27 June 2016

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Help Needed & 4 Quick Reviews

A Plea for Help!

How organized are you? I'm okay when it comes to my ebooks (thank you, Calibre!), and I have a sort of system for my print books (at least I more or less know where things are and what I own). I keep all my audiobooks in a single folder, so I can always find them.

But here's where I'm a big fail: I haven't yet discovered a way to integrate the data for all my books--print, audio, ebook--in one easy-to-use place. Although the very thought of combining my three catalogs is daunting, to say the least, I'd love to try.

So my big question for the week is this: Do you have one single database for all your books in all media? And if so, what do you use? Are you a LibraryThing fan or do you use GoodReads? Do you have your own database in Excel (or similar)? Do you use your bullet journal? Maybe just a Word file? I really want to know, cause I need some help.

What I've Been Reading

review: Roses and Rot by Kat HowardKat Howard's Roses and Rot: Wow. This one pulled me in right from the start. It's about two sisters involved in the arts, one is a dancer and the other a writer. The plot focuses on love, family, competition, and a reminder that sometimes fairy tales are dark. I loved the writing (though a stronger copyeditor would have been nice), and I liked the way Howard tells the story -- poetic at times. The book is set in contemporary days, though there is definitely a magical  layer. I recommend it. (Saga Press, May 2016)

Review: The Dig by John PrestonJohn Preston's The Dig: This is a pretty quick read and very interestingly set up. There is a mysterious feel to the way the story is told, making you ask, Who are these people? It is set in 1939 Britain and based on true events. On the eve of war, a rich and important archaeological site, later named Sutton Hoo (after the estate), was found on a widow's farm in Suffolk. The discovery stirred up trouble, creating tensions within the family and building competition among scholars and museums. I read it in two short sittings and then looked up more information about the site and the artifacts. (Other Press, April 2016)

Review: Dating Tips for the Underemployed by Iris SmylesIris Smyles's Dating Tips for the Unemployed: This is next up on my list. I don't know if I'll get through it, but I'm intrigued. Set in contemporary New York, the book has been billed as part memoir, part novel and is supposed to focus on those between years when you're a full-fledged adult but not yet feeling settled. Apparently Smyles writes a lot about the difficulties of making true connections with others. The book is a collection of two dozen essays/short pieces; I'll let you know what I think. (Mariner, June 2016)

Review: I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain ReidIain Reid's I'm Thinking of Ending Things: Mr. BFR just finished this psychological thriller, which is getting a lot of buzz and starred reviews. He, however, was not quite taken with it. The good news is that he liked the writing style and thought a few parts were creepy. The bad news was that he wasn't as scared as the hype made him think he would be, and he thought the plot had pacing issues. In short, he was disappointed and felt let down by the ending. A glance at the reviews reveals this is one of those love it or hate books. Mr. BFR was more on the hate side. (Gallery/Scout, June 2016)


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 6/27/16, 6:56 AM  

Since you asked, I use LibraryThing, Goodreads, and my own lists at Google Docs. I have the greatest difficulty keeping up with ebooks, and I'm not crazy about reading them, so it's easy to see the books at home that I've read and those I need to read.

Good luck!


JoAnn 6/27/16, 8:07 AM  

Oh, to be more organized!! I use goodreads, but it isn't perfect. Most of my audio library is at audible and I neglected to add it when I joined years ago. I could also be better about labeling my 'to read' books... specify whether they are 'wish list' or 'owned'. I used to do that, but have gotten lazy. Sigh.

Heather Fargis 6/27/16, 8:16 AM  

Wow, that would be a great thing to have - a database with ALL my books in it. I bet that would take me months to compile. lol

I have all my books READ in journals, my blog, GoodReads, and spreadsheets. This is interesting, I will be thinking on this. How to get it all in one place...hm....

If you figure that out, let me know.

bermudaonion 6/27/16, 8:59 AM  

I keep a spreadsheet in Google Docs and also use LibraryThing and Goodreads but, to be honest, I don't think any of them is completely accurate.

Jenn's Bookshelves 6/27/16, 9:06 AM  

I used to keep a spreadsheet but would always forget to update it. So, I use absolutely nothing now (other than my Google calendar to schedule reviews). It's actually quite freeing :)

Kathy Reads Fiction 6/27/16, 9:13 AM  

I tried to use Library Thing, and it just didn't work for me. I have lists all over the place and feel so discombobulated. I'm a hot mess when it comes to my books, and I'm so organized in other areas of my life. I have about five lists on Amazon, lists on Goodreads, my Calibre, and folders on my computer. I've managed to categorize my audio into a folder and have created folders for ebooks. I have thought of creating an excel spreadsheet, which seems to be the easiest for me, to catalog my audio, ebooks, physical, etc. but would need a good 365 days of 24 hour shifts to do so.

Mae Travels 6/27/16, 9:30 AM  

Would you feel better if I admitted that my books are completely unorganized except that most (not all) food books are close to or in the kitchen? At least amazon lets me search my list of kindle books, and mentions it if I already have bought a particular one. And at my favorite bookstore the owner would let me return a book if I found another copy on my shelves when I got it home.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

rhapsodyinbooks 6/27/16, 9:40 AM  

I use LibratyThing, and I think it's fantastic. You can add any tags and then sort by them so it makes it easy, and it will give you statistics on all sorts of aspects of your books. It also lets you rate with half stars (which Goodreads does not) and gives you a space to put public comments about your books as well as private comments, so you can add spoilers for your own reference.

