How to find a Read-A-Like

Dear Fellow Journalers,

If you read series books, I have mentioned my favorites in the past (Murder She Wrote, Cosy Mystery series from Joanne Fluke and Miranda James) when you’re either waiting for the author’s next book or just wanting to find a read-a-like, where do you find it?  This article from the Cheshire Library Blog may help you.


New post on The Cheshire Library Blog

How to Find a Read-alike by Mary

If you are like me, when I find a series I love I burn through it in record time and then am left mourning that I have finished the series. Finding a new series can be difficult, so invariably I turn to NoveList for help.

NoveList is an online database that offers recommended reading lists. You can sort by age and genre and even by topics such as “fast-paced and amusing” or “moving and haunting” and even “snarky and compelling”. However my favorite part of NoveList is the Read-alike links.

If you type in a book title or author, NoveList will produce a list of results that include three very handy links: Title Read-alikes, Author Read-Alikes and Series Read-alikes.

What is a Read-alike?

A read-alike is a book, author, or series that shares some of the basic characteristics of another book, author, or series. It means that if you enjoy, say, author Marcia Muller, you may also like books by Laurie R. King, Kate Wilhelm, or Iain Pears,

For example, type in Lord Peter Wimsey (one of my favorite British mystery sleuths), click on Series Read-alikes, and you will get a list of recommendations that include the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood (stories that have also been turned into a wonderful BBC drama: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) and the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries by P.D. James, among many others.

Bingo! Two more series just waiting to be devoured.

Try NoveList. It works!

It makes so much more sense now..

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Have you ever read an article that after reading it, you sat up and said “it makes so much more sense now!” Well, here, in its entirety is such an article! Hope it helps you.


I Forgot How to Hang Out

Photo: by the Cut; Photos Getty Images

A few weeks ago, my wife Lydia and I met another couple — outside, at a distance, masked — at a park halfway between our two Southern California cities. Our friends have a new puppy they wanted to socialize with a known and trusted dog (ours was flattered), but, perhaps more important, each of us desperately wanted to interact with someone other than our spouse. Or so we thought.are u coming?Late-night dispatches from a city ready to party.

After parking our cars, we spread out our picnics six feet apart, ate hastily, and talked briefly about how depressed we’d been lately. We finished eating, walked our dogs to the designated play area and let them politely ignore each other for a while as we tried to encourage them (and, privately, ourselves) to engage socially. When we finally said goodbye and got back in our for the drive home, only an hour had passed. Later that afternoon, our friend texted to tell us how tired she felt; her husband was already asleep on the couch.

A year into the COVID pandemic, as the vaccine continues to roll out, socializing is still dangerous and illegal at worst and precarious and exhausting at best. I never considered myself an extrovert or a particularly gifted conversationalist, but 12 months of near-total isolation have sapped me of whatever social stamina and charm I once possessed. The other day, a barista at the drive-through Starbucks Lydia and I frequent — because there is nothing else to do — cheerfully noted that I was there alone. “Yep,” I said, dumbly. And that was that.

Though it remains difficult to believe, someday we will be able to gather in each other’s houses again. We will once again make unmasked, unharried small talk with cashiers and servers and see our coworkers in person and attend social events both obligatory and optional. But, upon resuming our social lives, how will we ensure that we neither embarrass ourselves completely nor become so exhausted we lapse back into semi-involuntary hermitude? I contacted a number of experts in varying fields seeking both an explanation (Why am I so tired after grunting three sentence fragments at a well-meaning neighbor?) and advice (Is there some sort of breathing exercise I should be doing that would help?). Here’s what they said about how our social isolation impacts different areas of our lives (and our brains).


A small reassurance: There is an actual physiological reason we’re so tired after short, socially distanced interactions with friends. “When you communicate at a distance, you have to use a lot more wind to talk,” says Chris Segrin, a professor of communication at the University of Arizona. “We have to project a lot more deliberately, and that’s exhausting for a long period of time.” With masks, too, we lose roughly half our cues to someone’s meaning; a raised eyebrow can only communicate so much. Add to that the stress inherent to being outdoors and around people (every last one a potential vector of disease), and it’s no wonder a half hour walk can drain you for days.

