Imagine this: going to sleep at night with a book under your pillow. When you wake up the next morning, you are infused with the story or information within that book. You feel the emotions you would have felt as if you had read it the old fashioned way. You know the characters, the words, the feelings — all as though you’d been awake all night consuming this book. Reading by osmosis – it has to be in a lab somewhere, right?
But while those scientists continue to work away, you still have that never-ending TBR (to be read) pile to get through! Several months ago I blogged about all of the ways that I try to keep track of TBRs. At the time I was using a ton of different methods – GoodReads, LibraryThing, Pinterest, pen and paper, whatever. But I never figured out the exact setup that would ensure that, no matter where I am, I can access the list of books that I’ve been looking for.
I would be at a bookstore trying to access my LibraryThing list on my phone, but then realizing that the last few books that I’d added on my wishlist were actually on my goodreads account. I’d be juggling different apps back and forth and then I’d freeze – “wait a minute! I’m supposed to be saving money and using the library!” And then I’d try to look up what was available at the library on my phone before buying anything and – well, I think you can imagine what this INFP did. I’d put everything back on the shelf and just rush out of the store.
But recently, I’ve been using a system that seems to be working. Now, hang with me, because it’s multiple steps. But I don’t do all of the steps at once, so it’s been possible to keep on top of it.
Step 1. Paper and Pencil. In my bullet journal over the last couple of months, I have filled up two pages of books to look for. If I only know the title or the author, that’s okay. I write down what I have and can fill in the rest later. I see and hear recommendations from so many different places: podcasts, other blogs, friends, newspapers, on the shelves of bookstores, my dreams (okay, not really)…. Whenever I hear something that pulls at my ear, I write it down. I haven’t been writing down where the recommendation comes from, but I think I’m going to start doing that soon. I know that I owe a lot of credit to others, but have a hard time remembering where individual books originally came from.
Step 2. When I have a few minutes, I hop onto my Overdrive account. Do you know about Overdrive? If you use your public library, call them and ask if they participate. It’s such a fantastic tool – in New Hampshire, all public library patrons have access to the New Hampshire State Library Account. And within this account is access to all of the books that the state has bought privileges for (at least, I think that’s how it works. I know that I’ve heard of other people finding books on Overdrive that aren’t available to me, so I think your access depends on what main library account you’re associated with). There are ebooks and audiobooks galore! I go through my recent TBR adds and search for all of them. If they’re available on Overdrive, I add it to my Overdrive wishlist and then check them off of my paper and pen TBR list.
The downside to Overdrive is that there always seems to be a waiting list for the more popular titles. But I’m growing more patient and have realized that I’m okay waiting if necessary. There are plenty of other books that are available to me immediately to fill in the gaps while I wait. In New Hampshire, you can only have a hold (or be on the waitlist) for five books at a time. So my holds list is always full. After I’m able to check out a book, I go into my wishlist and decide which book I want to get on the list for next. Having this wishlist already put together makes it quicker for me to find the books on Overdrive that I want to read, without doing the same searches over and over again.
I prefer Overdrive to any other library service because it can be hard for me to get to the library during the hours that they are open. It’s not impossible and I utilize my public library a lot, but if there is another way I can get my hands on a book, then I will. But that brings me to my next step.
Step 3. If the book isn’t on Overdrive or if I cannot.wait.to.read.this.book (omg!!), then I go onto my public library’s catalog and search for it there. My library has its own version of a wishlist, which is called a bookbag. If the book is available, I will add it to my bookbag. And then the next time I go to the library, I can pull up my bookbag on my phone and remember which books were available that I’ve been wanting to read. If the library has the book but it’s checked out, I can sign up to be on a hold for it. Once I’m sure that I can get a book at the library, I’ll check it off of my pen and paper list.
Step 4. If the book isn’t available at Overdrive or the public library, then I leave it on my pen and paper list without a checkmark. When I go to a bookstore or am browsing Amazon, I can check my list and know that any book on there isn’t available to me in another way, so I can buy it guilt free!
And in only four steps, I seem to have solved one of the most distressing things in my reading life (please don’t get mad, only in my reading life. I have other distressing things in my other lives and know that, overall, this is a ridiculous thing to cause distress).
But, if there was only a way to take the text of the novel from overdrive straight to my brain and heart…. I’ll update you if I figure that one out!