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View Full Version : How do you manage your backlog?


Droewyn
01-25-2014, 07:17 AM
I read entirely digitally these days, so it's not like I have a pile or stack of books sitting around. Given that my current backlog is creeping up on two hundred books, this is probably good for my marital relations and habitat unfuckedness.

Of course, if I were buying all my books physically at $9+ each instead of getting suckered into Amazon deals every couple days, I likely wouldn't have such a massive backlog, but whatever.

Anyway, I keep a spreadsheet with my backlogged books listed by purchase date. They're assigned a points value, with older purchases having a higher value. If I can't decide what I want to read, or I just feel like leaving my fate up to the RNG, I have an Excel spreadsheet with a weighted random list selector macro.

Teaspoon
01-25-2014, 07:24 AM
You're overthinking this. Just read something randomly if you can't decide what to go with.

Droewyn
01-25-2014, 07:35 AM
I do read something randomly. It just takes technology to make a proper random selection. The weighting is to make the RNG favor older books without eliminating the chance of selecting the ones I bought last week.

I appreciate that I am in fact way overthinking this. But I'm not really capable of otherwise. When I was a kid and couldn't decide what to listen to I would put all my cassette tapes in the wrong cases, turn them all upside-down and mix them around on my bed, stack them randomly, and then listen to the tapes in the stacked order. Excel spreadsheets are simplicity by comparison.

With video games I just play whatever sounds most fun at any given moment. They're too much of a time investment to hope the RNG gives me something I really want to play right now.

Octopus Prime
01-25-2014, 11:34 AM
"Poorly".

Thank you for asking.

McClain
01-25-2014, 12:17 PM
School is determining what I read next for the most part, but when I have free time I tend to read something "dumb" to clear my brain. There is no logic to it.

Evil Dead Junkie
01-25-2014, 01:19 PM
The only rule I try to live by is not read two of the same series in a row after I ruined Wheel Of Time for myself.

Rascally Badger
01-25-2014, 01:47 PM
I spend hours arranging my books on my bookshelf in the order I want to read them. Then I don't read them because I spent all my reading time organizing my books. Once I do start reading, I kind of grab a book at random and don't follow my set out plan. On my Kindle Fire, I try to keep them in the order I want to read them on the carousel, but I rarely end up following the order I set out.

So I guess what I'm saying is I waste a lot of time with pointless organizing.

Adrenaline
01-25-2014, 04:03 PM
Stop buying more books than you can reasonably read in a short amount of time. I know, it's hard. Maybe impossible. For me it's games, there are too many games I can play now to ever get to all of them. But books, I've managed to keep reasonable. I have five on my shelf/Kindle that I haven't read yet, but that's it.

Positronic Brain
01-26-2014, 01:48 AM
Anyway, I keep a spreadsheet with my backlogged books listed by purchase date. They're assigned a points value, with older purchases having a higher value. If I can't decide what I want to read, or I just feel like leaving my fate up to the RNG, I have an Excel spreadsheet with a weighted random list selector macro.

<3

The only thing I can add to this discussion is that I try to purchase physical instead of digital precisely because it keeps my backlog manageable. That's the reason why my reading and console backlog is ten times smaller than my Steam backlog.

Maybe I should get off my ass and code that backlog app I've had in my head for years. Stupid real life.

Yes, I have a book backlog, a movie backlog, several game backlog and a silly ideas backlog.

Positronic Brain
01-26-2014, 01:50 AM
Double post. Sorry about that!

Paul le Fou
01-26-2014, 04:06 AM
If something is borrowed it jumps up my list. Other than that, I grab what I feel like reading with a vague, general weighting for how long it's been there.

Grignr
01-26-2014, 08:46 AM
Looking back at my 2013 read list, looks like I alternate between Hot New Thing, Stuff Found on my Kindle, and Physical Backlog Weighing on my Mind. I also try to manage the time between volumes of a series so that I mix up what I'm reading but still remember what's going on. There's also the pressure of The Movie Adaptation will Reveal Spoilers and/or Hype Me Up that bumps things higher in priority. Also I will sometimes Combo on a common theme, e.g., 1893 Columbian Exposition.

