How I maintain my want-to-read list
For many years, my system was basically this: every time I came across a compelling book recommendation, I added the book to my want-to-read list on Goodreads.
The list was frustrating because it lacked context. Aside from the most recently added books, I could never remember why I’d added a given book. Where had I come across the recommendation? Who had recommended it, and why? And what did my past self think I would get out of it? After a few years, my want-to-read list had grown to more than 600 books, and was completely uncurated. It effectively represented a list of books I had heard of. Not very useful.
Luckily, there was an easy fix: start keeping track of context. I switched from Goodreads to Google Sheets, and made a spreadsheet with the following columns:
- Date added
- Context of recommendation
- Reason why future-me might be interested
To make it as easy as possible to add to the list, I have the sheet bookmarked in my browser and also have a shortcut on my phone’s homescreen. Adding this information takes a bit longer than saving the book on Goodreads, but it makes the list way more useful.