Thursday, January 21, 2010

Update: Filling in the Gaps, and Using Excel

I took my computer upstairs with me Monday night to see how many of the books on my Fill in the Gaps list I own, and how many books I own I want on the list.

Well, I had just upgraded to the new Microsoft Excel, and I'm not a terribly fluent user as it is.  I confused it with Access, which creates records from every line.  (At least, I think it does: Joe set up the only Access file I have ever used, so maybe he did something special.)

Do you see where this is going?

So, I chose a column — author's last names — so I could sort my records by that category.  I figured that would take every line and put it in order based on the "values" in that column.

Well, what it did was rearrange the last names in alphabetical order — and left every other column in its original location.  Needless to say, that made the author names a little different than they should have been.  "Bram Achebe," anyone?

Oh, I fixed it.  I knew 92 of the 100 authors right off the top of my head, so that was not as inconvenient as it could have been.  I was stymied by a few authors with whom I was less familar, like Erskine Caldwell (Tobacco Road) and Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road).

I will figure it out. 

In the meantime, I'll wander upstairs to my rather extensive library and find yet more books to put on the list. 

I may even set up a second list of "books I want to read but can't fit in a list of only 100 books." 

Or I might sub-categorize by "classics I want to read" and "modern classics I want to read" and "recent releases I haven't gotten around to reading yet." 

In the end, I will read only a fraction of the books I want to read because there are only so many hours in a day.  If that's the worst thing that happens to me, I will count myself lucky.

2 comments:

  1. I did sub-catgorize my list but they are somewhat humorous (books i should have read by now & books that are movies too to name a few). It was hard for me to put the list together. it took me longer than I thought.

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  2. I am afraid I'd start sub-categorizing and listing, then I'd never get around to reading. (I have done it before!)

    One of my favorite lists was a "Recommended Reading List for College Students," circa 1980. VERY different than reading lists three decades later.

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