A reading list. It sounds so simple in the large scheme of things but it could be what is standing between you and meeting your goals.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Deep, right?
Now, let’s briefly put this iconic quote into context, shall we?
We all want to succeed in every little task we embark on. Whether it’s at home where you want to successfully complete a DIY project, at the office where you want to land that elusive promotion but can’t quite figure out how to go about it, or even at the gym… remember the fitness goal you set out as part of your New Year’s resolution?
To achieve all these objectives, you must have a plan in place. Success doesn’t just happen without some sort of strategy. So, in a nutshell, if you don’t take time to put a plan together, your goals will have little chance of being met.
Many of us love to read books. Some of us even set yearly targets of how many books to read and push ourselves to break our own records. This is admirable not to mention motivating.
However, if you are a serious book reader or if reading is an activity you are planning to take on, you can’t start reading books randomly without following some sort of structure or strategy that includes a reading list or a book list.
A reading list is not your typical to-do list that’s scribbled onto a sticky note and which most of the time always ends up sitting pretty on your computer screen.
If you want to take your book reading to the next level, then you have to know how to organize books using a reading list.
Why Do I Need to Create a Reading List & What Are the Benefits?
Whether you are a seasoned bookworm or just a beginner, a book reading list is an essential part of the entire reading experience. Many people don’t enjoy reading books as much as they used to and this is simply because the whole experience doesn’t thrill them anymore or they simply can’t keep up.
If you are one of these people and you want to reignite that good old reading passion, then take a look at the list below that will help you understand why you need to create an effective reading list.
1. To Keep Tabs on the Books You’ve Read
Most bookworms and beginners alike start off with a passion and a drive to read as many books as they can. The thrill that comes with breaking your own book reading record is second to none.
But as the list of books you’ve read gets longer, the chances of forgetting some of the books you’ve finished years ago also go higher.This, believe it or not, will eventually slow you down as you spend a good chunk of your time trying to recall the books that you’ve read, what they were all about, the authors, or even the plot. This alone can be frustrating to the extent where you eventually start losing interest in reading more books.
2. To Save Your Valuable Time
If reading is important to you then you need to set aside adequate time so that you can do it effectively. If you spend the majority of your time sifting through your bookshelf desperately trying to find out if the books that a fellow bookworm has recommended are among the ones you’ve read, then you are in for a challenging reading experience.
An effective reading list eliminates this annoying and energy-depriving exercise by making it remarkably easy to identify the books you’ve read and those that you haven’t.
3. To Become a Great Resource to Other Readers
Birds of a feather stick together, right? Just as you’ve benefitted from other readers’ experiences and recommendations in the past, you can help others find books they would love. And, why not, become an influencer in the process?
The main purpose of reading books is to obtain knowledge, get valuable insights, and most importantly, learn from the author’s experience. The more books you read, the more knowledge and insights you get. With this, you ultimately become a reference point for other bookworms who would want to constantly tap into your deep knowledge of books.
4. To Track Your Achievements
Reading consistently is not that easy. It takes time and money. For instance, the average annual expenditure on books per consumer unit in the United States was 25.42 U.S. dollars in 2019.
According to Pew Research, 72 percent of Americans say they have read a book in the past 12 months in any format.
Hitting a reading milestone is, therefore, an important step in your book reading journey. It acts as a motivator and inspires you to achieve more, even when you feel like this is an expensive hobby or like you can’t keep up with other readers. This is what an effective reading list can help you do – keep you motivated by tracking your book reading achievements.
5. To Significantly Boost Your Reading Skills and Become a Rockstar Reader
One common goal among avid readers is to get out of their comfort zone and expand their niche to include other topics. Without an effective reading list, this goal is hard to achieve. A reading list will help you to segment your topics accordingly making it possible for you to identify your weaknesses and strengths per niche.
Now that you are familiar with why you now need an effective reading list, let’s tackle the process of creating one that will work for you.
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How to Create a Reading List?
While the reasons why you should always have a reading list are now pretty obvious, it can sometimes be difficult to get started. Creating a reading list is an important part of being an efficient reader, so here’s a couple of steps you should go through before getting started with your brand new reading list.
