TSS: Track your reading!
Happy Sunday, readers! Life around these parts has been insanely busy and stress-tacular, and it’s not looking likely to improve for the next few months, so my apologies for the lateness of this post. It was meant to go up on New Year’s, and then last Sunday, and I’m only finally getting my act together now… but better late than never, eh?
As part of my New Year’s 2011 in review post, I put up a bunch of stats about my last year’s reading, and a graph of my reading habits over time. If you want to make pretty graphs and calculate stats of your own, you can download my reading tracking spreadsheet. This is substantially updated from the versions I’ve done in previous years. Each year is now on its own tab, with a "yearly comparison" tab to get a look at your reading habits over time.
The basic operation is easy – you enter information about the books you finish in the columns with blue headings, plus your reading and page count goals in the blue-highlighted cells at the top. The first few columns will be familiar to anybody who has used previous versions of the sheet – you enter the title, author, date finished, page count, and/or audiobook time – and the spreadsheet will calculate your yearly totals and daily averages. The dates and page totals will light up green if you’re ahead of the pace needed to meet your goal, red if you’re behind, and black if you’re right on target. The spreadsheet will use this information to generate the reading and page number graphs. If that’s all you’re interested in, you can stop here; all of the rest of the columns are totally optional.
The next four columns are used for tracking binary information about books – things that can be answered with a yes/no, male/female, etc. I’ve got it set up to track the author’s gender, and whether or not a book was an audiobook, graphic novel, or young adult. You can use these, or you can change them to some other yes/no question you’re interested in (whether a book was read as part of a challenge, etc.).
There are also three columns that can keep track of a number of categories: genre, TBR status, and "where did it come from?". These columns use 2-3 letter codes, so that for genre, I’ve got F = fantasy, SF = science fiction, M = mystery, etc.; TBR status is T = from the TBR pile, NO = not owned, A = audiobook, and E = E-book; locations are NBS = new book store, UBS = used book store, etc. You can break these down however you want to keep track of them; whatever categories and abbreviations you choose, the spreadsheet will tally them as long as you change them at the top of the year’s sheet (rows 1-8), and in column C on the Yearly Comparison sheet. You could also change these columns to keep track of other information that comes in multiple categories (i.e. author nationality).
The rest of the columns should be fairly straightforward: year published, date you acquired a book (and consequently how long it’s been sitting on your TBR pile), price paid, and rating (which I do on a 5-point scale, but which could easily be adjustable for a 10-point one), and whether or not it’s your first time reading an author’s work. It will also calculate how many authors you’ve read in a given year, but be careful: it looks at the exact spelling of an author’s name, so it will treat J. R. R. Tolkien and JRR Tolkien as two different people.
And I think that’s it! As always, I’d love to hear if and how you’re using the spreadsheet, and if you have any problems with it, or ideas for the next version, let me know!
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