Monday, March 30, 2009

Book purge 09 – the booklist

forgive me if there ends up being 4 copies of this post. Windows Live Writer is being odd this morning

I’ve mentioned the booklist a few times but I have never really explained it. The booklist, in it’s current incarnation is an Excel spreadsheet that lists every book I owned over a roughly 20 year period. It start in 1985 as a list in a notebook of all the books in my possession, after I bought some duplicates at a used bookstore because the cover art was different. It was handwritten, eventually rewritten into a loose leaf binder alphabetically. I entered it all into whatever the DOS based spreadsheet program was on the 286 DH bought in 1991 and it eventually evolved into an Excel spreadsheet with categories and subcategories and could be sorted by author or date or topic etc. It even spent a brief period as an Access database, but not successfully, so it went back to Excel. It was handy to have a spreadsheet to use when I was learning to do different things in Excel so it ended up with a lot of information I didn’t exactly need or originally intend to track.

I can tell you how many books I bought in 1997. I can tell you how many of them were history- women. At one point I could have told you how much I spent.

142 and 5 respectively and I am really sort of glad I deleted that column about pricing.

I stopped keeping the list in March 2005. By then my book buying had seriously fallen off & most my reading material came from the library. The booklist was intended to track what I owned, not what I had read. Plus with 2 toddlers underfoot who had the time to enter data? There were 1861 books on the list when I stopped keeping it.

I did a big purge sometime in 2006. About 500 or so books left the house then with another 100 or so leaving in smaller batches between 2003 and 2008.

I joined Library Thing in March 2008 and began scanning every book in the house, then I added the books from the booklist that were missing, then I added the books from the library that I remembered reading in the past couple of years (mostly series books). I had 2042 books when I was done. I’m up to 2201 currently, but 71 are tarot decks and I added some comic books I already owned as well. I know I read at least 56 new books in 2008 after I reached 2042.

These are all the books I have read since 1985.

I failed to tag the ones I physically had with ‘owned’ so I have no idea who many or which books I have in my house.

Which was the whole point of the booklist in the first place.

I have about the same amount of money to spend on books now as I did in college and the buying power is still fairly close in used book stores, though new books that were $2.99 then are as much as $6.99 now, so I still need to be very careful I am not wasting my money on books already in my possession, only with different cover art.

When I am at last done with this purge I will print out my Library Thing booklist (all 38 pages of it) and work my way around the house, marking the ones I still own. Then I will go back and tag the darn things in Library Thing so I can look them up on my phone when I am in a bookstore and see that, yes, I do in fact already own “Because of You” only my copy doesn't have a picture on it, which is why I didn’t recognize it.

That part of this purge probably won’t be completed until May or so but then it will be done and I buy so few books I ought to be able to maintain it.

Havoc is starting to enjoy chapter books. He’s going to need a list of his own soon.


Creative Junkie said...

It never ceases to amaze me the sheer amount of books you not only own but have read!

And I love your spreadsheet method ... it speaks to my anal retentive, OCD tendencies.

Kresta said...

Woe, I can't believe how many you have!!

Too Many Hats said...

You are one organized bookie :)

BTW, ds-13 wanted to get a new book and I was telling him about your love of David Eddings. Dh overheard and said he LOVED that author too. Sadly, he lost all his Eddings books in a flood in 1995 :( Anyways, dh ended up taking ds to the bookstore and dh came home with an Eddings book for himself. So thanks for mentioning those books.

Deb said...

This makes me wish I had kept track of all the books I've read throughout the years! It also would help me know what is in all of those boxes marked 'books' in the garage.