Posted by Padmore Editorial

January: the coldest, darkest month of the year. I have to confess: I’m 100% the person who loves goals and targets and planning, so I actually love January. I stopped setting New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago, but I still love getting out my planner, and looking ahead.  

When it comes to reading, my January to-do list is usually deciding how I’m going to track what I read in the coming year. Of course, you don’t have to track you reading: most people don’t. But since I started tracking my reading in 2013, I’ve found it really useful. It’s helped me remember books, for a start! But it’s also helped me to evaluate what type of writing (and what type of authors I read), and how much I’m reading.

If you’re new to tracking, there are a few ways you can go about it. Here are a few that I’ve tried:


The List

This is exactly what it says on the tin. You list the titles and author of the books you read, with the option to break them up by month.

On the plus side, this is a very simple and quick method of tracking. It won’t take much time out of your day and will capture the basics quickly. There’s also the option to add additional columns, for example, if you wanted to rate each book.

On the downside, this isn’t the most visually appealing way of tracking. And – for me at least – there are some books that I can’t recall just from reading the title!


The Bookshelf


If you have a bullet journal, this is probably a method you’ve seen before. Instead of listing books, you draw a full bookshelf, and fill in the titles as you go. (The added décor is optional, but I really like it!)

This is just plain cute, isn’t it? And it’s easy to customize: I tried this version this year, and I added shelf labels for areas I wanted to focus on (non-fiction, and book club books). 

On the downside, you can’t really incorporate any more information here. So, if you’re looking to comment on or rate books, you’ll need another method. And if you’re like me (aka. not the most artistically gifted) you can struggle to make this neat and legible!


The Challenge


A book challenge involves a set of prompts, which will help you select books to read. This is somewhere between planning and tracking your reading. Challenges can also have different themes, but most are aimed at getting you out of your comfort zone. 

@BookRiot run a Read Harder challenge, the FOLD focuses on diverse authors, and PopSugar’s challenge focuses on the book’s traits. (I especially love “A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title”!) 

These challenges offer fantastic structure if you’re looking to broaden your reading or feel like you’re in a reading rut. But, if you’re a mood reader (guilty!), you can sometimes find yourself tackling a book that you’re just not feeling up to. 


The Community


As well as logging your books on pen and paper, you could be high tech, and log them online! GoodReads will allow you to set your own challenge and talk about books with other bookworms from across the world. 

I have to admit, this is the only method on the list I haven’t tried myself. But I do often check GoodReads when I’m reviewing a book for myself, and I always end up finding another 3 books I’d like to read. 

This is a great approach if you like to be connected when you read, and your first thought when you read a great book is to find someone bookish and tell them about it. But if one of your 2019 resolutions is to spend less time online, then you might prefer to stick to pen and paper.

So there you have it. Do you have any other methods you use to track your reading? I’d love to hear about them: I’m still not 100% sure which method I’ll be using this year, but I’m sure it’s going to be another year of great books.



Follow Carla on Instagram: @whatcarlaread

Carla has been reading since she was old enough to apply for her own library cards. She grew up using books to explore the big wide world, and meet people she’d never known in real life.
After a BA and MA in English Lit, she’s now a free-range reader!  You can most often find her in second-hand bookshops, soaking in that old book smell.







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