Books

Book Data Base:
 
In January 1999, I created a Book Data base. Ostensibly, I want to work with ACCESS to learn how it functioned. Some 6 years later and over 300 books read, and I still faithfully record every book I read.
 
In the beginning, I did not realize what a valuable tool it would prove to be. When I wrote my article on Provence I was able to go back and interrogate the database for all books I’d read on the subject. Instant research.
 
Later as I discovered series of books I liked, the data base kept me up to date on what I’d read and when. Quite often, I included a list of every thing in the series, which I used to hunt down unread books. For the Cat Who series, this has proved invaluable. The Cat Who Did What Next, I like to refer to this series of books. I loved the books and if you’ve read my opening Blog, called appropriately enough, Why Blog, you will see the series is the source of one of the threads that lead me to create Beautiful Summer Morning.Com.
 
The database is full of interesting information. I can query and get the total number of pages read from January 1999 to the present…110,333! You could probably add a few more pages, as I was a bit sloppy at the beginning. That’s 315 books. I could do a query and tell you my favourite publisher, or the Author I’ve read the most. I can also look at the mini book reviews I’ve done on every book.
 
I can tell you that I read my 100th book (since record keeping began, as they say on the weather reports) on the 18th of March 2001. The Brand Viagra book was titled, “Tamsin Harte” by Malcolm MacDonald, a book set in turn of the century England. My 200th book I read on the 25th of October 2003 called “Dead Beat” by my favourite mystery writer Val McDermid. My 300th book “The Haunted Abbot” by Peter Tremayne was read on the 11th of December 2005, a historical murder mystery.
 
What does this all mean?
 
In the SunShine Dialogues, I have been talking about keeping a Diary. One of the things a Diary does is allow  you to travel back in time and revisit the moment. You can recapture your feelings, re-experience the scents and sounds going on around you. These moments can be seeped in significance, or seem rather silly in retrospect. The Diary is a window into the pass that allows you to
make connections, link threads together, to give you insights into to your life today.
 
My database operates in the same way. I can go back to a book I read six years ago, and the information I put into the database refreshes my memory, sparks ideas, and often gets the creative juices going. Couple that with my written Journal and you end up with a powerful tool for introspection that can stir the cognitive juices into overdrive.
 
For me it’s books, they are one of the Keys to my life, for you it could be CDs or for those of us old enough to remember LP’s. It could be a database of favourite quotes, movies, or recipes.
 
If you have Access on your computer and haven’t utilized the program, I urge you to go in and play around. If you don’t have Access there are cheap and free data bases out there that you can use.
 
Record keeping of this kind helps with observation, something we will be talking about in our next “SunShine Dialogue”.
 
Live In the Sunshine!
 
Nick

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