How to find out which books I’m reading

Andrea wants to be able to stalk my reading list.

I use allconsuming.net to keep track of which books I’m reading, which ones I’ve completed, which are my favourites, and so on.

When I start or finish a book I load up Firefox, select the Amazon search engine from the search box, type in the ISBN from the back of the book and then click my consume! bookmarklet, select a status, and hit “save” (adding some extra book metadata if I’m feeling particularly generous with my time) at which point the book is added to my list.

Anyone is then able to browse those books on http://allconsuming.net/weblog.cgi?url=http://www.philwilson.org/blog/ letting them see what I’m currently reading, what I’ve finished reading and what my favourite books are.

What, however, I had planned to do for this site, was to utilise the RSS feed for the books I’m currently reading (also available in a proprietary XML format either via REST or pre-generated XML file) and the PHP-based Magpie RSS Parser to display a list, but it turns out that not only does the ‘currently reading’ RSS file not provide links to images, All Consuming only provides RSS feeds for your “currently reading” and “favourite books” lists, not which ones you’ve completed, which you’ve bought, never finished, and so on so the best I would be able to come up with would be something like this.

So. Until I get around to either writing a stylesheet for converting All Consuming’s XML format (which includes a link to a picture of the cover from Amazon.com) into RSS (or I find one on the web) or something which parses it directly, you’ll have to make do with my page on All Consuming.

So Andrea, happy now? 🙂

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5 thoughts on “How to find out which books I’m reading”

  1. Why, thank you. 🙂 Consider yourself (or your reading list) stalked. Hmm. I just might pick up Life of Pi at some point, based on your review.

    I signed up for allconsuming.net some time ago, but my list isn’t terribly interesting, as I haven’t yet gotten around to including comments or ratings for each book. And it doesn’t search the Amazon.de inventory, so it’s not the perfect solution for me anyway.

    Did you ever think of using the Javascript include? Just wondering.

    Andrea

  2. Yeah I used it for a while but it was just too slow 🙁 The allconsuming server can be pretty slow at times, which is why I’d rather use the pre-generated files or at least use the API and cache the files locally for rendering.

    I didn’t realise that it wouldn’t search the Amazon.de inventory; you’d have thought that given an ISBN for a German book it would have at least tried to retrieve details from the .de website. That’s quite depressing.

    I wouldn’t quite call my throwaway one-liners about books reviews 😉

    There are a few things about allconsuming that I’d like to be better (like support for ratings and dates books are added and so on), some of which Alf Eaton’s RVW tool deals with, but it isn’t as pretty or as comprehensive (it also claims to support amazon.de, but a quick test crashes it :).

    Also, I don’t think there’s any work on allconsuming going on – the guy behind it is now working on the recently released 43things.com which is a real shame.

  3. Yes, the server’s really slow. That’s another reason why I’m not using the service as much as I could (and I don’t need to keep track of six books at a time ;-)). Searching for the ISBN didn’t even occur to me before, but no, that doesn’t search Amazon.de either. Oh well.

    Playing around with rvw! right now, way cool app. It does work with German books for me, it just doesn’t handle umlauts very well. Or at all.

    Heh, ‘stop procrastinating’ is at #4 on 43things zeitgeist. I can sooo relate.

    Andrea

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