Like any other skill set, social skills atrophy from disuse, says Segrin. (“That probably explains what you see in people who are behaving awkwardly,” he explains.) The good news is that one’s ability to carry a semi-normal conversation should come back in time, with practice.

In the meantime, it’s essential that we remember we are all stressed, and stressed people are generally thinking mostly about their own stressors. “If you’re focused on what’s upsetting you now, if you’re anxious and stressed out, you have less attention to pay to the other person, and that diminishes how skillfully you’ll interact with them,” says Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and the author of Emotional Intelligence. “If we’re upset and anxious, we’re primed to misinterpret what other people do or say.”

Impossible though it may be, we’d all do well to extend social leniency toward our neighbors, our friends, and — please, I’m sorry — even the oddly curt woman in our drive-through window who simply could not think of what else to say.


Before we lost it completely, office small talk was widely considered a deadening, dumbing force. Discussing commute time, the weather, and nearby lunch options may never have been one’s most enjoyable source of human connection, but it was, perhaps, the most reliable one. Working apart — or with masks, trying not to get too close — means the face-to-face interactions we have with co-workers are somewhat strained. For people working from home, seeing each other’s faces means planned meetings, which means Zoom or something like it.

Where once we thought remote work might improve accessibility, it has, so far, only extended the work day, requiring increased availability from us all. The jokes about sweatpants freedom have long ceased being funny; neither liberating nor effective, the ascendancy of Zoom has instead contributed to collective burnout for many — particularly those tasked with frequent, highly attended meetings. “When you’re on a Zoom with two or three other people, it’s not that different from being with them in person, because you can see everyone and the conversation flows,” says David Deming, economist and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Once you get above five or seven people, it starts to feel like a webinar, and that’s not at all similar to an in-person meeting.”

Even smaller meetings, though, tend to be more tiring than an in-person chat. “There are a lot of things going on neurologically and biologically that make Zoom uniquely exhausting to your system,” says Celeste Headlee, a journalist and the author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter. One reason is that Zoom only provides the illusion of eye contact — if you’re looking at your camera to seem as though you’re making eye contact with the other attendees, you can’t see them. If you’re looking at them, they can’t look you in the eye. Shifting constantly between the two is cognitively taxing, says Headlee, and denies our brains the benefit we ordinarily receive from face-to-face interaction.

Zoom also tends to freeze, which exacerbates our frustration and cuts the conversational benefit down further. It’s also intrusive, says Headlee. Our backgrounds are also our homes, and in some cases, our schools. “There’s the fear that something could go wrong behind you,” she says. Each of these seemingly minor stressors builds to a cascade of dread that hits us whenever we click “Join Meeting.” Though Zoom may remain the best option we’ve got, meeting organizers would do well to limit the lengths of meetings and stop trying to make them fun.

A Humble Alternative

There exists no technology that perfectly mimics the fullness, the richness, or even the weirdness of our pre-COVID social lives. Still, some options are better than others. Consider the tool once beloved and mastered by the preteen girl: the telephone call. Phone calls provide verbal cues and connection without Zoom’s glitches or eye-contact issues. Phone calls give us access to the same mood-boosting and stress-reducing effects that in-person conversations do, and they don’t need to be very long for us to feel the effects, says Headlee, who suggests asking a friend if they have five or ten minutes to chat, and then sticking to that timeframe. All we have right now are imperfect avatars of interaction, vivid daydreams of the parties and dinners and dates that once were and may yet be. In the meantime, if nothing else, it’s nice just knowing that other people are out there somewhere, wanting to listen and talk.

