The simple approach was to open a spreadsheet (excel, google sheets, etc.) and type in Title, Author, Dates, and start reading. Of course, after the first couple books, ironically on reading books, I discovered I wanted more measurable data to track my trends and prevent any unintended biases. For example, as English is my only language spoken and many of the collections in the Great Books are Western collections I accepted an initial bias along these lines; reasoning that I had plenty of books to read initially. Also, English translation and various editions of books are considered best by some and not so good by others; I wanted to track what editions, versions, and translations.
So, my headings became part tracking my reading and part statistical analysis. I added page count to understand my reading speed; adding Subject to create categories to compare against. I expect it will take longer to read Mathematics than Romance and as I develop Lesson Plans I want a realistic estimation of the required time and when completed I can update the estimation. Here are the Walls Reading spreadsheet headings.
- Start Date
- First Read
Some books I expect to read once, however my list consist of Great Books and the plan is to study each book and write essays on the books I consider worth the extra time (hopefully many). Therefore, I separated First Read and Completed as different objectives. It is likely I may not reread War and Peace this month, but I do expect to read it again…probably after some French Revolution readings. First Reads are more likely to be in the Kindle Format versus a Hardback or Softback book that I can write on. Summary isn’t intended to be as basic as a Goodread’s review, but I could see my summaries becoming my reviews. The challenge is to review timely, I may edit the initial review with the final Summary review. The goal is to write the Summary after the First Read. The Essay follows after a more detailed analysis.
A couple more questions arise; balancing out books from different sexes is a legitimate metric for more current dates, but is difficult for older material. I’ll need to create a cutoff date and am struggling on what date to use. Adding to the dilemma is different countries vary greatly on women writer’s legitimacy (meaning the book was great, but wasn’t treated as such). For now, I am tracking the complete period and consider this a work in progress. Along the same lines is ethnicity. This is even more complicated than I thought as ethnicity has evolved over the centuries…are you an American or a German American or African American or maybe an Egyptian American? Do I go by the legal definition or do I go by self identification, how is 50% each dealt with. My current decision is to ignore the issue, not because of any lack of awareness of the bias, but because My Reading List is long to begin with and I can come back to this topic later. Any suggestions are appreciated, I suspect the genealogist have solved this problem and it’s a matter of educating myself.
Furthermore, as I read different editions, translation, reviews, etc. I can see issues in tracking the various versions and multiple essays and possible a master essay comparing all of the versions. This doesn’t include the multiple book essays or comparative research papers. As an amateur historian, writer, and reader I plan to improve on all of these aspects this year.
Finally, I am using my Great Books page to provide a minor tool for outside trackers of my progress. I am using blue to track books that First Read is completed and red to track books I am currently reading. I will develop this system out a little further and add a key to the bottom of the page. Either way, let me know if you have any improvements or ideas on my current approach.