That Time I Got Really Geeked About a Spreadsheet

So I’m going to get all book nerdy on you today.

Last week I talked about my reading stats for last year and my reading goals for 2015. You might also remember that I had trouble remembering exactly how many books in each category that I read last year. This was due to Goodreads being the only source of how I kept track of my books. In order to figure out numbers in each genre, I had to count from the beginning several times. When one reads over 200 books, this becomes a bit problematic because after a while everything just runs together. I knew I wasn’t giving the correct numbers but I was tired of having to keep going back and forth.

I knew that I needed to make a different change in 2015. That’s when I decided to keep a reading spreadsheet.

Now let me first say that I really love doing data entry. I’ve worked in records management and secretly let me tell you it’s something I really enjoy. I love stats and keeping track of things so I can see trends and growth over time.

I knew that other folks had been keeping their reading habits on spreadsheets but I had dismissed them earlier. After all, I used Goodreads. Why should you use something else? Then I ran into my problem and realized I needed something more than just Goodreads.

Book Riot (which if you love books and reading is site you need to be visiting every day) had an article up a few months ago called “How I Track My Reading: The Ultimate Reading Spreadsheet.” The author of the post feels the same way I do about data, tracking, stats, and reading. She also gives a link to where one can download a template for a spreadsheet and then customize it to their own preferences.

Google Drive is an amazing feature. I don’t currently own Microsoft Office products but with Google Docs and Google spreadsheets, I don’t need to. And being online, I can update this spreadsheet anywhere that I can have internet access. No more waiting hours later to write down that book!

As stated last year, the biggest genre I read the most of was Christian fiction. This meant that the majority of the authors I read were white and female. This year, I want to read more diversely. This doesn’t mean I’m purposely choosing what I read but I want to keep a closely better track of what authors I’m reading. I also want to read more non fiction as well.

So here are screenshots of what my spreadsheet looks like. I have many different things I want to keep track of as you can see. And yes I have read 10 books at this point, by the time this publishes it might be more. (Click on the images to make them bigger)

Here’s the first half. The first column is for when I finish the book. Then there’s title, author, gender of author (drop down menu to choose from female, male, collaboration), publisher, year version I’m reading is published, date started, date ended, pages, Fiction or Non Fiction, Level (drop down menu for Adult, YA – young adult, or MG – Middle Grade).

Reading Spreadsheet1

The second half – Genre, Format (book, ebook, ARC – advanced reader copy, etc), source (where did I get book from), Nationality of author, Diversity – is the author a Person of Color (this is any author that is not white). Then we get to the formula tracking columns which tally up pages read, books finished and how many POC authors I’ve read.


I realize that not everyone cares so much about data like this! These are the things that are important for me to keep track of when I read however. I know that some people couldn’t care less who writes their book or even how many books they read. But I am trying to read outside my normal routine so for me it is important to know that I’m not just reading the same thing over and over. Re: tracking diversity of author, it can get a little tricky because sometimes that means researching an author’s background but after last year of reading over 200 books and only reading THREE POC authors, I want to make an effort this year of reading more.

I still use Goodreads to keep track of what books I’m reading and also because I’m doing their reading challenge. And it’s a good tool and website. I just know that for me personally, I want more info and that means doing this spreadsheet. It may mean a little bit more work but that’s ok! You may get sick of seeing spreadsheets after work all day. But for me, this is great fun.

Now on to more reading!

Thank you very much to Book Riot for the inspiration to do this.


3 thoughts on “That Time I Got Really Geeked About a Spreadsheet

  1. I love all your data!! I am such a sucker for excel and graphs….I’ve been using a spreadsheet to track my reading since 2008 and I add new things to it all the time. Like you I’ve added a column to track diversity this year for the author as well as the characters in a book.


  2. Pingback: 2015: A Year in Books | A Girl Who Is a Geek

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