I, like my daughter who possibly learned it from me, have always liked to make lists. Earlier in my marriage, I would make a list every weekend of the things that I would need to do. As I got older, I started making fewer lists but whenever I felt overwhelmed either at home or at work, making a list would consistently relieve my anxious feelings. It was as if just putting it down on paper somehow made all those things that much more manageable; like creating a border around the tasks.
Once I retired in 2017, I made several lists of things that I would want and need to do since I would now have the extra time. If you have followed my blog since that time, you know I have made some great progress on those lists and maybe it has motivated you to get some things off your own list. But this story is about a totally different kind of list.
I have written before that I love to read but that I am not a very fast reader. As a result, I don’t tend to read that many books even though I read every day. It was reading my daughter’s blog post in December 2012 about the best books she had read that year that prompted me to start keeping a list of the books I read (which obviously gave me the idea for my own best books post each year). If you are interested in seeing some of her lists, you can check them out at Krugthethinker.com because I must say she is a real professional list maker!
In thinking back about this, I don’t think it was mere coincidence that I started keeping a list of books I had read the same year I started my blog—2013—since it gave me another topic to write about. So, I feel I must credit my daughter for me taking this initiative as well. Thank you!
As I said, I am not a fast reader but when I add up all the books that I have read in the six and three quarters years that I have been keeping a list, it totals up to 286. Not a bad showing for a slow reader.
Obviously, my list comes in handy when I am writing my annual best of books post since I can easily scan down the list and judge what I considered to be the best of the books I had read. Seeing them all on a single list significantly aids measuring one book against another.
Another benefit of these lists is that I can go back and check to see if I have read a certain book (my wife who reads significantly more books than me sometimes has this problem).
In looking back over these lists, I often enjoy reading the titles of some of the books I truly loved, recalling many of the pleasurable hours I spent reading a certain book. And while I don’t often re-read a book that I have previously read, this is where I would go if I ever ran out of new books to read.
Speaking of which I have been keeping a list of books I want to read even longer. I began to read e-books in 2009 and have mostly read on a Kindle devise or Kindle app since then. Sometime after that I began to add books to my Amazon wish list that I wanted to purchase and read as I found out about them. I referred to this as my “Books in Waiting” of which I wrote a post about many years ago.
Of the books that I read, I split almost evenly between fiction (~45%) and non-fiction (~55%). I enjoy learning about historical events, places, buildings, and things and so have centered on mostly historical non-fiction. For fiction, I have a few authors I routinely read about everything they write but then run across additional new authors based on recommendations from a family member or one of the daily BookBub notifications I receive that sounds interesting (if you are not familiar with BookBub, it notifies you of e-books that have been discounted, often times just for that day only).
Just like it is always satisfying to line through a task on your list once it is completed, I must admit that I get a sense of accomplishment when I add another book title to my list of books read. So, it is a little bit of reverse logic that rather than making a list of things to do shorter by striking them off, I feel a sense of achievement making my book list grow longer.
So to my fellow list makers out there (and you can consider yourself hard core like me if you add something to a list that you just accomplished but forgot to originally write down just so you can line through it!), do you keep a list of the books you read? If not, you might want to consider it because it can be another pleasurable list-making activity. Almost a twofer—enjoying reading a book and adding it to your list.