Scypho
01-26-2014, 06:22 PM
It appears there's no option for 'stare at the backlog pile and weep'. I think there should be.

bobbywatson
01-27-2014, 05:22 AM
I use several spreadsheets (one for books, one for DVDs, one for games). Do I need to mention that the one for games is ten times bigger than the ones for books and DVDs combined?

Maybe I should get off my ass and code that backlog app I've had in my head for years. Stupid real life.

Same here. I was thinking of making mine in Access to save some time, but then that means I won't be able to use it anywhere except on my desktop PC :(

Olli T
01-27-2014, 05:28 AM
Basically I read whatever I'm least able to put off. Like, the largest amount of "why haven't you read X yet" wins

pointzeroeight
01-27-2014, 07:37 AM
At one point I tried to figure out the best way to go about reading things. Then I realized that just didn't work for me and stopped. Now I mostly just read whatever when it strikes me as interesting, though I avoid reading books in the same series or genre one after the other. I did that with a few Dresden Files books early on and that just fatigued me on them for a while. I do track my backlog/want to read with Goodreads though. It'd be nice if they had a "pick a random book" function like Backloggery's fortune cookie.

Karzac
01-27-2014, 07:49 AM
I only ever buy books if I'm planning on reading it immediately. The only time a backlog accrues is if I get books for Christmas and then I just read them in the order that strikes my fancy.

Droewyn
01-27-2014, 08:31 AM
At one point I tried to figure out the best way to go about reading things. Then I realized that just didn't work for me and stopped. Now I mostly just read whatever when it strikes me as interesting, though I avoid reading books in the same series or genre one after the other. I did that with a few Dresden Files books early on and that just fatigued me on them for a while. I do track my backlog/want to read with Goodreads though. It'd be nice if they had a "pick a random book" function like Backloggery's fortune cookie.

Yeah, that fortune cookie function is my favorite thing at Backloggery.

Yama
01-27-2014, 12:34 PM
I'll read what I feel like reading at the moment. If I'm torn between multiple books, I flip a coin.

gahitsu
01-27-2014, 12:38 PM
I try to toggle between fiction and non-fiction, as well as intensity. If I read fluff or pop novels, I try to make sure the next novel I pick up is something more substantial.

Otherwise, I don't really have a backlog. I read books at nearly the rate I buy them, so besides the massive backlog of classics I have on my Kindle, there aren't tons of unread books laying about. A way to keep track of my books might make my choices more meaningful though, hmm.

Falselogic
01-27-2014, 12:38 PM
I don't

It's why I have one...

Droewyn
01-27-2014, 02:10 PM
I try to toggle between fiction and non-fiction, as well as intensity. If I read fluff or pop novels, I try to make sure the next novel I pick up is something more substantial.

Otherwise, I don't really have a backlog. I read books at nearly the rate I buy them, so besides the massive backlog of classics I have on my Kindle, there aren't tons of unread books laying about. A way to keep track of my books might make my choices more meaningful though, hmm.

I use Goodreads to keep track of my ebooks. If I have it marked "Want to Read" that means I own it and it's in my backlog.

For physical books, we bought cataloging software some years back, that came with a bar code scanner. While I was still doing paper books I kept the database up to date through the software; since I don't anymore, I dumped the data to an excel file. I really need to start working on selling or giving away the collection (since it's almost entirely stored away in boxes anyway), but I get panic attacks whenever I actually try to do something of the sort. Never mind that I've tracked down 80%-90% of them in ebook format... my lizard brain completely rejects the idea of getting rid of a book.

Seven
01-27-2014, 06:15 PM
I spend hours arranging my books on my bookshelf in the order I want to read them. Then I don't read them because I spent all my reading time organizing my books. Once I do start reading, I kind of grab a book at random and don't follow my set out plan. On my Kindle Fire, I try to keep them in the order I want to read them on the carousel, but I rarely end up following the order I set out.

So I guess what I'm saying is I waste a lot of time with pointless organizing.

Same here, nowadays though I usually just read a collection of short stories or poems alongside a longer work.

boyonion
01-28-2014, 06:18 AM
I read whatever I'm interested in during that moment, which also means I stop reading a lot of stuff once I've had my fill or get bored. I have had a slight problem with impulse buying books, but I've managed to keep that in check lately. Back in university, there were times when I lived in the library just so I could brush up on the classics that my courses didn't cover.

