From here on let’s just assume I’m talking about Goodreads (because that’s where I mainly record my reading), but this could apply for any other system too.
I like to keep fairly accurate records. Fairly accurate. But not precise. I try to match my editions on Goodreads exactly but if I can’t find my edition I try to match cover/format and page number (in that order of importance). I’m not super strict about things, but I do make an effort. I just don’t go that extra mile to add a new edition. (Actually I’ve done this once ever and decided it wasn’t worth the pains because someone else would probably sort it out at some point and I ain’t no stickler for accuracy.)
I try to be fairly accurate in my ‘Currently Reading’ statuses too. If the page numbers aren’t the same as mine (or if the page numbers include a lengthy bibliography) I’ll calculate the percentage of the way through the book I am: page I’m on divided by the total pages in my copy minus bibliography.
However, I cannot tell a lie, my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf is rarely accurate. I am almost always nosing through more books than I list. But seeing the shelf overloaded on my GR dashboard can sometimes make me a bit…anxious? I don’t know why. It makes me feel guilty sometimes about starting new books without having finished past ones. But this only ever happens when the shelf gets past about 5 books. And I think it only happens when I’m aware of that GR shelf. When the shelf is out of my mind, I don’t mind if I’m currently reading 3 or 7 or 13 books! I don’t bat an eyelid. But when I see the list and click “show all 8” (like it says now) and look at the list, it feels like a testament to a fickle nature.
How does that even happen? Well, oftentimes I’ll have one or maybe two ‘main books’ I intend to read. Then I’ll see a number of novellas that seems interesting to me. “Hmm..only 120 pages? I can probably squeeze that in between these two. Take me a day maybe to get through it with distractions…” I’ll get 30 pages in and then…something happens? I have no idea what. Somehow a week later I’ve added two more novellas. (We’re up to 5 so far in case you’re counting.) Something else will catch my eye on Net Galley so I’ll start that. Then another New Galley find and it’s probably going to be archived soon so I better get on it now! (That’s 7…) Then some book with a quick, doable-under-normal-circumstances deadline pops up and I really want to get it in before that deadline and, VOILÀ! We’re up to 8.
And I actually do dip into all the books concurrently. I won’t always record insignificant advances – a page here or there. That hardly seems worth it. But, for most of them, I haven’t left them alone long enough or certainly enough to put them in a “TTNF (but BRB)” category.
I wonder, is this flakey? Should I just STOP myself and acknowledge that all the new book finds are going to still be there even if they have to wait for me to finish my current ones? Or should I just wade deeper and deeper into the dense jungle of unfinished tales?? (That’s completely rhetorical. I’m totally gonna wade forever. Always have. Always will. #WadersGonnaWade)
Hmmm. Let’s try to bring this around to a point though. If I’m honest, I don’t have any problems with my book polygamy itself. But the anxiety of making an unending list of the books that pops up and reminds me of my slow (or unmoving!) progress seems to conflict with my desire to keep neat notes on my reading. I don’t like feeling like I’m not getting any further along. No closer to knowing what I came to the books to know! And I’m not closer to having resolved feelings about it all either… But it helps to unravel the workings of a muddled mind that darts so easily from one thing to the next. I love making occasional notes from as I’m reading – a sudden plot twist? a shocking discovery? social commentary? a hilarious typo!? I’m on it!
If nothing else, I suppose my Currently Reading shelf is a peak into my mind and the things it wonders about…*
*(At least the non-comic/audiobook things because I tend to fly through those without recording progress.)
I’m not sure where I was going with this so thank you so much for sticking around. You deserve so many book-shaped cookies and your choice of hot drink, be it tea, coffee, hot chocolate or mulled wine. Don’t worry; I ain’t here to judge you! 😉