The Big Open

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Just as we we were beginning to normalize our lives, a variant of Covid entered our lives and masks, social distancing, and isolation appeared again. The brief and yet so welcome respite refreshed our hearts and souls. Desperate folks saw lights at the end of their tunnels. Rather tan get angry at the current state of affairs, why not embrace the peace we felt a short time ago?

The world is still spinning on its axis and we’re still here, banged up a bit and disillusioned but still here. Why not keep an open mind and search for ways to get into the world again – “The Big Open ” is still calling!

One of the themes in the Laramie Fan Fiction stories (my story site) is the theme of “The Big Open”.” It refers to a “place” (new territory, if you will) where you can go exploring, where no one knows your name, where you are free to be who you are. Why not go exploring? Ok, Sallie, you’re asking me. Where can I explore? What can I explore? In A Word – EVERYTHING!! Books, music, foods, virtual museums, crafts, skills etc. etc.!!

The Open Road awaits:

Write and share where you are exploring.


Stop the Drama! or Where did Kindness go?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Recently there was an article about the disagreement between the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy that reminded me of a “he said, she said” teen fights we all witnessed or were a part of during “the day.”

I think we can all say stop the drama! Where did kindness go? I think it’s still around but the media continues to drive the stories we see on tv or read in newspapers. It’s hard to look for kindness and my journal has a lot of empty pages but I share when I can. I recently found a Facebook group that will help: Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Here are three videos that will keep you smiling:

And my favorite!


It’s just an update

Dear Fellow Journalers,

“I have to admit I haven’t read that much”, ” well, not a lot”, “well some,”- do you see where this is going?

Do you have a Reading Challenge on Good Reads?

I start one every year. Sometimes I overshoot; sometimes I come close; and yes, sometimes I never get out of the gate! I know what you’re thinking. With all this free time, why the heck not? And, more importantly, why does she feel guilty about it?

Good Reads is a tracker of books YOU’VE read during the year. You set it up so you can change it. It’s not meant to be a sinister plot to get you to buy more books from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. So, you don’t have to feel guilty about only reading a bit.

So, it’s August, and I am no where near my original goal and my subjects are as eclectic as ever. This year, I spent a lot of time researching subjects. In addition to “pleasure ” and “just for fun” books, I read books about certain time periods.

I started writing stories again. At first it was a way to get through the isolation of Covid but then it became much more. So, what did I read or re-read?

When I’m writing a fiction story, I tend to read a lot of fiction, historical fiction and non-fiction books pertaining to the time period or theme. One fan fiction story for instance, “The Price of Honor” took place after the Civil War when people were still angry about the issues of the past five years. Therefore, the books I read and re-read were:

“The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane, “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier, “Sackett’s Land” by Louis L’Amour, “Confederate in the Attic” by Tony Horowitz “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. My “fun ” book was “Murder She Wrote – Killing in a Koi Pond” by Jessica Fletcher.

Another story I wrote, “The Second Chance” was mostly researched with the help of Google! And finally, the story I’m writing now(no title yet) is about a school teacher whose one-room school house is in Wyoming territory in the late 1800’s. For this story, 8 chapters written so far, the books I an rereading are “Little House on the Prairie” by Wilder, “Far Away Home” by Susan Denying and “Letters of a Woman Homes reader” by Stewart.

What are YOU reading?


7 Reading Trackers for your Reading Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Enjoy the following!


7 Best Reading Trackers for Book Lovers

Looking for the best reading trackers to keep track of the books you’ve read and the books you want to read? Keeping a reading log is one of the best decisions any reader can make, and will easily and quickly improve your reading life. So if you’re ready to investigate the best reading trackers, read on!

What Is a Reading Tracker?

First, you may be wondering what a reading tracker even is. The concept itself is pretty self-explanatory, but essentially it’s just a way to keep track of the books you read (or the books you want to read in the future).

But reading trackers come in many different forms. There are apps you can use, plenty of printables and bullet journal spreads, spreadsheets, and pretty much any other method you can dream up. Some methods are better than others, though, so today we’re going to talk about a few of the best options for tracking your reading!

