Useful iPad/iPhone Book Tracking App – ReadMore

I didn’t know I was in the market for a book tracking app until a friend told me about ReadMore ($1.99 through iTunes).

I used to use Excel to track the books I read. I’d track books by title, author, who referred it, and my comments. I liked keeping track of my reads, but it was inconvenient. I’ve tracked reads every which way, old fashioned (pen and paper), a Facebook app, web-based apps (but I don’t remember which ones and haven’t gotten around to trying GoodReads – mostly because I apparently created an account and resetting my password never seems to work, so I can’t log in), etc. Excel wasn’t perfect, but it worked for me.

I bought ReadMore in December and have used it faithfully. What I like most about it is I just scan the ISBN with my phone, and the app pulls the book info from that – no data entry. I can also search for a book manually (yes, data entry, but until my iPhone learns to read my mind, I’m stuck), like when I hear about a book I want to get, I just search for it and add it to my stack until I get the book and read it.

The other thing I like about ReadMore is logging my reading sessions. ReadMore lets me track the time I spend reading, and it calculates how many pages I’ve read, how many pages are left, and how many days (at the current rate of reading) until I finish the book and log it as complete. If you like statistics, you’ll love this.

ReadMore also allows exporting, so I will eventually try to export my reading history to Excel. I’m eager to try this, but I’m waiting to get a few more books under my belt.

In summary, ReadMore keeps me honest with my book reading.

*   *   *

I’m always looking for more apps that might be useful, and recommendations go far with me. So, let me know if you’re using a great app and why you recommend it.

When blogging isn’t fair

A friend of mine, we’ll call him Payne, hadn’t updated his blog in seven months. Since Payne and I talk about writing a lot, I issued a challenge, it went something like this:

Me: Hey! Your writing goal for this week is to write one blog post. I don’t care if you post a picture of a toe with a one word caption (toe). Your blog needs content.

Payne: The pressure!

Me: You need it.

Payne: I’ve moved on.

Me: What do I need to do, slap you in the face with a white glove?

Payne: We’ll see.

And a few and sundry other comments, with no clear indication of whether Payne was going to post or not.

One day later…

Payne: Over 200 pageviews today. Thanks for the kick in the ass.

Rat bastard.

Useful iPhone/iPad Recipe App – Paprika

I am an avid reader of Real Simple magazine, and I love the recipes. They’re usually very easy and interesting, and I’ve found several great ones over the last couple of years. So, when I saw that Real Simple had an iPad recipe app, I decided the $4.99 was worth it, even though I already pay for a magazine subscription.

Thankfully, I read the reviews first, and let me tell you, they weren’t pretty. Most of them were complaints about the ads Real Simple runs on the paid app. Why they run ads on a paid app, I don’t know. But I do know I can’t stand ads, which meant the Real Simple recipe app wasn’t for me.

While reading through the reviews, a couple of people mentioned an app called Paprika, which copies recipes directly from Real Simple (and other websites). It sounded interesting, so I did some research. Here are the deets that were interesting to me:

  • Price: $4.99
  • Captures recipes from popular recipe sites such as (view the complete list)
  • Lets you organize recipes by category, which you can customize
  • Lets you schedule meals
  • Lets you specify and load ingredients to a shopping list

I’ve been using it for a month or two now, and I love it. Since I was using the old fashioned method of looking through books, writing down recipes/ingredients, Paprika has been a huge time saver. I wish I’d bought it months ago! Plus, now I can toss all the old Real Simple magazines I’d been keeping because I liked the recipes. Bonus for a clutter-fiend like me :)

I did research some other popular recipe apps, but none of them looked as robust, and I really like how Paprika captures online recipes. Most of my research consisted of reading other blog posts about recipe apps and then reading some of the reviews on iTunes.

In summary, Paprika does everything a reluctant cook needs.

Why not to add photos to your blog or social media

Someone asked me why I don’t add more photos to my blog entries. Well, I have a very simple answer for that – they’re annoying and unnecessary, unless the photo adds something to the blog entry. I can’t tell you how many times I had to scroll past a picture of a quill on a writing blog.

I realize adding photos is supposed to make people like your blog more and get them to come back, but I just can’t do it. When I see a stock photo on a website, I just think about how the person who wrote that blog entry wasted my time by showing me another picture of a stack of books. Really, it doesn’t add anything.

My philosophy for blogging and social media is to write content that is relevant and worth reading. If someone takes three seconds to read what I wrote, I don’t want them to feel like I’ve wasted their time.

Having said that, I fear I’m wasting your time by writing about this topic. So, here’s what I want you to get out of it. The next time you’re having dinner, reconsider adding the 30th photo of something you ate that day with a comment like “Dinner, go me.” Ask yourself whether that’s really what you want every single one of your facebook or Twitter friends to read. If you really really really have to add that photo, how can you make it more relevant? What about adding a link to the recipe? That would be something I’d find interesting.

The kinds of photos I do like? Ones that add something to the content, like an info graphic or comic. For a mommy blog, I’m okay with seeing seven pictures of a mom’s kid in one blog entry. But please spare me the bleached stock photo of an office cubicle or a photo of people shaking hands as if they’ve just ironed out an agreement that will result in a Pax Romana that will last through the 21st century and beyond.