Keeping a Book Journal

I’ve been a reader my whole life. I remember having my nose buried in a book for much of my childhood and reading remains my retreat and my ‘me-time’ now, as a busy parent. My friends and family know I’m a bookworm, so I’m often treated to vouchers for Amazon or Waterstones or the like, or a nice pile of books for birthdays and Christmas, which brings me much joy. However, until my recent birthday, I’d never been bought one of these, so now I am keeping a book journal…

book journal

My life has been changed forever! This particular journal is from Paperchase, and there are two types of pages running through it, the majority are for book reviews,, and then there are others to keep a record of books borrowed/lent..

book journal pages

I had this for my birthday mid-June, so I’ve been keeping it ever since. I’m not too interested in the borrowed/lent section, but I am finding I enjoy the reviews.

They aren’t reviews as you may read over on Goodreads or Amazon, as they’re just notes for me, so something along the lines of how much I enjoyed it, why, how it compares to other books by the same author/same genre and so on.

Along with the title and author, I also note down the dates that I read it, as looking back, I’ll be able to tell how much I liked it by how quickly I read it, too.

When this journal ends, I’ll be using another, though it’ll probably be just one of my many still-blank notebooks.

I can see this becoming a lifetime habit now, as there’s something almost cathartic about writing down my feelings after reading a book.

I find myself finishing a book, and then pondering how I’ll sum it up, what I really thought about it.

Making a few notes on it, however basic and for my eyes only, makes me actually stop and think about the book that little bit more.

Some books I’ve loved, and scribbled furiously away, whilst others, I’ve had to think about and it’s only been through this process that I’ve sorted my thoughts more clearly.

I read a fair bit, and often rush from book to book, so this now causes me to stop and reflect.

I do appreciate the pause, and I like the idea of knowing what I’ve read, how many books I’ve read, and seeing the patterns in my reading, too, if that makes sense?

If I read a book that disappoints, do I move to a complete genre change next, or attempt to erase it with another stronger candidate? Well, it’s all being recorded now for me to look back on.

I’ve often wondered how many books I’ve read, or even how many I read on average in a year, so now I’ll be able to keep a record, and then I’ll add a few thousand ore on for the other 30 odd years of life so far!

Reading and books are such an important part of my life, my enjoyment, it now actually seems odd that I’ve not thought to do this before!

Do you keep a book journal? If so, what sort of things do you make a note of? Or if not, have I inspired you to do so?

You may also enjoy How Do You Read Yours?

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28 thoughts on “Keeping a Book Journal”

  1. When I was in year 7 at school, we had to keep a book journal for English, I think for perhaps two weeks, or maybe a month. I loved doing it, and kept it going all year. My English teacher asked if he could read it, which he did, and he handed it back with a short note saying how much he loved my ruthless opinions and a £10 book token. Brilliant! I haven’t kept a journal as such since, although I do keep a list of books I’ve read as I like lists, and I like keeping track. This post has brought back some good memories!

    1. I can only imagine your ruthlessness – that made me laugh!I’d never even kept a list until this, it just hadn’t occurred to me, but I’nm doing this forever more now!

  2. I love this Jocelyn, what a great idea. If I had the time I would definitely keep one, sometimes when you’ve finished a book there are still so many thoughts swirling around it would be nice to write it down. I great gift for a book-lover too! xx

    1. I just jot a few thoughts down before I move on to the next book, and as it’s just for me to see, I don;t have to think to hard about how I’m wording it! It would be a great gift, and was indeed a great gift for me 🙂

  3. What a fabulous idea. I’m a voracious reader and choose books over a variety of genres so this would be a useful thing for me to do, too. I tend to rush to the next book once I’ve finished one, so it would be good to pause to reflect. x

    1. I’ve really been enjoying it, and that pause has actually been good. I’d definitely recommend keeping one x

  4. I’m definitely inspired to start a reading journal, I can’t wait to write a synopsis after I’ve read a book and then in the future go back and review my opinions, even re-read the book and see if I still have the same questions or opinions!! Thank you so much for the idea!! Lx

  5. I used to keep a list of all of the books I’d read, but not so much what I thought of them. I’m finding it difficult to read at the moment, I borrowed two books from the library 3 weeks ago and I’ve so far only managed three chapters of the first one! x

    1. Oh no! I get like that with some books. I started one a couple of weeks back, and am probably just 3 chapters in, too, but I’ve picked up and read 2 other books since!

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    1. Yes, and my notes are quite random as they’re for my eyes only, rather than written for others to see. It’s good to pause and reflect for a moment, I find. I love doing it!

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  12. Is this something you still do?
    I simply keep a list of books read. The ones that truly speak to my heart I mark as such. I also mark the ones I reread. I’ve become a margin writer. I like keeping notes in the margins. It’s interesting to reread the book and my notes and see how my views have changed. Maybe I’ll start a little review journal, too. I think it would be a great way to reflect on the whole work. Then again, I’ll probably just write my review on a post-it note and leave it with the book.

    1. Yes, I still do it and now can’t imagine not doing it! I tend to pass my books on once read, so this works for me.

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  15. I’ve kept a reading journal since I was in 2nd grade, way back in 1966. Reading was a passion for me, as was writing lists and making journals and scrapbooks of everything I could think of, so a book journal just was a natural.
    The first one was a construction paper cover with notebook paper inside, tied together with some of Mom’s leftover yarn. I had seen someone rating movies with 0-5 stars, I think in the local paper, so adopted that. The month books were finished, book title, author, a short synopsis without giving away the ending or major plot points, and my star rating have been included ever since that first journal.
    Over the years, more similar handmade books, spiral notebooks, steno pads, and a variety of lovely journals purchased from dollar stores to book stores have been used as my book journals. The current one, nearly full, is a lovely smallish Susan Branch journal that has seen me through homes in three cities in two states nearly 1500 miles apart. Looking back at my journals gives me a sense of accomplishment, but even more so, it gives me warm, dramatic and funny memories, a true Hygge feeling.

  16. I started a book journal last year when I joined my first in-person book club. A few of the members kept one & I loved how they kept notes on each book they read.

    I keep a list of every single book I try whether I finish it or not. I write a short sentence on why I didn’t read it. But some books have pages of notes because I enjoy it so much.

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