I have touched on this subject tangentially when I talked about my History of Journaling and Reading but have not done a “A History of ….” post for this specific subject. After some digging it would appear that I did write on this back in ’16 when I was still at Booklikes.com. That post, “16 Years of Book Recording” had as much to do with my journey to finding Booklikes as anything. A lot of the contents from that post will be included here but since many of you weren’t around then, it will be all new. And if you were around, do you REALLY remember one single post of mine from 5 years ago? I didn’t even remember it for goodness sake! So without further ado, the next entry in Bookstooge’s A History of …… Series.
In April 2000 I began tracking what I read. I started with a little Mead 3×5 spiral notebook, much like one of these:
In it, I simply noted the date/day, title, author and genre. Mind you, this was before Goodreads was even a thought [that I’m aware of] and reviews tended to be either word of mouth or by professionals in a newspaper. I wasn’t reviewing but simply recording what I’d read, so that I wouldn’t spend “precious” reading time reading the same thing over by mistake. That had happened several times in Bible School. As my mortality was now within my gaze (I did a lot of growing up during those 3 years], I realized that I didn’t have time to accidentally re-read books, and this was before the plague of indie dreck inundated the reading world. It was also a natural outgrowth of my journaling every day during those 3 years.
In 2004-5, blogging hit my social group and we all began our own blogs and for about a year it was an explosion of words. Things began to wind down and I thought about how else I might make use of blogger. It was also at this point that my notebook began falling apart and I realized I needed to replace it. The thought of writing it all down, AGAIN, was not a nice prospect. So I decided to start typing it, at least that way it would stay online. Thus began a journey that was messy and that I’m still cleaning up today. I ended up doing one big monthly post and then at the end of the year combined them all into one ginormous annual post. Separating them into individual posts is what my Under Construction project here at WP has been all about (aye yi yi, the things you learn as you go along!)
In 2007 I joined Devilreads but didn’t really start utilizing it until 2009. Even then, I never made more than a literal handful of friends and I think it stayed in the single digits. In 2012 I actually stopped Recording my books at Blogspot and started using Devilreads exclusively. I had some real adventures while on that platform, like an author calling me out to fisticuffs and a fan telling me to stick my hand in a blender, plus some other crap. However, in ’13, with the free speech ban, I left GR. No platform that is about book reviewing gets to tell its users what must or must not be in their reviews.
When I left Devilreads, I found a new place called Booklikes.com. Having learned my lesson however, I also joined up with WordPress, Librarything, Leafmarks and began recording my reviews at blogspot again. WP, LT and Blogger were all backups and I didn’t actually interact on those sites. Booklikes was a combination of Book Reviews with a Database and Blogging all rolled into one place. It was absolutely great, until it wasn’t. Over the next couple of years the owners pretty much abandoned the site and it began to become non-functional and taken over by spam accounts. A lot of devoted fans poured their heart and energy into trying to make it viable but by late ’16 I’d had enough. Leafmarks had Folded by June 2016 as well. By November I made the Jump to WordPress full time.
I began using LT in 2013 as a backup and when Booklikes and Leafmarks folded, I began trying to be social on LT. Over the years I tried time and again to make LT my social site but its socialness is based on groups and I do not interact well with groups. It has culminated in me simply giving up on LT for any sort of social interaction. The one good thing about LT is that because it is a book database (unlike WordPress), you can export/import reviews as CSV files. I did that in ’16 which led me to yet another backup plan, but this time offline.
Calibre. An offline ebook manager which I had been using for years. Turns out, I could re-purpose it to store my reviews and back them up. Because it is a database, I can search it so much easier than any of my online places. And it has a cover grid so I can simply look at covers and jog my memory that way too. I use it a LOT when searching for specific books or authors or date data. It is a wonderful utility to have under my belt. No way I could reference books the way I do without it.
I created my WP account in 2013 and mirrored my reviews from Booklikes. In late 2016 I moved and began blogging here full time. It soon became evident that the foundation of my blog, the reviews, were in a real right mess. I began Working on the Site in 2018. Since then I have cleaned up and edited my reviews from the present all the way back to 2003. Just a couple of more years worth of data to manage and then I can think about some other blog and book related project.
Just in case you were wondering how an old review looks compared to a new one, here’s a link to the first book I recorded reading back in 2000 and one for the latest that I posted at the beginning of this month:
And that should be a wrap. If you have any questions, or want to leave a comment, by all means, please do so.