I don’t know about you but I am always on the search for the perfect way to keep track of the books I read. I first began keeping track in 1995 on paper. Then when I got a Mac I had AppleWorks on it and there was a very basic database program that I began using instead of paper. But the database program was truly terrible and as soon as I could I made a spiffed up spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel. I was really happy with my spreadsheet for quite sometime but it had too many Microsoft quirks. About a year ago I downloaded OpenOffice, an open source suite of programs to rival Microsoft.

It turned out there was a database program and it was really quite good. I decided to play around with it a bit and see if I might like it for keeping track of the books I read. It was pretty easy to use and it wasn’t long before I was entering a few year’s of books and giving it s spin. I decided I liked it. I have been pecking away at entering all the books I have read since 1995 ever since. Over my holiday vacation time I made a push to finish it all and I did on New Year’s day.

So far I am liking it very much. Here is a peep (clicking on images will make them bigger).

This is the form I made that I use to enter my data. It’s much prettier than entering data directly into tables. The quote is from the poet Sonia Sanchez and says “The words loved me and I loved them in return.”

Here is a look at the behind-the-scenes table. There is only one, I didn’t see the need to make multiple tables and connect them together.

The easy way to look at information is to use a filter on the table.

If I ever want to get really fancy, I can create SQL queries.

It was sometimes tedious to enter all of the data, but it was fun too. I came across quite a few books that I had no recollection of reading and several that I would swear I just read a year or two ago but it turns out I read them 5 or more years ago. Then there were books that I remember as being meh or not liking at all and it turns out I liked them a lot when I read them. Or a few books that I thought I didn’t like and it turns out I liked them just fine. It was a stroll through my reading history from the past 16 years.

Having all the books I have read consolidated into one place now I can see that I have read 866 books since 1995. Seems like a lot until I start thinking about the huge list I have of books I want to read.

I had thought about using Goodreads or LibraryThing for keeping track of the books I read but I can’t goof around with what pieces of information I keep track of and how it is laid out. I like my little custom database. At least until I find something else that catches my fancy.