Looking for ways to catalog all the books you own? Check out these incredible home library apps!

Why Use a Reading Tracker?

So why should you use a reading tracker? Having a system for tracking the books you read is helpful on many levels, and can also be a lot of fun!

First, tracking your reading can help you focus on reading more instead of worrying about feeling disorganized. Less time worrying about organization means more time for reading.

It can also save you from the awful feeling of forgetting a book you really want to remember, and not being able to find it later! I can’t tell you how many times I used to forget the title of a book I loved and then had to try to find books again from a vague description. Now, because of keeping a reading log, this happens far less frequently since I know exactly where I can find the books I’ve read before.

And, if you use a reading tracker that allows you to take notes, then you can also easily find your thoughts on specific books….even years after you’ve read them. No more thinking “Oh yes…I read that book, but I don’t remember whether it was any good.”

Of course, tracking your reading can also help you when you’re setting reading goals or trying to stay on track to meet your reading goals. Plus, it’s also just a lot of fun to see the books you’ve read add up over time…and to be able to look back at your year (or more) of reading and see everything you loved!

7 Amazing Reading Trackers for Readers

There are many different reading tracking methods, but if you’re ready to try tracking your reading then here are some of the best methods to try.

1. Book Tracking Spreadsheet

Screenshot of Bona Fide Bookworm's Google Sheets reading tracker

One of my favorite book tracking methods is to use a spreadsheet to keep track of the books I’ve read. I love this method because I can easily access my reading log from any device and from anywhere, and since it is stored in the cloud I know I won’t accidentally lose it!

Spreadsheets are also an excellent method to use because you have complete control over your data (unlike using an app, where your data may disappear if something happens to the app or if it shuts down…like Shelfari did in 2016).

With a reading tracking spreadsheet, you can also choose what data you want to include and remove any extraneous items you don’t want to track. It’s your own private database, so you can do whatever you want with it!

That leads me to the next reason you might choose to use a book reading spreadsheet: your data is private. Many online reading trackers are “social,” which means your books, reviews, ratings, etc. are available for anyone in the public to see. Social reading trackers can be fun, but some people prefer to keep their book records private or share them with only a few people. If this is you, then a Google Sheets book tracker could be the way to go.

But are there any downsides to using a reading log spreadsheet? One of the biggest downsides is that it can be a bit time-consuming to set up at first, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing with Excel/Google Sheets.

But fortunately for you, you can bypass this issue by getting the exact reading tracker spreadsheet I use! I’ve done the setup work for you so you can simply enter the data on the books you read to start building your own reading list spreadsheet. Plus, I’ve set it up so you automatically get some cool statistics about the books you read…including how many books you’ve read, how many pages you’ve read, how many books you read in various genres, and more!

2. Goodreads

Screenshot of Goodreads reading catalog books page

When you’re looking to keep track of the books you read, one of the more popular options is to use the reading tracking features on Goodreads. You likely already use Goodreads when you’re looking up new books or searching for summaries, but if you haven’t yet tried out their book tracking capabilities then now is the time to do so!

Essentially, this tracking method allows you to input the books you read into “shelves,” which you can then view or sort to easily find books you’ve read (or want to read). When you first create an account, you’ll automatically be given three shelves: “Read,” “Currently Reading,” and “Want to Read”. However, you can also add extra shelves to keep your reading more organized or to set up your own system of shelves for tracking.

So how does Goodreads book tracking work? To use this reading tracker method, simply search for a book on the Goodreads site and then click on the triangle adjacent to the green “Want to Read” button. This allows you to add the book to any of your shelves, and you can then give the book a star rating, enter a public review, set the dates of when you started and finished reading it, and add other information as well.

Goodreads works well for readers who want a more social reviewing process, as reviews and shelves are public and there’s a whole community here of readers who will interact with you and with your reading choices. It can be quite fun! Goodreads also makes suggestions of what you might like to read next based on the books you’ve added to your shelves, so this can be a good way to find your next favorite read too.