1. Decide what you will use your reading list for
The general purpose of a reading list can vary significantly depending on your needs and desires and it can affect the final outcome. Your first step in creating a helpful reading list is deciding what you want to achieve thanks to it.
Whether it’s a reading list dedicated to you becoming a better professional in your field of activity, one for recreational reading or simply a list dedicated to acquiring a new skill or general self development, you should know this right from the start.
This can affect how you create the list (which one of the methods below you will end up choosing), how you organize the list and what titles you will add to it.
2. Choose the method that suits your needs
Once the purpose of the reading list is determined, you can start looking at methods and options for creating it. Below is probably the most complete and comprehensive collection of possible methods for creating a reading list, with a ton of arguments for and against each method. Spoiler alert: reading apps in general, but especially Basmo, would be the best way to go.
It is up to you to weigh in all the necessary factors for making the right decision, but it’s important to choose a method and stick with it. Switching methods after you start populating a reading list and transferring all the titles from a list in a medium to one in another medium is a difficult and time consuming task.
3. Start populating the list with titles
Now that you have a reading list waiting to get populated, things start to really get interesting. It’s important to not let yourself get overwhelmed by the fact that you’re staring at a completely empty list and understand right from the start that populating a list is a constantly ongoing process.
Whether it’s a general reading list with titles from all genres or a specific list with a clear purpose, there are a couple of tried and tested ways of always finding new titles to add to it.
Get recommendations from friends and family
Those around you know you best and could surprise you tremendously with some pretty spot on recommendations. Never be ashamed to ask them what they think you should read next.
Find books related to your hobbies
Whether it’s origami, chess, modelage or pretty much anything else, you can be 100% sure that there is at least one book about your hobby out there. And not only will you find great instructional books meant to take your skills to the next level, but you may find some pretty great novels with stories built around a character’s love for a passion you also have.
Find books relevant to your profession
Improving the skills that are important to your work is a guaranteed way towards success, regardless of the field you work in. Reading books about your profession or simply relevant to your profession will help tremendously in your career. Make sure you always have a couple of titles lined up either in a separate, dedicated reading list or in your general one.
Add books you’ve always wanted to read but never found the time
Indulging yourself from time to time is not a crime. It can actually be quite good for you. Always keep a couple of titles in your reading list that you always wanted to read but always fell lower in your list of priorities. Some guilty pleasures are always welcome in your reading list. They will make you feel better exactly when you need it the most.
4. Stick to the list and never stop populating it
Once you’ve started working on a list, keep adding titles to it whenever you hear of one that could be a nice read for you in the future. It’s important to be consistent and to populate it constantly in order to avoid having long breaks between the books you read.
Book hangovers are no fun and having a constantly populated reading list is the safest way of avoiding them.
What are the Best Reading List Apps to Organize Your Books?
The process of creating an effective reading list doesn’t necessarily have to be overly complicated and is determined by the tool you use to create it in the first place.
The internet is now home to a variety of productivity applications that have been designed to help us perform tasks efficiently. Reading books can be enhanced significantly if you use a specialized app that allows you to create and organize a book list. These apps are packed with handy features that will make your reading experience more enjoyable and more worthwhile.
Your ultimate reading list will depend on what exactly you want to accomplish at the end of the day. With this in mind, you can create a reading list using:
What happens if you want an app that has it all — comprehensive book list-building capabilities, the ability to tag books, to save quotes, or even to scan the pages you liked best?
If you’re the kind of reader who doesn’t want to compromise on keeping tabs on the books they’ve read, you have to check out Basmo – a revolutionary book tracker designed for lovers of all types of books. Basmo allows book readers to effectively track all sorts of books from printed books and eBooks to audiobooks.
With Basmo, everything on your reading list is safe within the app. Basmo also has a free version that you can use forever (it is NOT a free trial with a time limit), making it ideal for book lovers that are operating on a tight budget.
It’s so easy to create and organize a reading list with Basmo that you could do it in your sleep after the first try.
Check out this simple 3-step process:
- Go to the My Books tab on your Basmo home screen.
- Scroll down to Book Collections and tap View all collections.
- Tap + Create book collection to add a new collection.
