Book wishlists: A real fine place to start?

booksSitting in the living room last night, my sister fixed me with a stare over the textbook she was studying. Feeling her green eyes boring into the side of my face, I eventually glanced up from the novel I was reading.

“If someone wanted to buy you books for Christmas,” Katie asked, “. . . how would they possibly know where to start?”

The question came out of left field, sure, but that’s nothing new with my sister — a woman known for her inquisitive nature, rapid-fire thought processes and huge leaps in conversations. One minute we’re talking about Christmas shopping, and the next? Celebrity gossip. Or reenacting a scene from a movie. Or laughing about something crazy that happened in high school. I guess that’s just how sisters roll; I roll with it.

So the book question? Not taken aback. I got that knowing grin my face — the coy, heart-melting one that seems to coo, “Oh my, presents for me? Really? Well, if you insist.” (Katie has the same one, so don’t go feeling sympathetic that I unleashed that on her, the poor little lamb.)

I started thinking about how I keep track of the books I purchase — and the books I want. I know some folks compile actual wishlists on Amazon and, from what I understand, they can be pretty detailed. At some point or other, I’m sure I started my own; however, I’ve found the absolute best way for me to keep track of the novels I haven’t yet gotten in my hot little hands is through BookMooch. It does double duty: my wishlist on the site obviously tracks whether a book I want becomes available and lets me “mooch” it, but it also serves as a running list of everything I’ve heard about and definitely want to obtain.

Like the supremely helpful and considerate person I am, I told Katie I would send her the link. You know, to my massive wishlist — only 133 books. (Which pales in comparison to other folks’ lists, I’m sure.)

But all of this got me thinking: how do other people keep track of the novels they want to spend time with? Spreadsheets? Notebooks? Journals? Scraps of paper? Tattered napkins covered with scribbles and left at the bottom of purses or wallets? Because I like my BookMooch method, but I’m wondering if there’s something better out there. Or something that will better allow me to put my OCD toward list-making and other organizational tools to better use.

So I’m curious. Tell me if I should change my methods and, if I listen to you, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you changed the mind of one of the most hard-headed people on the planet. I could make you a button or something . . . and it might be kind of awesome.

And while I’m on the subject? I should mention how great it would be if we were all buying books for the holidays! Literacy = fun. Novels = exciting. And there’s a whole website dedicated to this movement!

20 thoughts on “Book wishlists: A real fine place to start?

  1. I have put some of the books I want on Library Thing, because I needed somethign to add to the Secret Santa form.

    I am normally the one who buys my own books, but when it comes to birthdays and holidays, I always have lists in my phone. For this Christmas, I already have:
    Books For Christmas (generic if mom and dad would like to fill my bookshelf)
    Books For Christmas Grandma (for our family exchange)
    Tyler Books (My list for my brother for my mom’s and dad’s house)

    I will pass on these lists, or just pick them up myself when my family is with me. If I know I am going to get books, I would prefer giving them a list of 3-4 or a set.

    But everyone who knows me knows how much I love to read and usually just gets me gift cards!!


  2. I only keep track of the books I have already read. I keep those in a notebook and a spreadsheet. The books I want I just keep in my head. Oddly, I never feel like anything falls through the cracks. And no one really buys me books.


  3. I actually keep both a Wishlist and a To Read list using LibraryThing.

    My ‘To Read’ list is horrifically long at 309 books. I’m not one of those people who has to own every book I read, so some of these books may be on my wishlist, but many I end up getting from the library.

    My ‘Wishlist’ is reserved for books I am DYING to have…and this is the list I actually share with those wanting to buy me gifts. That way they don’t think I’m totally nuts when I share a list of 309 books with them. I try to keep my wishlist to 50 or under…currently it’s at 45.

    I’ve often thought about getting involved with BookMooch, PaperBackSwap, or something similar. How do you like BookMooch?


