Weekly Geeks 2009-40

weeklygeeksToday’s Weekly Geeks seems like just what I need – it is all about The Tools of the Trade…or how we maintain our blogs. I will be out reading other bloggers’ tips for organization to be sure.

Ruth writes:

Book blogging, as a concept, is essentially pretty simple: If you have Internet access and an opinion about a book, you can be a book blogger. However, actually maintaining a book blog is much more complicated — our blogs are labors of love that require a lot of time, energy and devotion. For this edition of Weekly Geeks, I want to focus on the little things that make your blogging and/or reading life a bit easier. Do you use sites like GoodReads, LibraryThing or Shelfari to organize your books? Do you swear by Book Darts? Couldn’t live without your Book Buddy? Love connecting with other bloggers on sites such as Twitter? Tell us about what makes your blog tick. Is there something specific that keeps you organized or inspired?

I keep things pretty simple, but I do have some tricks to make my life easier when it comes to blogging.

Google Reader: I use the star feature of Google Reader all the time to “bookmark” posts that I want to refer to later when I’m writing a post. If I didn’t do this for the Friday Finds weekly meme (hosted by Jenn at Should be Reading every Friday), I would never remember where I had seen a book featured. I am not sure that using stars to bookmark was Google’s intent (given their extensive help list on the subject of starred items), but it works for me!

Library Thing: I catalog my books at this terrific site and I use tags liberally which helps me do my end of the year post. I tag books for the BEST OF each year, which ones came to me for review or as ARCS, as well as MUST READS and by subject or genre. I also use tags to indicate prize winners. You can check out my library here and see all the tags here (by clicking on a tag, it will take you to a page which lists all the books under that tag). I paid the $25 lifetime membership fee quite some time ago so that I could catalog an unlimited number of books (the unpaid membership restricts how many books you are able to add to your library) and it is well worth it to me. LT has tons of different features and keeps adding to them all the time. If you are a statistics person, you will love LT’s Zeitgeist feature, as well as their statistics page for every person’s library.

Google Spreadsheets: This is another feature on Google that helps keep me organized. I keep a spreadsheet for my ARC and Review books which show where the book came from, when it was (0r is about to be) published and if there is a “deadline” for when I must read it. I also have a spreadsheet specifically for the Read-A-Thon so that I can keep track (hour to hour) the number of pages read, who I visited during the event, the mini-challenges I completed, and the number of hours spent blogging or taking a break. The cool thing with Google is that you can share your documents and spreadsheets with others if you’d like to.  For example, here is last October’s spreadsheet for Dewey’s Read-A-Thon.

Reading Journals on my blog/Review page on my blog: These are features I developed after blogging for awhile. I keep both updated regularly and it helps me tremendously when I am trying to either find an old review, or when I do my end of the year post. I also print off my Reading Journals each year and keep them in a loose leaf notebook (I live in fear of losing the content on my blog!).

I also have some low-tech ways to make my blogging more user-friendly.

Sticky Notes: I use these liberally to mark pages in books I am reading. This is how I manage to keep track of passages I loved, or passages that support a theme of the book, etc. Sometimes I make short notes on the sticky notes to jog my memory of why I chose that particular passage.

Lap Desk: I never knew what I was missing until I bought this awesome lap desk last year at Levengers for half price. This allows me to sit wherever I am most comfortable while I am blogging. I love it!

What about you? Do you use certain tools to make blogging easier or more fun? Drop by this week’s Weekly Geeks post to leave a link to your post!

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  1. Lots of great ideas in this post! Seems like I’m always learning something new and helpful about Google Reader. I’ll have to try the Google spreadsheets too – looks like a great system!

  2. I love this post – Sticky notes – yes please…

    I also have to make my jottings as I read… and also Google Reader – couldn’t leave without mine…

    Thanks for reminding me of these…

    Happy Weekly Geek….


    • Lexi on October 17, 2009 at 12:00

    I really like your spreadsheet for the Read-a-Thon. I had trouble keeping track of my stats last time (didn’t really try to the time before that), so maybe keeping a spreadsheet would help. Mind if I borrow your idea?

  3. I haven’t used Sticky Notes on books since I was in college. My post is here.

    • Staci on October 17, 2009 at 14:04

    I didn’t know about that feature on Google Reader….soon I hope to get high speed so I just may have to use this one!!

  4. Great post! I love reading about what other bloggers do to keep on top of what they’re reading. I especially appreciate you sharing how you keep track of your favorite posts of the week for your Friday Finds. Thanks for all the tips.