These days I've gotten into the habit of diving into author catalogues *basically just reading all of a guy's (or gal's) work. Among others, I've spent a lot of time with Cormac McCarthy, Umberto Eco, and Nabokov during the last year or two.

In other words, I don't like having a backlog because I don't like feeling obligated to read something, even if the "obligation" in all in my head. It's much more liberating to just read whatever catches my eye, and I've actually discovered quite a few interesting subjects I otherwise wouldn't have if I'd felt committed to a backlog.

Mara
01-28-2014, 02:51 PM
I'm always in the middle of several books at one time. Choosing the new one in the rotation is always fun! But I go with whatever I feel like reading, without a scientific method to it all. Overthinking it would ruin the experience!

Olli T
01-28-2014, 11:26 PM
Real life example: I watched the new Great Gatsby film with my girlfriend some time ago. She asked me if I had read the book. I said no, so she gave me her copy of the book to read and I started with it a while back, once I had finished the thing I was reading before it. Now that I'm almost done with Gatsby, the GM of my WH40k group hands me a Macharian Crusade book and tells me to read it. After that it's probably the book I got from my friend as an xmas present. Sometimes it feels that I have little control over the process.

Rascally Badger
01-29-2014, 10:51 PM
I don't understand how someone could not have at least a small backlog of books to read. What do you do when you finish a book and there isn't another one there to read? What kind of person would subject themselves to that sort of hell?

Droewyn
01-30-2014, 04:47 AM
I don't understand how someone could not have at least a small backlog of books to read. What do you do when you finish a book and there isn't another one there to read? What kind of person would subject themselves to that sort of hell?

When I was a kid, I didn't get new books very often, and my parents didn't do libraries. I reread everything. EVERYTHING.

Lady
01-30-2014, 07:11 AM
When I was a kid, I didn't get new books very often, and my parents did libraries, but they were far away and closed on the weekend. I reread everything. EVERYTHING.

including shampoo bottles and copyright statements.

Droewyn
01-30-2014, 07:31 AM
including shampoo bottles and copyright statements.

Cereal boxes, soup cans...

Lady
01-30-2014, 07:14 PM
For those of you who actively attack your backlog, how long do you have to be stalled on something in order to decide you need to start over entirely?

I've got some books I've started in 2009...

Rascally Badger
01-30-2014, 07:49 PM
I'll usually start reading and if I don't remember what was happening after a chapter or similar short segment, I start over. I don't tend to read books half read for long. Currently, the only book I can think of that I've started but not finished (and am not currently reading) is Battlefield Earth. Which I plan to finish the Tuesday after never.

Alex Scott
01-30-2014, 07:59 PM
Back in 2006 or so, I tackled my backlog by making a list, setting them into brackets, and flipping a coin to determine the order.

The other day, I came up with something even better:

* Made a list of fiction and non-fiction books

* Assigned each book a sequential playing card (red for fiction, black for non-fiction)

* Got a deck, separated the reds from blacks, shuffled each stack.

* Put them back together by alternating between each stack (so I alternate between fiction and non-fiction).

Finally, once that's done, I draw my first card.

My next book is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Droewyn
01-31-2014, 05:49 AM
Back in 2006 or so, I tackled my backlog by making a list, setting them into brackets, and flipping a coin to determine the order.

The other day, I came up with something even better:

* Made a list of fiction and non-fiction books

* Assigned each book a sequential playing card (red for fiction, black for non-fiction)

* Got a deck, separated the reds from blacks, shuffled each stack.

* Put them back together by alternating between each stack (so I alternate between fiction and non-fiction).

Finally, once that's done, I draw my first card.

My next book is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

That is an awesome system.

Alex Scott
02-02-2014, 11:49 AM
Wait'll you hear my dad's system:

First, he arranges books in order of the time he bought them.

He sets apart the first ten books, making sure not to have the same author in there twice.

He rolls a ten-sided die, and whichever side comes up, that's what he's reading next.

Exceptions include books he has to read right away, like a new Dresden Files book.