- You can name it anything you want and start adding books to it.
That’s it! Rinse and repeat for every new list you want to create. Of course, you can always move books between lists, add or delete new books to an existing list, and so on.
But Basmo is more than a booklist app. It can help you get more value out of every page you read — whether you read it for fun or for school or work.
For instance, with Basmo, you can easily and conveniently scan your favorite pages. This is a remarkable feature that helps you to instantly save ideas that you plan to implement in the future or quotes you loved.
Reading targets can also be easily set using the Basmo app. This feature will make it super easy for you to set and attain your reading milestones. Such achievements are a great motivator that can, in turn, encourage you to read more books.
Goodreads is probably the most common and well known platform dedicated to readers and it’s not surprising to learn that it can be used for creating and populating reading lists.
Despite its popularity among book lovers, we found the reading list feature to be rather disappointing. Even though I like the general social aspect of Goodreads, when it comes to reading lists I would usually choose something else.
3. Reading List
While the name suggests that it could easily be the single most amazing solution for creating and populating reading lists, the reality is quite surprising.
First of all, the fact that the Reading List app is only available for iOS users is a huge disadvantage. On top of this, I would have personally expected the app to be less limited in terms of features and functionalities.
One of the top choices of many book lovers out there, Bookly has a pretty nice history in providing readers with decent services.
The reading lists can be created rather easily, but are not as easy to update and use later on. It leaves a lot to be desired when compared to Basmo though.
5. CLZ Books
This is a pretty interesting reading list app, which comes with the thoughtful features of giving users the option to scan the barcodes of books they want to add to reading lists.
It’s a relatively useful feature if you browse libraries and shops quite regularly and want to quickly add books to your lists. Overall though, as a reading app, it is not as complete as I would have wanted it to be.
Yet another reading list app which pays no attention to Android users, focusing solely on iPhone and iPad owners, BookBuddy is a rather simplistic choice. It does what you expect it to do, but that is pretty much it.
It is a decent, no-nonsense option for reading list creation and management, but leaves quite a lot to be desired when compared to the more complex reading apps.
Dedicated apps are not the only option for creating useful and comprehensive reading lists. There’s quite a lot of other routes you can go about in order to make sure you always have a to be read list on hand. Here are some of the most popular “non-app” methods.
One of those methods comes from the well known productivity tool, Notion. Its open ended customization options led users to create all kinds of different templates and boards with several applications.
Among them we find the reading list template from Notion, which has been used by many book lovers for years now. A comparison between the Notion Reading List Template and Basmo shows that Basmo is a far superior choice though.
8. Specialized websites
While apps have proven to be quite useful for reading list creation and management, you should know that there are also quite a lot of websites you can use for this purpose. These online platforms can only be accessed via your desktop or mobile browsers, but they are decent options if you’re looking for a quick and not over complicated method. Here are the most popular ones:
9. A spreadsheet
This is what most beginner readers use to create a reading list. If you are familiar with spreadsheets, you can create a reading list to include book titles, authors’ details, genre, when you acquired the book, and when you finished reading it. You can also include your own synopsis or add comments.
10. Pen & Paper
This is arguably one of the simplest reading lists you can create. All you need is to write down every book you successfully manage to read and those that you are planning to read at some point. The downside is that your list is somewhat limited and lacks depth. This kind of reading list robs you of a great opportunity to further analyze your books – a key attribute that helps you better understand stories and plots.
But while this is a great way to start, most people are not familiar with spreadsheets, which will make this method ineffective.
What you have read, what you are currently reading, and what you plan to read next are serious matters to any avid reader. If you’re set to meet your reading goals, increase your reading speed, or help others discover new books, a good reading list app is a must.
Creating and storing your reading list in a digital format using a book list app is the most effective method that can help you become a smarter reader. With a tried-and-tested app like Basmo, your reading can dramatically improve.
While traditional methods of keeping a reading list still work, they are time-consuming, difficult to maintain, not to mention prone to errors and inconsistencies – all of which can drastically affect your reading flow and schedule.
The best way to boost your reading experience is by using a reading list app, which is a more convenient method, secure and accurate way of capturing your reading habits.
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