Jenny Wells: How to keep track of the books you’ve read | TheUnion.com

Jenny Wells: How to keep track of the books you’ve read

Jenny Wells
Columnist

If there is one problem I wish I could solve for my customers at Jenny's Paper & Ink Books, it would be to help them easily remember what they've already read.

Every day, I hear customers question whether they've read a book yet or not. I sell a lot of popular fiction series by authors that have written multiple titles and it's easy to be unsure!

I recommend trying to keep a list. I have a few ideas to offer, first with paper and ink and then digitally. The key is keeping it simple, especially so it's easy to remember to bring the list to your favorite place to buy books.

For paper & ink users

Choose a simple notebook just for your book lists. Visiting a bookstore to find what you know you want can be overwhelming. It's a bit like going grocery shopping and needing to find 20 items in a store that carries 10,000 items.

Paper & Ink Books carries 20,000 titles. Thankfully, I know my stock really well and am always eager to help you find what you're looking for. But a separate place to keep a list just like you would a grocery list can make it much easier for you.

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I recommend having a bag that is only for taking to the bookstore and leaving your list in there. When you come home and take your books inside to unload, your list will be where you can edit it (or edit while you shop) and when you're done, stick it back in the bag.

If you visit a bookstore like mine, where you can trade books for store credit, put those books in there, too, as you finish reading them (and maybe even a pair of reading glasses). Then your bag will be ready to grab when you come for a visit and everything will be in one place.

If you're used to typing your lists in a spreadsheet, do the same for books. I'm so impressed by the spreadsheet lists some of you bring with you.

For app users

Because more and more of us have our phones with us all the time, keeping your booklists on an app is an easy option once you get used to it. Goodreads and Litsy are both apps you can download onto a smartphone.

I have more familiarity with Goodreads, but if you're interested in connecting with an online community of readers, I have heard that Litsy is a great option.

Goodreads is connected to Amazon and therefore has a strong search engine which can be very helpful when there are so many books in the world. I use their three basic shelves to keep track of my books: Want to Read, Currently Reading, and What I Have Read, but the options for shelves are unlimited.

For example, you could make an "Unfinished" shelf when you abandon a read or "My Favorite Mystery Authors." Goodreads provides a five star rating system to help you remember which books and authors you've liked or not enjoyed.

I like being able to sort my books, which are in the several hundred by now, by my rating and the date I finished them. There are other options for sorting as well.

For example, you can sort by author to help you know which books of an author's you haven't read. Keeping your book list on your phone that you already always have with you can really help.

If you would like some help with setting up your library on your smartphone, do ask me the next time you stop by Paper & Ink Books.

Jenny's Paper & Ink Books is located at 134 Joerschke Drive in Grass Valley where the majority of the books are gently used paperbacks, including Bestsellers and New Releases. Choices at Paper & Ink include Romance, Westerns, Mysteries, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Suspense and Thrillers, Nonfiction, Classics, and Children's. Visit http://www.paperandinkbooks.com for more information.