Another thing I like about Goodreads is that they do have an app you can use (although sometimes there are a few glitches!). But this means you can add to your reading list from your desktop, but you can also use the app to add new books or keep track of books read. This is so helpful for when you’re at the library or a bookstore, as you can have an easy-to-access list of the books you want to read (and also avoid buying books you’ve already read or own).

Additionally, I love that Goodreads has some stats options that allow you to see statistics about your reading. I don’t think their stats are as beautiful or easy to use as the stats from some of the other reading trackers on this list, but their “Year in Books” feature is definitely pretty cool and does a good job of summing up your reading from the previous year!

Tip: If you want to switch to Goodreads or switch from Goodreads to another reading tracker method (like to a tracking spreadsheet), you can easily import/export book data so you don’t have to enter it all manually again!

3. LibraryThing

Screenshot of LibraryThing reading catalog homepage

Another good place to track your reading is LibraryThing. Like Goodreads, LibraryThing is a social and public place for keeping a reading log…so you can add all your books for anyone to see and can also interact with others on the platform. This is my second favorite way to catalog my “Books I’ve Read” List (after using my Google Sheets spreadsheet) as this interface is really feature rich and has lots of cool stats to see!

With LibraryThing, you can catalog your books online using your computer or you can use their reading log app on your phone to access or input books from anywhere. I particularly enjoy that you can use the phone app to scan physical books into your catalog, instead of having to input them manually. It saves a lot of time!

The goal of LibraryThing is to create a professional-quality library catalog for all its users, so you can use this reading tracker app to track books read, to keep track of all the books you own, or both. It works by searching over 2,200 libraries, Amazon catalogs, and the Library of Congress so you can easily input books with all their information already included (this includes the Dewey Decimal number, publication information, and even the book’s height and weight!).

Other cool features of the LibraryThing reading tracker include that you can use their automatically created library catalogs, you can create your own catalogs, and that you can tag books with your own tags to help you sort through all the books later. And when you input a new book, there are also places to add reviews, public comments, private comments, and more!

These are only a few of the incredible features LibraryThing has to offer, but one more aspect we shouldn’t neglect to mention is their stats tab. When you click on this tab, it will take you to a whole world of details and trivia about the books you’ve read and your reading habits. Some of these include chart data on when the books you’ve read were published, how many awards the books you’ve read have received, how many total characters there are across your cataloged books, and what distribution of star ratings you’ve given to the books you’ve read.

But LibraryThing doesn’t stop there! They’ll also tell you what percentage of your authors are dead vs. alive, and will give you other fun trivia like the height of your total books stacked on top of each other when compared to other objects…like a hobbit, a double-decker bus, Niagara Falls, and more! As your book list grows, you’ll get new objects to compare it to. If you like fun stats and love to obsessively track your reading, this is definitely the site for you!

You can get a free account on LibraryThing and get started with cataloging your books today. Plus, it’s easy to import your books from another source or export them if you decide to change how you keep a reading log, so it’s a no-brainer to use this incredible service.

4. Libib

Screenshot of Libib reading tracker homepage

Libib is another good method for keeping a reading log, and it has a really clean interface and a free app you can use as well. With a free standard account at Libib, you can track up to 5,000 items in up to 100 different “libraries” (aka personal catalogs)!

Like LibraryThing, this service strives to provide a place for individual readers to create a professional and organized personal library catalog. You can catalog books, movies, music, or even video games through this system, although I personally have only used it to catalog my books.

When you wish to enter a book to your catalog, simply create a new library or use an existing one. Be sure to choose whether you wish your library to be published or not (if you publish it, it is available for anyone in the public to see). You can then enter the book by searching the ISBN or keywords or can enter it manually if it is a rare or antique item. Alternatively, you can use the app to easily scan a physical book and automatically enter it into your catalog!

