Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Previewing Books with Deliberation and Organization

I am a bibliophile. I always knew I'd have to marry a man who loved books as much as I did. Little did I know, God was preparing for me a husband who loves books even more! We are always reading, and always finding books we want to read. I used to juggle my lists of books and find myself at the library or bookstore wandering the aisles without a focus. No longer!

It all began when I started pulling lists of children's books. At the same time, we began significantly decreasing the books we purchased and owned (no worries, we still have eight bookshelves, all mostly double stacked). I wanted to fill our home with quality books, inspired by Charlotte Mason's living books. I needed a way to organize the lists of books I wanted to preview before we purchased.

Enter the wish lists.

Under an account for the children, I have three visible wish lists, one for each child. Hidden from view, however, I have five more.

I created a list of books I want to preview. Any time I see a children's book mentioned on a blog, in a magazine article or in conversation, I add it to the list. I then organize it by title (so the current ones are always at the top), and request them from the library. They're waiting at the desk when I arrive. As I preview them, I add them to one of the visible wish lists (for whichever child I think might enjoy it most or who is already enjoying it most from the library) or just delete them. Many are also added to our PaperBackSwap list (or are found and ordered immediately).

If a book is too old for any of the kids, but still a great book, I move it to a hidden list for when they are older. If a book is unavailable from our library, I put it on a hidden list for interlibrary loan. (I'm allowed three requests at a time, and I always use them all.)

I use the same system on an account for myself, with a visible wish list of books I've already previewed and know would be great additions to our library at home. I have a hidden list of books to check out and one of interlibrary loan books. I also keep a list of books I've previewed that I might want to use as a resource from the library again in the future.

We have a few family and friends that use the wish lists for gift-giving and I love knowing we'll love every gift. Kansas Dad and I use the lists ourselves when we purchase gifts for the kids, sorting by priority and choosing one that will be a family favorite.

You don't have to buy from Amazon to make good use of their technology. It's what works for me!


  1. How cool! :D I'll have to try that.

    Have a great WFMW!

  2. Hello fellow Kansan! Where are you in the great plains? Thanks for the fun tip and I look forward to seeing more blogs from you!

  3. I am a huge book reader as well, and pretty much get all the books from my library. I have a list of books I want to read on Google Docs and I also keep a list of books I've read. Or at least I tried to, but it was a little slow. I think your idea of utilizing the wishlist feature on Amazon is brilliant! Thanks for sharing.


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