*cough* But these compulsive spreadsheet making tweets were apparently well liked! And I thought, “Why not share the method to my madness?” Since inspiration is coming lately not in the form of discussion posts but spreadsheets, sure. Especially since my latest inspiration is great for the new year: a yearbook. Put your OCD hats on and follow me, lovelies!
My 2014 YearbookLast year, I was already more OCD than most, and I had a Word document where I made a ranking of all the books I read. It helped me to keep track of my favorite books of the year, measure how books fared compared to each other, and ensure that my ratings were rather consistent (i.e. is this book 3 or 3.5 stars? Well _____ was 3 stars, and _____ was 3.5 stars, and I think it’s closer to the latter). I also found it really important because I knew that at the end of the year, I would forget about the books I loved in January/February otherwise – that’s just a cognitive bias. For each book, I had a rank, the title, author, the date I read it, and the rating.
While I was working on the 2013 End of Year Book Survey last week, I stumbled on the question of which genre I had read the most of. Instantly, I wished I had statistics on it. I went back to my ranking Word document, but the information was limited. I did go through and classify them into genres and count anyway, but why on earth did I do that in Word? With a spreadsheet, with filtering options, it’s much easier to create statistics, charts, and to find exactly what I’m looking for.
To put it simply, my desire for information is expanding. When this time next year I’m looking back on 2014, I want to be able to give a broader and more interesting overview of my reading year. Off to Google Docs I went. I prefer Google Docs because it lets me fiddle with these spreadsheets at work, edit them anywhere, and potentially share them with others. Here is currently what I’m keeping track of for books in 2014:
(Click to enlarge.)
Some things are obviously carried over from my Word overview from last year: a rank, the book title and author, the date read, and the rating. However some things are new.
- I want to keep track of genres – because it was honestly surprising to me that last year my most popular genre was contemporary. I mean, whoa.
- I also want to keep track of whether it’s the first, middle, or last in a series or a standalone. That will let me keep track of how many series I start/finish and how many standalones I read.
- I want to keep track of debuts – because when making the 2013 Year End Book Survey, I actually originally forgot to include All Our Yesterdays in response to the question about the best debuts. I just forgot that was a debut. NO MORE.
- I want to give book covers a grade. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a feature around covers, but I’m not so sure about that, but it’ll be nice to, at the end of the year, quickly remember which covers I absolutely loved. (Should I include cover grades in my reviews? Hmm.)
- I want to keep track of the release year. How many new releases am I reading? How many backlist books am I giving a chance? This would also allow me to filter it, to see my favorites in both categories, like what I did for my Top 10 Books I Read in 2013.
- I’m also keeping track of the classification: young adult, adult, or middle grade. This is not in the screenshot because I just thought of it, ha. BUT. It is an important thing I want to measure.
- I want to keep track of the imprints and publishers. I think it will be really nice to at the end of the year have a view of which imprints and publishers worked out best for me – could also be encouraging for next year: which imprints/publishers should I pay particular attention to because of success in the past?
- I want to keep track of the source and format easily – mostly to see how many books I read for review, and how many I choose myself.
- I want to keep track of the number of pages, to not only calculate the total number of pages read, but also the average number of pages per book.
But the spreadsheet doesn’t end with just books. In my Monthly Wrap Ups I like to quickly mention some of my other favorite things of the month. Each time, however, I sit there, scratching my head, because my memory is absolutely horrid. So, why not keep track of this in the spreadsheet as well? Then I could even make a yearly favorites post!
Here are the other tabs in my yearbook.
TV Series Following: These are the currently airing TV series that I am watching. I want to keep track of that throughout the year, but am not giving them ratings because, well, TV is so complicated that I don’t think I could. I am ranking them, but also giving them each a short verdict, which I will repeat in June and in December, to keep track of how my opinion changes throughout the year. (NOTE: This may make me look like a TV addict, but recognize the fact that more than half of these have shorter, irregular seasons. *cough* I have a healthy relationship with TV.)
TV Series Binging: Particularly for my Asian dramas, this is the best way to keep track. But also for US/UK shows: I discover something, love it, binge watch it, and then that’s one of my monthly obsessions. But I can go through them quickly and then forget it ever happened. Sad day.
