Throwback Thursday or A Long Long Time Ago in the days before Goodreads…

Apologies for the handwriting!
Apologies for the handwriting!

Last week I was having a bit of a clear out and came across a diary from 2007. Goodreads was just a twinkle in some web gurus’ eye in 2007, so I kept track of what I read the old fashioned way. By writing a list in the back of my Moleskine diary.

It’s fun to have a look back at what I was reading seven years ago.

What struck me the most is how many of these books I have no recollection of whatsoever! Seriously.

The Weight of Numbers? Not a clue.

Electricity? Can’t even picture the cover. *

The same goes for JPod (by a once favourite author Douglas Coupland), The Hiding Place (I think there were some sisters involved) and D Is For Deadbeat, which I remember as being a generic crime thriller I got from the library and not much else. It gets worse though.

I bought a copy of The Observations by Jane Harris just last year and it’s sitting on my bedside table, counted among the 746. Yet it appears that I read it seven years ago and can’t remember it at all. Is this normal? Maybe the nature of literary fiction and the amount of it that I read means that I can’t retain memories of all these stories. Does this say more about the books in question or more about me?!

As I am taking part in Non Fiction November, it was also interesting to see that I read quite a few biographies and non-fiction books, including Bill Buford’s Heat, The Divine Matrix (I recall an attempt to get my head around quantum physics!) and Goddess – a biography of Marilyn Monroe, tellingly read straight after Joyce Carol Oates’ majestic Blonde. I read Judith Levine’s Not Buying It in an attempt to curb some of my superfluous spending, but clearly that didn’t work – book-wise at least!

The list also reminded me of my beautiful holiday in Crete that year – I read Battle Royale, Ghostwritten, An American Tragedy, Invisible Monsters and That’s Me in The Corner (borrowed from the hubbie when I ran out of books!). It was so hot that the pages of Battle Royale fell away from the book but it’s nice to remember a time when it was possible to lounge around on the beach all day reading. Holidays with children don’t afford the same luxury!

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There are some duds in here too, I started watching Dexter in 2007 and read the book for comparison. As I recall, the book was awful. Piers Morgan’s autobiography may have been full of smarmy self-aggrandizing, but it was also chock full of hilarious celebrity anecdotes to more than make up for Piers and his self-love. I’m also surprised that I read two Harlan Coben books in a row. I was slightly disappointed with Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk as I’d heard that people had been fainting at his readings from one particular story, but although grossed out a little, I stayed fully conscious the whole time. Sushi For Beginners was my one and only attempt to read chick-lit, figuring that no one does it better than Marian Keyes and while the book was diverting fun, it didn’t convince me to read more of the genre!

Another thing that strikes me when looking at this list, is the amount of books here that have been, or are being adapted for film or television – 14 in total, some more successfully than others.

Overall though, 2007 seems to have been a good reading year. The Line of Beauty, Libra, The Remains of the Day, The Year of Magical Thinking, Black Swan Green, An American Tragedy and The Road. All fabulous, fabulous books. Plus I ended the year with How To Be Free by Tom Hodgkinson, the book that inspired me to go part-time, start a card-making business and have more fun with life and a book I return to again and again when I need to remember what it important.

The 'How To Be Free' Manifesto for Life
The ‘How To Be Free’ Manifesto for Life

So, how did you all track your reading in the days before Goodreads? Do you still keep lists? Can you enlighten me as to the plot of The Weight of Numbers?!

*A quick Google search has just told me that Electricity has been made into a movie that is out this year. I read the plot synopsis. Still nothing.






































Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

38 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Haha, I have found a few on my shelves that I can’t remember reading at all. I think it’s sometimes both — either I wasn’t really involved too much in the reading of it, or the book just didn’t strike any chords with me for whatever reason.

    Does that mean your 746 is really 745? 🙂


    • It would seem so! Although, my husband was up in our attic the other day and informed me that there are at least 5 unopened boxes of books up there from when we moved house 12 YEARS AGO. So, I think I’ll be able to find a replacement. Changing everything to 745 books at this point is out of the question!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man, this happens more times than I care to admit. I used to read a lot more regularly than now, and some plots stuck, others I have absolutely no memory of what happened. I just have a feeling of whether I liked something or whether I didn’t, but no idea why.