    • Mel U on October 17, 2009 at 15:11

    Some great tips-I just now signed up for Library Thing-I am on goodreads.com and like it a lot-I use their listing features to keep track of my reads and my TBR list and I have a number of fellow book bloggers whose comments I enjoy reading-

    • Kerrie on October 17, 2009 at 15:58

    Thanks for revealing all. It is interesting to see what other tools people use. Like you i sometimes use simple things like sticky notes as memory joggers for when I later write the review of the book.

  5. Great tools, great post … I use a few of these too including Google Reader, LibraryThing and I have a Lap Desk but not as cool as yours. I think it’s time to upgrade. I used to use sticky notes but, horror of horrors I have gone back to my old student practice of writing in the margins – I note plot points, great language and other literary things (by just writing “lang”, “irony” or somesuch), things that make me laugh (“ha!”) and so on. It looks inane to others but I know what I’m doing. And as I go I write little notes on one of the blank endpapers under headings like Themes, Style/Language, Structure etc as my thoughts on the book come together. I often put page refs here. When I go to write up a book this summary at the back is where I start… Oh and I do all this lightly in pencil so I can erase if I want to!

    • Trisha on October 17, 2009 at 19:07

    I had not thought about using Google Docs for my personal reading lists, but I love the idea of being able to share. I also like the way you use the starring option on Google; I’ve been using it for things I want to read more closely, books that sound good, posts I enjoyed….and now I have a ridiculous amount of posts starred. 🙂

  6. I use Goodreads for my To Read list and for some of my reviews. Started to list all my books on Library Thing but gave up – too many to do.

  7. I agree about the star on google reader for bookmarking. It works great for me.

    Weekly Geeks: What Tools? What Trades?

    • Jenners on October 18, 2009 at 17:10

    Thanks for the great tips!!! I could definitely use the starring feature to mark blog posts I want to remember — I just never thought of what I could do with it and now I know!!!!

    • Wendy on October 18, 2009 at 17:12

    Rhapsody: Glad I was able to help! I love the spreadsheets…way fun!

    Erotic Horizon: *smiles* You’re welcome…and happy Geeky week to you too 🙂

    Lexi: Feel free to copy my spreadsheet and use it as you wish! That’s why I shared it 🙂

    Pusserboots: I couldn’t live without my sticky notes 🙂

    Staci: Oh, the Google stars are fantastic. I guarantee you’ll get addicted to using them!

    Bookshelf Monstrosity: You’re welcome…glad to help!

    Mel U: I hope you’ll love Library Thing as much as I do!

    Kerrie: I love this week’s topic…it is so fun to see what other bloggers are doing, isn’t it?

    Whispering Gums: Oh, I can’t bring myself to write in my books *laughs* But I also like the stickies because it is like a bookmark of sorts so I can find the passages more quickly!

    Trisha: My starred items are also getting a bit out of control of late!!! The other cool thing with Google docs and spreadsheets is that you can insert the link in a post to share with your readers…

    Book Bird: I list my books either as I read them, or as I acquire them. I have a lot of books on my TBR shelf which have not been entered into LT yet…but eventually they will all be there!

    Gautami: Glad to hear you’ve also discovered the Google stars!

    • Wendy on October 18, 2009 at 17:12

    Jenners: Glad to help! Have fun!

  8. To each their own Wendy! Pencil is pretty unobtrusive – and reversible. Do you leave the sticky notes in? Or take them out when you’ve finished?

    • Wendy on October 18, 2009 at 17:47

    WhisperingGums: *nods* Although I would probably be too lazy to go back and erase! I pull the sticky notes out as I write my review…I figure my review gives the passages and pages where they were…and my final thoughts, so I don’t leave the stickies in the book.

  9. That $25 for lifetime membership at LibraryThing is a great investment! Helps me stay so organized, and a great resource for reviews and recommendations.

    I’ve only just started using the Google Docs … I have a lot to learn, but I can see the potential.

    Have fun with the readathon 🙂

  10. Yes, I paid the $25 for Library Thing too. Great investment. One of the reasons I chose it over some of the others that were around at the time is that I can export the data so that I can have a spreadsheet listing on my own system (just in case LT goes belly-up – I didn’t want to have to input all that data all over again.) Must admit though that I don’t really use the reviews and recommendations there as I can’t keep up with what I hear through my bookgroups, friends and blogs.

    Oh, and I don’t go back and erase! It’s just that I do it that way so that I could if I wanted to!! LOL

    • Wendy on October 23, 2009 at 14:03

    Whispering Gums: I know what you mean about having a back up. I am so untrusting of data stored on ANY site! I don’t read a ton of reviews there except on books I’ve already read…I love all the other features though 🙂 LOL re: erasing your notes…

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