Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | September 30, 2014

Channeling your inner librarian

When I first started writing in earnest, I found that my reading increased significantly.

I would target genres that I wasn’t familiar with, writers that I didn’t know but whose style I felt I needed to experience, books from writers I met at a convention and whose books I bought in person, books I had already read but wanted to read again with a perspective that had now changed.

I even started an annual tradition of picking a new sub-genre to read. I did this at a convention that had a book trading room. I would pick a couple of subjects and try to combine them. Then I’d tell a book seller what I was thinking. Sometimes I’d change it, depending on what they came up with. Sometimes, I would just point to a picture on the cover of one book, and say something like “let’s combine this with mystery”. But every year, I was able to discover something new.

From all of that, I have more favorite authors, as you can well imagine. And, a LOT OF BOOKS. More than I can fit on the various bookshelves I have at home.

Or in the boxes I have at the foot of the bookshelf in my bedroom.

Or in the crates I have on a second desk in my office.

Or in the closet, my bureau, or…the floor. Sad smile

I must say at this point, that while this sounds like quite a mess (and it kinda is), I love it. If I’m going to be or have a mess anywhere I love this one.

One problem, though, is that not all of these books are read yet. I’ve gotten to the point where I need to catalog all these to see what I’ve read and bring the catalog with me whenever I find myself in a position to buy books next (thank all deities I follow some semblance of a budget).

Being a software developer, I know this will end with me creating a database on my home computer, and then arguing with myself on how much time I want to spend on the project of making a mobile phone solution so I can synchronize between the two automatically, etc. etc. etc.

All so I can conveniently have some management of the books I have, categorized by title, author, maybe genre, if I’ve read it, etc.

I would make my life easier if I skipped the database and just made a big spreadsheet. I could put that on my phone with some cursing.

How do YOU all manage this insanity? Smile


  1. Ha ha – I can definitely relate, being a book-lover, and your mother, but I am not a software developer and would not have the sequential skills, or desire, to organize them on a computer, or paper for that matter. I also have to share my space with three others, so I have actually learned how to get rid of things, even books (shudder!). Honestly though, none of them were books I hadn’t read; I only keep titles I’ve really enjoyed. Maybe you should move to a bigger place; you need a proper room for those books!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have an Excel spreadsheet. Title, author, genre, Notes, and location. Definitely helpful when searching for something!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Readerware! Which will let you enter books by either scanning the barcode with a reader attached to your usb port or by drag and drop from a number of internet sites like B&N, amazon, etc. It stores book info, cover images, and there’s a place to mark if the book is read and the date you read it. Includes customizable fields, and you can export the database to csv and read it into a spreadsheet to carry around on a mobile device. There’s a mobile version, but I haven’t gotten it running (I ran one on my palm, once upon a time . . . ). I’ve got 9K+ books in it.
    Bets the heck out of caring around a paper notebook . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the info, Elektra! I think I’m going to have to check that out.


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