  3. I only started keeping a list of my own after I started using Goodreads! I keep my books from my book from every country project listed on Goodreads and other books that I want to remind myself to read. I think starting to have a list there, made me want to have a more complete list of my reading. But for some reason I decided not to track all of my books on Goodreads. I have started a spreadsheet where I list all of my books instead.


  4. What neat handwriting! I’d be ashamed to show mine, especially now!
    I settled down in bed the other night with a David Mitchell – was it Black Swan? First dew pages a particularly difficult and graphic birth scene. Reader, I read no more! Switched quickly to something light, praying for good dreams.


  5. I wasn’t a voracious reader before I discovered Goodreads (but that doesn’t mean that Goodreads made me a voracious reader). I was able to recall the books that I read before I started using Goodreads to keep track of what I’ve read. It took me months though to complete my reading list!


  6. I found a book the other day that I can’t remember reading. It has notes in the margins that I don’t remember writing. On digging a little deeper, I realized that I must have used this book to write a paper in college. I STILL don’t remember reading or writing about it. 🙂


  7. Ha! This happens to me, too. The most surprising example of this memory lapse is The Corrections. I know I read it because I have it written down (I have kept a list since high school with ratings and everything – still do!), and it has a good rating, but I can’t remember it at all. It makes me wonder what else was going on in my life when I read that book. Usually, when I look back, I can at least remember my impression of a book, even if I can’t remember what happens.


  8. I never formally tracked what I read before I started using Goodreads, but I kept a notebook of what I WANTED to read from my early 20s into my thirties, and I’d try to check off what I read. I still have that notebook, even though most of the pages are falling out of it. It’s like a reading diary! I like the efficiency of Goodreads, but I do miss the personal nature of that old notebook.


  9. I’m pretty good when it comes to knowing which books I’ve read, but the content is another matter altogether. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging; at least this way I’ll have some record of my thoughts on each book.


  10. I used to rely on my memory – well, I eventually found that didn’t work too well after a spate of buying books only to discover I’d already read them. That’s one of the main reasons I started reviewing – I found that after a few weeks I could rarely remember much about the majority of books, sometimes not even if I’d enjoyed them or not. The process of reviewing means they stick in my mind better – and if they don’t, at least I can go back and see what I thought. Saves me buying a book and then remembering that I really hate the author’s style! 😉


  11. This strikes such a chord. I started my blog because I thought that writing about book would fix them better in my mind, after deciding I’d like to read a particular author, finding several of her books on my read list, and remembering nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I actually started reviewing on Amazon as a way of remembering what I’d read – the number of times I picked up a book only to think ‘this seems familiar’ is too numerous to count! I love looking back to see what I was reading too – love this post although The Observations was a read for me too – I don’t recognise many of the others.


  13. Yes I’m the same – I’ve even bought the same books twice within weeks of each other. Or bought them for the Kindle when I already have a hard copy. I too loved The Line Of Beauty, and remember it well (although that’s possibly been aided by the TV adaptation, which was also fantastic!) I’ve just discovered your blog, and shall be following it avidly, as by the look of that list we have fairly similar tastes!


  14. I’m a bit paranoid so I keep track on Goodreads and Google docs! I also keep a list of library books I borrow for the kids on Goggle docs!


  15. Love the list! I kept a handwritten list for a long time and then I moved it to Excel. I might not remember plots or specifics of books I read years and years ago, but I thankfully can almost always remember titles. There have been a few times where I’ve started to re-read a book and was like OMG I’ve read this I can’t wait until XYZ and then I just move through it faster!

    Personally I think it makes it easier for the beautiful and meaningful books to stay with us when the rest of the books become background. It’s like when you meet people some will stay with you forever and many will fade away.


  16. Oh man. Before GoodReads, it was LibraryThing (which I actually use alongside GoodReads because I’m paranoid about one or the other crashing). Before that I was in undergrad, so I didn’t track what I read for fun, I just read! Before that, I had a binder I wrote all the titles down in. No idea where it is now.


  17. Booklovers are such list makers. I kept a paper list for years too. Keeping track of what I read is why I started my blog. Now I realize that I rarely write down reviews or my thoughts about the books I read which is another reason I started my blog. I need to get back to that even if its mini thoughts. Thanks for reminder.

    Not Buying It is one of the books I ordered from Paperbackswap. Its been on my wish list for a long time. While I don’t need help not buying stuff, I love to read people’s journeys. I’m going to have to add How to be Free to my wish list.


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