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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Write it Down!!!

I have said this at least a million times, and it is part of Becky's Ten Rules of Basic RA Service, but it deserves repeating...write down something (preferably adjectives) about every book you read! Yes, I used an exclamation point.

If you are a reader, whether you are also a librarian or not, I urge you to record something about every book you read.  It does not have to be long reports like my What I'm Reading reviews.  Just write something.  I am a big fan of picking three words to describe a book.  As soon as you finish, simply write three words or phrases that describe the appeal of the book.

Don't waste your time writing about the plot.  A few clicks of the mouse, and the plot can be revealed.  How the book made you feel? Was it character centered or plot centered?  What was the pace?  What was the overwhelming tone or mood of the book?  This is information you will not be able to recreate in the future.

It sounds overwhelming at first, but I promise you that once you get in the habit of jotting down a few notes, you will do it automatically.

Now, I want to take it a step further.  Write these notes down somewhere that you can pull them up anywhere.  In other words, put them on the web somewhere.  I use Shelfari, but you could keep a Google doc, use another book site like GoodReads.  This way you have not only written something down about everything you read, but you can recall the information anywhere you have web access.

I am constantly surprised to hear that many librarians out there are not writing anything down about what they read.  These same people are shocked by how much I remember.  My secret is not a great memory, it is writing something down about what I have read and then being able to quickly search for it and retrieve it when I want to "remember."

Try it.  Do not go back and recreate books you have already read.  Simply start with the next book you finish.  Record at least three words about the book.  You will be surprised by how much it will help you to help your readers.

1 comment:

rebecca said...

Soooo true!!! I can never remember what I read, so I am so happy that Shelfari exists!!