I find the best way to track my reading is with Goodreads. Keeping a log is only something I started doing in the last few years. Before that, I can only assume that it was less important to me to keep up with what I was reading. However, I’ve been wondering recently whether tracking books actually takes something away from the experience of reading. With an endless TBR on Goodreads, with start and finish dates, with yearly goals – is turning reading into a numbers game ruining the fun?
For me, there are obvious benefits to Goodreads. Since I have used it, I have found that I have been engaging more with the material I am reading. With access to quotes, author profiles, and most helpfully, reader’s reviews, it has allowed me to tie up loose ends of plots, get second opinions, and offer more books a more permanent place in my memory. Finishing a book I love (or even one I didn’t like so much), and then being able to engage with a community of readers all suffering from the same book hangover, or the same distaste of certain parts, makes reading a book so much more exciting. It was this very reason why I set up the Words & Geeks Book Club with The Geek Undergraduate; reading with other people is so much fun.
On the other hand, I feel there is more pressure to read now I have a public profile to upkeep. Nothing takes the fun out of reading like the feeling that you have to read rather than you want to read. This is something I have tried to adjust this year by giving myself less reading goals and challenges.
Has anyone else found this problem? Is tracking your reading beneficial or is it burdensome?
Nevertheless, for another year at least I will be participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. Last year I read 50 books, and I’ve chosen to do the same this year. This will be the first year since I started school that I won’t have studying to do, after the completion of my degree last year. (That is, until I cave in and apply for a Masters). Anyway, without any set books to read, I have a whole year ahead of me of reading for leisure. I wonder if I’ll read less without deadlines; we shall have to wait and see.
What are your reading goals for the year? What are your thoughts on using Goodreads, or any similar sites, for tracking your reading progress?