Movies: Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what movies I watched last year. Seriously. Possibly that’s because there were so few of them. But possibly I watched things and immediately wiped it from my memory. I dunno. I’m weird. So I’d like to keep track. Also, I should watch a freaking movie this year. o_o
Music: I go through phases with my music, and that’s also a nice thing to keep track of. What were my favorite artists/bands? What were my favorite songs? In 2014, we shall know.
Ships: I just thought of this and added it immediately. I need to keep track of my ships. It was actually extremely difficult to answer the question in the Year End Book Survey about favorite romances, and I knew I forgot some amazing ones even though I listed 8. (At first I forgot about Em and Finn from All Our Yesterdays HOW DARE I.) So. A ship tab. Precise format and rating scale TBD.
Favorite Quotes: I used to like all the quotes that stood out to me via Goodreads, but man, that doesn’t exactly make it easier to look back through them. From now on, I will note quotes that I really love and stand out to me here. Other people have quote books for this, but I am lazy and my handwriting is horrendous, so I’ll be using this. Haha. Yeah, I had trouble answering the question in the survey about favorite quotes. I ended up using a lovely one from This Song Will Save Your Life, but I know that there were other quotes I loved in 2013, but I simply forgot about them or can’t find them anywhere.
Notable Events: Finally, I want to track events and social outings. As a part of my effort to focus more on positive energy and cherish the good times, I need something like this. I know there were definitely GOOD THINGS in 2013 that I just completely forgot about, because it got buried in a pile of bad things.
“The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.”Right? Yeah? If you get that reference, internet cookies to you.
TL;DR: All of this…
Keeping Track of Book ShoppingAnother spreadsheet I made a while back was to keep track of book shopping. I know. It’s risky business, because cue the guilt spirals. But I like prioritizing – keeping in mind which books I must have and want to buy with my next paycheck. I’m not a very spontaneous person, and most of the time, spontaneity ends badly for me anyhow – with books that lie in my TBR pile for years. I keep an overview of upcoming releases this way too, and manage to kind of plan out my budget. I made this spreadsheet back in September, I believe, so with my more advanced spreadsheet-making mind I might give it a makeover sometime, but this is what it looks like right now.
New releases: This is getting more complicated as I am getting more ARCs, but okay. Basically, I put books into the spreadsheet when I hear about them – keeping them in mind. I can give them a priority. Lines that are gray are books I’ve purchased. Lines that are yellow are books I have ARCs or eARCs of – showing my opinion is “pending”. I make them red if I read them and don’t like them (and will delete it from the spreadsheet at some point) or green if I loved them and want to buy them at some point.
Backlist books: I keep these separate because backlist books are, obviously, the books that I could always buy and not have to wait on a pre-order for. I sort these by priority and importantly for myself keep track of which edition I want – since I can be torn between UK and US editions. When I buy these books, they obviously are removed from the spreadsheet and moved to the next tab.
Purchased books: Now this is for everyone probably the most horrendous tab, because here I keep track of the books I’ve bought. But hear me out: for me it’s necessary because I live in the Bermuda Triangle, The Realm of Lost Orders. This is why the cells of the purchase date are gray – that marks that I’ve received them. By referencing the purchase date I can also kind of keep in mind if an order is likely lost. But other than that, I also like my READ column, to keep an overview of how I’m faring in reading the books I buy. I’m also going to be adding the egalleys I download to this as well – and then it will be an easy way to keep track of which books I need to put into my next book haul (I always forget about those pesky egalleys!).
A Well-Organized Book ClubOne last example I want to share with you is our book club spreadsheet. When I started setting up and organizing things to make book club happen, I instantly thought that a spreadsheet would be the easiest way. By using Google Docs, the document can be shared with everyone, and then all the information is in one place instead of scattered throughout different emails, where people are individually responsible to note things down and put meetings in their agendas. (We also have a shared Google calendar, so now meetings are automatically synchronized to everyone’s phones.)
Our book club works like this: each person is assigned a month that they play “host”. All the title really means is that they are in charge of listing 3-5 suggestions on books to read. When they do, they let the others know via email, and then they can all each access the spreadsheet and place their name next to the book they want to read. Majority rules, and the book with the most votes is the next pick.
Let’s Talk!That’s it for me for today. How do you like my spreadsheets? Have they scared you off yet? What? You think I’m crazy?
Haha, but in all honesty, let me know what you think. Are you inspired by any of this? How do you keep track? Do you have any suggestions for statistics/info that I may have missed in the book part of my yearbook?