Kathy Martin 6/27/16, 9:50 AM  

I use both LibraryThing and GoodReads. Every book I own gets entered into my LibraryThing account (Best $25 I've ever spent for a lifetime account). I bought the CueCat scanner when I began and spent a couple of weekends entering all my books into the database back in February 2008. I think they also have an import feature if your books are in a spreadsheet. I have set up a variety of collections - Kindle, Audiobooks, Review - Pending, Reviewed, To Read - that help me manage all the various kinds of books I own. GoodReads is where I post the current book I'm reading. So that list is just what I have read since beginning my GoodReads account. Of course, I also keep a Google Sheets document for review books and a Google Calendar for my blogs. Can you tell that I really like being organized?

Come see what I read last week. Happy reading!

Kailana 6/27/16, 9:59 AM  

I had a really pretty Excel document once. It was awesome and helpful. That was like my very first computer. It might not have even been called Excel back then... Nowadays, I couldn't tell you. lol I would like to have a giant spreadsheet of sorts, but I know that would take forever so I just avoid it.

Daryl 6/27/16, 10:02 AM  

i mainly read ebooks ... and when i am done i archive them ... my hard cover and paperbacks reside on shelves and are organized by author ...

Laurel-Rain Snow 6/27/16, 10:25 AM  

Roses and Rot caught my eye....enjoy your books!

As for organization, I do use Goodreads, but I also have one blog where I document my purchases, my books read, and my review books.

When I've finished a book, I link the titles to the reviews.

It is not a perfect system, but between the blog and Goodreads, I feel a tiny sense of control. lol

Jackie Mc Guinness 6/27/16, 10:33 AM  

After numerous attempts to track my books (spreadsheets, weekly blog posts) I now use Goodreads to track them. I have my TBR list there and use that when updating my Wish List for the Toronto Library.
I do keep a running annual list on my blog.

Dig sounds interesting.

I'm Thinking... is already on my TBR list.

Anita LeBeau 6/27/16, 1:09 PM  

I'm Thinking of Ending Things is mine in E galley, so only until 8/9, and I want to read it, but it's not a given. I kind of hate books that are love them or hate them and leave me hanging when I expect the thrill to be big.

I use GoodReads and I have an excel spread sheet. Neither is perfect and I know I forget to enter books I receive. I also forget to identify books in goodreads as just books I'd like to read but don't own. I like my spreadsheet, but it's only good if you really enter the books...ha ha. Good luck finding a happy place to organize.

Lisa 6/27/16, 1:14 PM  

My system is just to have the books for review on the shelf closest to my desk and my calendar set for reminders as to what needs to be read when. Can't seem to handle more than that so I think you're really on top of things!

Florinda Pendley Vasquez 6/27/16, 2:02 PM  

I'm WAY behind on my LibraryThing cataloging, but that's my primary organization tool. I have a hybrid way of using it, though: I include all books I buy and most ARCs I intend to read, but I only add audiobooks and ebooks *after* I read them. (I figure the apps I use for those serve as their own TBR collections). I stopped logging in ARCs I receive for review consideration and decide to pass on.

I have Calibre on my MacBook, but haven't really figured out how to use it.

If anyone offers a great all-purpose solution for this, PLEASE share!

Vicki 6/27/16, 2:41 PM  

I use so many different ways to keep track of my books, but I love using the CueCat scanner and LibraryThing the most. I have fallen behind on it so it's not up to date. I'm weeding through my physical books now because I'm moving, and I'm only taking the books I absolutely have to keep. When I get moved I'll scan them as I put them on the shelves.

For books I've read, I like GoodReads the best.

Yvonne 6/27/16, 7:28 PM  

I used to have an Excel spreadsheet, but it got damaged so now I just use Goodreads. It works for me.

Heather Fineisen 6/27/16, 8:51 PM  

I use Goodreads. Great picks this week Happy Reading!

Gina R 6/28/16, 1:01 AM  

Short of an excel doc, I don't think there is an app or site solution at the moment. Sad but true.

Emma Littlefield 6/28/16, 2:35 PM  

I feel totally disorganised having read the comment because I don't really do anything. My Goodreads use is sporadic. Not sure if it's because I rarely read review copies so I just pick up what catches my eye and then don't worry beyond that.

bkclubcare 6/28/16, 8:24 PM  

Huh. I can't offer you any help. I track in goodreads and on my blog but as for books I physically own? I just glance at my shelves or open my kindle. I just don't have enough qty to merit an inventory system.

Belle Wong 6/30/16, 11:11 AM  

I've started creating actual physical cards for my ebook collection, because I find it so difficult to browse through my collection - you can't tell much by looking at the cover or the title on Kindle or Kobo. I love the cards because they're so easy to flip through - but I'm only a tiny way through my ebooks and it's going to be a lot of work, that's for sure! I had to return Roses and Rot to the library unread, but put another hold on it immediately. It sounds good!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 6/30/16, 12:22 PM  

I use Goodreads and have been a member since 2008. It was the first site I joined and is the most complete record I have. It's not perfect but it's easy to use, which is good because that way I actually use it. I use Calibre for ebooks, but I also log them into Goodreads. Audio books are in a folder but those too are also logged on Goodreads. The shelf system works like tags because you can put a book on multiple shelves.

I also like LibraryThing, but I joined that after Goodreads and probably only have about 15% of my books on there. It has an import system, but the thought of importing 2,000 books and proofing it gives me hives! I also find it a bit confusing at times when adding a book, so I don't use it as much. But it's a good resource.

blacknwritereviews 7/2/16, 11:49 PM  

I do use GRs, but throughout the year I keep a "complicated" Google Sheets file of all the books I've read throughout the year that comprises of data that I'd like to eventually create pretty charts of!
- Krys

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