:books: 2018 Reading List Recap/Update

- 7 mins

Previous reading list posts


New in Reading Tech

A few more items that rocked my world with respect to reading. For last year’s list, see New in Reading Tech in 2017.

The year I discovered Audiobooks

By a series of serendipitous events, I came to listen to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Daily Show) at the same time as two of my coworkers, and it turned into the most wonderful, impromptu audio book club and made me a forever fan of audiobooks.

Following Born a Crime, I’ve listened to 6-7 more audiobooks and that is a medium now firmly part of my reading experience.

For any other readers looking to wade into audiobooks, a couple of observations below:

Checking for Goodreads books on Overdrive

Goodreads has been a trusty companion these past three years as I have rediscovered reading. After years of tracking potential books to read in Word documents, on my iPhone, on Evernote etc., my system now is fairly simple: I hear about a new book on NPR, on a podcast, in a newsletter, or from a friend, look it up on Goodreads and add it to my ‘Want to Read’ shelf, and tag it to my current year reading list.

This has the benefit of maintaining a single comprehensive reading list, accessible via multiple mediums, and providing additional reviews and links I can use to decide if I want to read the book.

Where this process has occasionally gotten clunky is when it is time to actually buy / borrow the book. I am a huge fan of libraries, and with Overdrive making it so easy to borrow a book, I like to borrow them when I can. The most user-friendly way to search Overdrive has been via the Libby app on my phone - I have more than one library card, and Libby looks the book up in all libraries you have access to and borrows the book wherever it is available.

The process, although clunky, works great as long as I am looking up a couple of books at a time. But, come the holidays or any kind of vacation, I stock up on 5-10 books to read on the flights and in hotel rooms, and this is where the Libby lookup process becomes time consuming.

After recently returning from a vacation where I read quite a few books but had to spend quite a bit of time and thumb power looking up all the books on Libby, I decided to flex my Python skills to build such a solution if one didn’t exist. Luckily, someone has already found a way and built a helpful Chrome add-in.

The add-in is easy to add to your browser, easy to configure and very effective at a glance.

Adding books to Goodreads from an Amazon page

Most online articles link directly to the Amazon page of a book, and it has been easy to add the book to one of my Amazon lists for tracking. This inevitably causes two separate book lists that I end up having to merge periodically. Given that Amazon owns Goodreads, I expected an easier way to just ‘Share’ the book to Goodreads from the Amazon page or even add to one of the Goodreads shelves directly from the ‘Add to List’ menu. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to find any such button or any Chrome add-in to hack in this functionality.

Once again, the internet comes to the rescue. This is a javascript snippet that can be added to any browser as a bookmark: it launches the Goodreads site on a new tab and searches for the title of the book you currently have open on Amazon. It has not failed me yet for mainstream, English-language titles.

Books & Long-form Reads

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

3. The Library Book by Susan Orlean


1. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

2/3. Ready Player One and Armada by Ernest Cline

4. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

5. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

6. Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham

7. Hillbilly Elegy in Crisis by J.D. Vance

8. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Books I abandoned

1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

2. What If by Randall Munroe

I list this one here a little reluctantly as I thoroughly enjoyed every page I did read, and I am probably more than 65% of the way through the book. This is one I will definitely pick up again in the future.

Arti Annaswamy

Arti Annaswamy

Data analytics, process improvement, project management, coffee drinking

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