My life, in books

By Wednesday, January 4, 2017 2 , , Permalink

Books, credit Kirsten Akens 2017

For the past few weeks, I’ve been digging into friends’ annual reports about their favorite books of 2016. And, of course, adding even more titles to my to-read list — which currently sits at 766.

For reference, at the rate I’m currently pacing, I would need approximately 10 years to read just those. On one hand, that feels daunting and frustrating. On the other hand, I know I won’t read them all, and I’m OK with that because the list is much more than just a reminder of what I’ll never get to.
For almost 10 years now I’ve been tracking my reading through Goodreads. What I love about Goodreads is not only the ability to easily refer back to what I have read, keep that list of what I want to read (or think I want to read), and learn what my friends are choosing to spend their time with these days, but also to have the opportunity to review the years and see patterns in my reading choices and habits.

  • How have my tastes changed over the past decade?
  • Who continually rises to the top as my favorite authors?
  • Why was I drawn to certain authors or genres during certain years? (Hello 2016. Year of the Post-Apocalyptic Young Adult Novel.)
  • Why did I go through a few months in 2014 of wanting to read (but not actually reading) every single book about moss I could? (Oh right! Elizabeth Gilbert inspired this through The Signature of All Things: A Novel … and I was training to hike Pikes Peak that same summer, and began seeking out books about the flora and fauna around me as a way to connect more with the trails…)

I’ve never been a very good journaler. I envy those who can sit down every day or once a week, or with some sort of regularity, and put pen to paper about their days. I’ve tried numerous times to settle into this type of routine: from plain old self-motivation, to gratitude journals, to formalized Morning Pages. In the end, every time I’ve come to feel it was a forced process for me, and given up.

What I’ve realized about Goodreads: For me, it’s so much more than a book tracking, rating and reviewing system.

It’s a way of journaling through books.

One thousand, four hundred and eighteen titles. Three thousand, six hundred and fifty (ish) days.

Goals and aspirations. Travel near and travel far. Major depressive cycles. Obsessions and compulsions. Dreams and desires. Relationship ups and downs. Professional highs. Professional lows. Passions and practices.

It’s all there.

The words of my life.

How are you tracking yours?

  • Jenny
    January 4, 2017

    I love this. I too have never been able to establish a regular journaling habit – but I truly enjoy using Goodreads to track what and when I read. (I also think it motivates me to keep reading.) It makes me smile to think of it as a type of journal!

    • kirsten
      January 5, 2017

      Yay! I know it motivates me too. Especially with the new annual challenges. Happy reading!

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