Where the heck was I reading?

We all know I’m slightly OCD about many things — among them lists and record-keeping. Being both an avid reader and an obsessive traveler, armchair and otherwise, I decided 2012 would be the year I kept track of all the places I “visited” through my reading.

Inspired by Aths, I kept a running Google map with the main locations of every book I read. Because some novels spanned several towns, states or countries, I chose to catalog the “main” setting and discard the others. If an exact location was never named, I “rounded up” to the state or closest town I could find. There were exceptions to that, though, and some places had no discernible setting — or more than one place was critical to the story. So I made allowances where I wanted.

In keeping this organized tally, I was most interested to see how diversified my reading was this year. Were most of my books set in New York City or London, as it often feels? Did I read novels set in any foreign countries? Were my characters of varying racial backgrounds, descents and interests?

The answer to all of the above, I’m happy to say, is yes! Though I did read many books set in New York (16), only one (!) was set in London. I know, I’m just . . . I can’t get over it. I read others set in England, of course, but only one book set in London? Really?

I scarcely know myself.

Of the 71 books I read this year, some of the more exotic locations included:

• Beijing and Shanghai, China
• Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Gowna and Dublin, Ireland
• Vietnam
• Ghana, Africa
• Nagoya, Japan
• Madrid, Spain
• Porto Vergogna, Italy
• Kingsbridge and Milton, England
• Mumbai, India

Back stateside, my reading was pretty centered around California — not too surprising given my trip there last May. I read eight books set in the Golden State, several in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and also journeyed to destinations in states I’ve never seen in person. Among my American reading were spots in:

• Boston, Massachusetts
• St. Mary’s County and Annapolis, Maryland (home!)
• Atlanta, Georgia
• Hawaii
• Portland, Maine
• Wiscasset, Maine
• Chicago, Illinois
• Cleveland, Ohio
• Provo, Utah
• Kansas City, Missouri
• Malvern, Pennsylvania
• The Cascade Mountains of Oregon
• Dalhart, Texas
• Indiana
• Seattle, Washington

And for all the numbers fans out there . . .

28 percent of the settings were international
72 percent of the settings were in the United States

In 2013, I hope to expand my literary horizons and journey to many new and interesting locales! We’ll see how exotic I can get.

So what did I read in 2012?

1. Across The Universe by Beth Revis
2. History Of A Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason
3. What Came First by Carol Snow
4. Faith by Jennifer Haigh
5. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
6. Fatal Mistake by CB Lovejoy
7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
8. Dance Lessons by Aine Greaney
9. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene
10. Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton
11. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
12. How To Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donohue
13. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
14. The Civilized World by Susi Wyss
15. Gossip by Beth Gutcheon
16. Another Piece Of My Heart by Jane Green
17. All The Flowers In Shanghai by Duncan Jepson
18. The Singles by Meredith Goldstein
19. S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim by Cynthia Sass
20. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
21. Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
22. Apron Anxiety by Alyssa Shelasky
23. These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen
24. Bossypants by Tina Fey
25. Japan Took the J.A.P. Out Of Me by Lisa Cook
26. A Vacation On the Island of Ex-Boyfriends by Stacy Bierlein
27. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson
28. In The Bag by Kate Klise
29. An Object Of Beauty by Steve Martin
30. Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
31. Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
32. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
33. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
34. Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus
35. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
36. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
37. As Always, Jack by Emma Sweeney
38. And Laughter Fell From The Sky by Jyotsna Sreenivasan
39. Birthday Pie by Andrew Wooten
40. Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson
41. Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
42. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
43. The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate
44. The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
45. Point, Click, Love by Molly Shapiro
46. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
47. Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
48. Populazzi by Elise Allen
49. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
50. The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
51. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
52. Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose
53. The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
54. Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski
55. We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier by Celia Rivenbark
56. Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
57. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
58. Harvest by Richard Horan
59. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
60. Lip Service by M.J. Rose
61. Love On the Big Screen by William Torgerson
62. I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
63. You Tell Your Dog First by Alison Pace
64. The Good Woman by Jane Porter
65. Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas
66. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
67. Lunch With Buddha by Roland Merullo
68. Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole Georges
69. I Kill Me by Tracy H. Tucker
70. The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher
71. The Truth About Love and Lightning by Susan McBride

I need a list for all my lists

I’m a list-maker. When I get stressed out about the five thousand things I have going on — like, you know, right now — I begin to draft lists upon lists of what I want to accomplish, things I need to do or purchase, and obligations I’ve made. I update my Google Calendar religiously. My desk is littered with scraps of paper and scribbled notes: shopping lists for the grocery store and Target; discontinued car brands I can’t feature on the front of my Automotive section at work; recipes I want ot try; appointments; addresses of friends I want to send Christmas cards this year.

It’s basically a hot mess, friends. While some of my lists are typed up as carefully-crafted Word documents — like the one outlining everything I’m buying for Christmas, the recipient, the price tag, whether I’ve already purchased it, etc. — most are on Post-Its, receipts and scratch paper. I’m “organized,” yes, but it’s a messy chaos. It’s organization on crack.

The only list which is quite organized, it seems? My book wishlist. Scrolling through the countless blogs I enjoy every day, I add titles like an addict getting her fix. Maybe the novel features a dynamic main character, a fun love story or winning female friendships — and comes highly recommended by a trusted blogger friend. Or perhaps I just dig the cover. Whatever the reason, I keep meticulous track of what I want to pick up on Goodreads, carefully “tagging” and categorizing my entries.

Is it a little obsessive-compulsive? Maybe. When I’m hanging out in the blogosphere, I keep my Goodreads account open at all times. I can’t risk missing something, you know.

One of these days, I’m going to get really crazy and re-order that massive list — which currently holds 156 titles — into what I most want to purchase/borrow next.

But, you know, I’m not quite at that level yet.

How do you organize your wishlist? On Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc.? On a spreadsheet? On scrap paper — or just in your lovely head?