When you enter a book, be sure to add any tags, notes, set a star rating, or add it to a group (useful for book series so you can have all the books show up together in your catalog). Adding this data makes your library easily searchable, so you can find books alphabetically by title/author, by published date, by tag, or any number of other useful methods.

Your listings will then contain all this information as well as book thumbnails, summaries, and other automatically pulled data about the book so you have everything you need at your fingertips. For books you own, you can also set how many copies you have, what condition the book is in, and how much you paid for it. Plus, there’s a good basic stats page you can visit to learn more about the books you’ve cataloged!

I use Libib mostly for my own collection of books that I actually own rather than books I’ve read from the library or borrowed from friends, but if you want to use it as a way to keep a reading log it definitely has the functionality for this as well. You could even create a library of “read but not owned” books if you like, or add a tag to all the ones you own so you can keep them separate from the ones you’ve only read but haven’t purchased.

On the whole, this is a really amazing interface for tracking a personal library or tracking your reading. It also has a way to import or export books from Libib, so if you are using another reading tracker and want to switch over to this one you can do it easily. So go ahead and check out this cool tracking option today!

5. Printable Reading Journal

Bona Fide Bookworm's Free Printable Reading Tracker

Another popular method for keeping a reading log is to use a printable reading journal. This allows you to print out the exact pages you want to use, and to print as many of them as you want, so your journal is always exactly what you need.

If you want to try out a printable reading journal, you are welcome to get a copy of my printable reading journal that I created for you for free! It provides several of the most common reading journal pages to help you get started in the world of printable reading journals.

6. Physical/Bound Reading Journal

Books to Read Printable

Wondering how to keep track of books read and feeling old school? Then using a physical journal to keep your reading log could be the solution for you! This is a fun method to use for those who love the physical aspect of keeping their reading log on a shelf…or for those who are artistic and want to create their own reading journal in a bullet journal format!

There are lots of reading journals to choose from and the one you pick will depend on your own needs and desires for what you want to track. If you want a pre-formatted journal, then you could consider ones like The Book Lover’s Journal, the Ex Libris Private Reading Journal, or this Reading Journal for Book Lovers.

However, if you prefer customizing what you want to track about each book and having the freedom to create your own lists and sections, then I highly recommend getting a blank bullet journal notebook (like the Leuchtturm 1917 Journal) to create your own reading journal. This is especially fun for those who are artistic, but you don’t have to be artistic to use this method. If you’re looking for pretty designs, you can buy inserts from shops on Etsy or similar sites and then either paste them directly into your notebook or use them as a stencil to trace the design in your journal.

When you’re wondering how to keep a reading log, the physical format of a reading journal can be a really satisfying way to keep track of your books. Of course, you won’t have access to automatically created stats with a physical journal…but the customization and artistic aspects of this method make it worth it for those who love to keep their reading logs on the shelf!

7. Bookshelf Reading Tracker Bookmarks

And last but not least, another reading tracker method you might want to try are these printable bookshelf reading tracker bookmarks!

These bookmarks are offered as a digital download so you can print as many as you want for your own personal use. They allow you to write titles of books you have read on the spines of the books, and you can color in the books if you would like as well.

Since this book tracking method is in bookmark form, you will always have your reading list to hand by tucking it into your latest read. This is a simple and easy way to track your reading, so these are sure to quickly become your new favorite bookmarks!

Previous Older Entries


September 2021

Blogging,crafting, journaling and writing

Uniquely Yours Cards and Crafts

Uniquely Yours Cards and Crafts ~ Celebrating all occasions with a handcrafted touch ~

A Part of Me to Share

~ a Writer's Blog ~

Life Vest Inside

Listening to my heart, one journal step at a time.


Where Creativity and Imagination Creates Wonderful Ideas for Your Home!

Awaken Everyday

The Copper Beech Institute Blog

Meg Dowell Writes

Putting ideas into words.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Audrey Pettit Designs

Listening to my heart, one journal step at a time.

%d bloggers like this: