Tracking my reading

For as long as I can remember, I have been an avid reader. As a child, I quickly moved through the reading levels at school. Everything I could get my hands on, I would read.

And I still do, I have become a bit more discerning in what I like to read, but still it’s an eclectic mix of everything and anything. Lot’s of sci-fi, but also non-fiction, academic papers etc. If it manages to drum up some interest in my brain (little is needed to do so) it goes on my ever growing TBR pile. That means To Be Read, for those who are a bit less into books.

I do my best to make a dent in that pile, but I seem to put more books onto it than I manage to read. Fortunately, I do most of my reading on an ereader nowadays. So I no longer have to negotiate perilously leaning piles of books to get from door to bed in my bedroom. Even my workroom, where most of my untidiness is concentrated, is safe and somewhat presentable nowadays.

To track or not to track?

One thing I deeply regret is that I have never really gotten into the habit of tracking my reading before last year. I read, I take copious notes on what I read, but a simple reading journal, even as basic as book title and date I read the book, never graduated from idea to implementation.

I did try Goodreads, but while I love the concept, I find the site and app clunky and boring, with basically zero innovation. It started as a community for those loving books, but with the acquisition by Amazon in 2013 innovation ground to a halt. Many people use it even today, but that has always seemed more out of convenience than anything else.

Being put off by the tool you use to track your reading is not a great way to get into the habit. So I didn’t. I occasionaly tracked a book when I remembered, but having no convenient means to automate the connection from my Kobo to Goodreads, meant that I had to do it manually. Which in my world is hardly ever the way toward a lasting habit.

So tracking was firmly kicked to the wayside, to be picked up, reexamined and tossed away again whenever my brain (currently suspected of having ADHD, which would explain A LOT!) got a jolt and remembered to track reading for 1 or 2 books. A previous iteration of this website even (briefly) had a Goodreads widget in the side bar. Not that that did anything for my habit, but my CSS was on point at least.

Enter Storygraph

And then I stumbled upon a new player in the not very crowded space of book tracking apps. Storygraph. A modern take on what Goodreads did before Amazon. An easy way to find, track and recommend books.

In the last few weeks I added all books I remembered reading this year. Having been in hospital for a while I got a lot of reading done. Thus having reached my goal of 52 books in 2023 (or 1 book per week) with nearly 5 months to spare.

A graph showing that I have read 54 books of the planned 52 for the 2023 reading challenge.

I find the ease of use of Storygraph a breath of fresh air compared to the clunky Goodreads interface. Don’t get me wrong, Goodreads works fine, I never experienced technical difficulties or outages. It is just so clunky and bland.

Importing my Goodreads data into Storygraph was easy and the developers are very active and very connected to the community. A premium tier is available, but the free version already has all the basics you need. Go and check it out!


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