    • I absolutely love BookMooch! It’s such a fun way to find novels, and I love the unexpected aspect of discovering one of the novels I want is up for grabs. You do have to be patient in order to get what you want, I’ll say that… but overall, it’s been a very positive experience! šŸ™‚


  4. I just want to browse through your book pile. Just once, please? It looks soooo inviting! šŸ™‚

    I have two lists myself- one on my local library’s site- if a book catches my attention and my library has it, it goes on this list (and is easily requestable when I want to read it). My other list is on (yes, I’m an Amazon girl :)) The books on that list are ones that I can’t get from my library, or ones that I’ve read and adored so much that I have to buy them. I also add my hubby’s Blu-Ray requests to that list so that I can keep track of them for Christmas, otherwise I would forget them all!


  5. I had a list on amazon, but who knows how long it’s been since that thing has been updated.

    I keep track of all books I’ve read and want to read on a google docs spreadsheet. It’s great for my own reference, but can be difficult to share with people. I’m working on adding a TBR list to my blog, which will be slightly shorter than the official google docs one. The only problem with that is I’ll need to updated two lists every time I find a new book I want to read. So, we’ll see how that works.


  6. I find I have so many notebooks and schedules floating around of book stuff its easy to lose track.

    My wish list I keep posted right on my blog (it is tabbed on top). This was I have easy access to it always and can update as I see a book I would love to have. Best of all. my friends and family have access to it and can see at any given time what books I am coveting. šŸ™‚


  7. Oh I told my parents to give me cash for my Christmas present. And with the money they will give (I’m demanding big), I’m gonna get books! Yee.

    I am listing through my little planner. I list books with good reviews. I also have a list on my blog (at one of the pages at the top).

    Your post is funny :]] You and your sister are funny! “.. if you insist.” LOL. Cute!


  8. I have a wishlist on Amazon, but no one really uses it. I only created it to remember what I want, that my library doesn’t have, so when I have a job I can buy more books. My parents are the only ones who prefer to buy me actual books rather than just give me a gift card, so I normally give them their own list to buy from.


  9. I have a wish list on Amazon which seems to grow everyday! My husband asks me to send it to him around Christmas time so he can pick things from it and I will still get a surprise as I won’t know what he has chosen!


  10. I must admit to providing my family with an Amazon wishlist. My hubby has always found buying my pressies so easy, using this method. He doesn’t even have to get off his bum.


  11. ha! i made a christmas last last sunday–i ripped pages out of catalogs (my husband is visual!) and emailed him links to websites. he’ll pass it around to my mom, his sister and mine, and his mom.

    i don’t have a book mooch account…but you’re making it sound too inviting for me to resist. i keep a journal (with books on the cover!) of books i read about on the blogs that catch my interest. today i’m picking up 8 books from the library that were blogger suggestions!


  12. I have a small wishlist on Amazon that I would actually like people to buy from. I also keep a huge to-read lists on Goodreads and my computer, but I may buy those, get them from paperbackswap or just borrow them from the library.


  13. I’m afraid to get started on Bookmooch!! But I do keep track of all of my reading on Goodreads. I stole the button for Buy Book for the Holidays because that’s what I’m all about!! šŸ™‚


  14. i use the amazon wishlist. simple enough to use, and they recommend other authors/books based on what you have on your wishlist. i also like it because you can mark the things you already own so it won’t recommend them.

    ā™„ erica


  15. Love this post because I’m obsessive about my lists too! I have been meaning to check out BookMooch. I remember you mentioning it in a previous post, but I haven’t really gotten around to actually checking it out and trying it. I’ll have to get on that!

    Anyhoo, currently I use a program called Evernote. It works with Firefox (and my iPhone) as a sort of notepad. When i see a review for a book I really like, I just clip it into my Evernote so I can track the book and the review (just in case I want to refer back to it in the future). Pretty nifty, eh? The only drawback is that there is a monthly limit to how much you can store on there for free. Luckily, I haven’t come anywhere near to reaching that limit. Yet.


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