it on 11/04/06. I really liked this book a lot, and plan to read the others of the series (this one’s a prequel, written after the others). This is a book that Marlee should read, if I can remember to recommend it to her when I see her. I very much enjoyed Hoffman’s story in Flights, which to the best of my knowledge is the only other thing I’ve read by her. I was immersed for about nineteen pages before the editor in my head dropped by and said “Whoa, that was an ugly sentence.” This usually happens way sooner, and that thought was immediately followed by, “But every one that came before this one was gorgeous, so let’s give a little slack, shall we?” She really does write beautifully. Something about the story felt quite familiar, and I checked the copyright date more than once to be sure I hadn’t read it before, and I can’t have.

Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin. (best guess 24) [YA]. I checked this book out of the library. I finished it on 11/08/06. I never read this book when it first came out, so I only had memories of the first three books of the series. This is a wonderful book, but brutal too. I had moments where I thought it was not really YA. Also, I think Le Guin is just about the only author I can tolerate preachiness from. I’m sure I will read this again so maybe I should buy it (along with the other Earthsea books!).

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