Observation note 111: I’m an avid reader. I reached a personal milestone this weekend. I have read 2500 books since I started keeping my own digital reading records. Starting on WeRead from 2008, then migrating my data over to Goodreads in 2012 where I joined many of my other bookish friends (this probably coincides with my ceasing to post my reading choices on FB). This is the only social media platform I use consistently, facilitating nearly a decade and a half of record keeping – the habits of avid readers!
Diligently adding information to my digital reading record grew out of my readers’ advisory practices as a librarian. My access to my library records prior to using these book sites provided only a partial snapshot of my reading as it didn’t include the books I was buying and reading outside of the library. The books I found myself buying also informed me as to the biases in library collections.
Keeping track of my reading has always helped me in my workplace in understanding user behaviours and anticipating reading requirements, especially during my time as a team leader at the City of Sydney where I was coordinating up to 7 storytimes a week for the various childcare centres in Ultimo (separately from the children’s programming) which explains the “library-storytime” tag (143 books) where I was assessing picture books for performance suitability. But even once I stopped working in libraries, I couldn’t stop the record keeping. You can take the librarian out of the library, and all that.
Now for some statistics: My year for the most books read was in 2012 – 365 books. My year for the least books read was 2013 – 26 books. The years I spent studying deeply impacted my book reading outputs, especially as many of those years I was working in two jobs, along with studying, along with general family and home responsibilities. Reading opportunities in those years became treats and luxuries, though the list would be off the scales if I was able to count journal articles on GoodReads!
I have approximately 580 subject tags “shelves”, though my early records don’t have many tags, my later ones are rich with description – this practice emerged as the digital world became more sophisticated. Folksonomic categorisation rather than taxonomic predetermined ordering systems FTW! My highest read genre is romance fiction (814), picture books (599), non-fiction (589). I love that along standard tags such as “graphic novel” (64 books), “historical fiction” (86 books), I get to created my own descriptors and some of the more esoteric ones are “bat shit crazy” (10 books), “fake name trickery” (23 books), “yeeha cowboy” (27 books) and “hatch-back hero” (a pathetic 2 books). I even have a “vassiliki” tag for books with characters who have my name (5 books).
Reading Note 46: Furious fury. For the record, my 2500th book was Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. Added to my TBR in March 2019. It’s on the obfuscation of women from data collection and its deep life and historic impacts. It made me incredibly angry at the extent that womens’ lives continue to be marginalised from health, education, road safety, employment and every day life opportunities. Men continue to be the default at the expense of women’s lives. I think this book should be a must read for everyone, especially policy and decision makers.