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Thoughts on book logging

24 March 2023 (2 minute read)

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book life

Line drawings of books on tables.

I’ve been a member of Goodreads since 2013. I follow a few of my friends and family on there, and whilst it was nice to see the types of things people are reading, I only really ever used the service as a way for logging what I had read. The other social aspects didn’t keep me coming back and I personally didn’t find the home feed interesting.

As I started to get more into the Fediverse back in 2021, I joined BookWyrm (as @wilw@bookwyrm.social). I was able to export my reads as a CSV from Goodreads and import them into BookWyrm, which I continued to use as a method for recording reads and listens. BookWyrm is excellent, easy-to-use, and less clunky than Goodreads. I can certainly recommend it if you’re looking to join or build a community around books.

However, as with Goodreads, I just never really seemed to get involved with the other features or engaged with people on the platform. Like most Fediverse services, BookWyrm is primarily designed to be social. People discuss books, write reviews for others, and get inspiration from the people in their community.

I recently came to the realisation that reading doesn’t feel like a social activity to me. One of the great things about books is that they are inherently personal – fiction provides an escape from reality and evokes your own imagination, and other works can (among other things) help to educate and improve your life.

I do enjoy discussing books with others from time to time (and usually in person) but, for now, all I really needed was a simple method for logging reads and listens.

As such, I now simply include a log on my books note. There’s not much to it, but it helps me keep track of what I am reading and the frequency. To create the log, I include a CSV section in the note (which I can easily add to) and I use a shortcode (based on the very helpful work by Brian Wisti) to get Hugo to render a table from the CSV content.

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