Flip Through my (Book) Reading Journal
How to Keep a Book Journal
If you read a lot of books on a regular basis, it can be a great idea to keep a book journal. Like a diary a book journal chronicles your life through the books you read. With every book you read, you add an entry detailing your thoughts and reflections. This process can make you a better reader and writer. In addition, if you find yourself losing track of everything you read, recording your thoughts down as you go will help boost your memory. Best of all, when enough time passes, you'll be able to flip through your journal and reflect on all the stuff you've read.
Starting a Book Journal
Consider the benefits of a book journal.The usefulness of a reading journal ultimately depends on how much you read. If you're reading most days of the week, it stands to reason you probably go through more books in a year than you can remember in depth. If you find yourself struggling to remember bigger details of a book you read a few months ago, a book journal will be a big help. The act of writing thoughts down does a lot to retain memory.
- If you only read a few books a year, it may not be so helpful to keep a reading journal. These journals are usually only worthwhile for truly avid readers.
Choose a medium.There are two main routes you can go with a book journal: You can write in a physical journal, or you can take your writing online with a blog. Some people prefer the personal touch of a physical book, while others swear by the convenience and accessibility of a web publication.
- Although you may already have a preference for one over the other, you should consider both routes before making a firmer choice.
- In some cases, a fusion of physical and online note keeping is a good idea. You won't always be around a computer when you're reading, and your finalized reflections can be input into a blog once you're done reading a given book.
Buy a durable book.If you opt for the physical option, you shouldn't rely on a cheap coil-bound book. Although these are cheap and functional, they don't hold up to wear very well. When you're buying a book, look for something with a high-quality spine, preferably leatherbound.
- While you're going for durability, you also want something that you'll feel happy with writing in for the next several months. It's not uncommon for writers to develop an emotional attachment to their journals, so make sure you buy a journal that's high-quality enough to deserve it.
Set up a blog.A blog is a free online journal. You won't have to worry about running out of space if you go online with your book journal. Your entries will be easier to organize and retrieve. In addition, a blog offers the possibility of a readership.
- There are lots of free blogging sites available. Blogspot and Wordpress are just a couple of the best-known.
- Although you can keep a book journal private if you want, giving other people a chance to go along on the journey with you can lead to feedback and discussion, both regarding the stuff you're reading and the content of your writing itself.
Create a Goodreads account.If you want a place to record your reading history, Goodreads is arguably even better than a plain blog. Goodreads is a site specifically designed for people to keep track of their reading habits and post their reflections on literature.It has an info-packed database, as well as a vibrant community that is every bit as passionate about reading as you are.
Writing Your Book Journal
List the book's essential information.Every journal entry you make should have obvious info included for the sake of posterity. This includes the name of the author and the title of the book. Make a point of putting this in boldface or otherwise emphasizing it on the page or screen. That way, it'll be easier to keep track of your reading when you go back to look at your entries further down the road.
Write in facts you might forget.The memory is fickle. Even if you're enjoying the book you're reading a lot, there's no promise you'll remember most or even some of the material. This problem becomes bigger the more stuff you read. While you're definitely not expected to log in every piece of information a book has to offer, it's a good idea to jot down things that interest you.
- The bits of info you mark down can be an anchor for remembering other things.
Copy memorable quotes into your entry.Most books will have certain lines that jump out at you. You won't be able to snag all of the quotes you want, but there may be one or two per book that will be worth recording word for word. Going quote-hunting is especially worthwhile if you think you've found a line or two that perfectly expresses what the rest of the book is about.
- Don't forget to include the page number if you quote something from a book.
Comment on writing techniques in the book you're reading.Some book journals will rely exclusively on what a book is about, but there's just as much value in talking about the way an author explores his topic. Think about things like writing perspective (first person, third person etc.), the length of the book, the use of imagery and poetic devices, and whatever other techniques the author has used.
- For the sake of writing in your journal itself, write your feelings on whether you think certain techniques worked or not. A journal entry can be an informal critical review. By putting technical aspects under the microscope, you'll be able to tell good from bad writing apart more easily over time.
Note your current time and place with each book entry.A book journal doesn't just catalogue what you're reading. Like any type of journal, it also indirectly comments on the course of your life. Your life experiences dictate what you read about, and in turn, certain books will be associated with parts of your life. With this in mind, write down the time and place you were when you read most of it.
- Writing down the ties between what you're reading and what you experienced is a great way to better remember both. This will help enrich the association between the book and the circumstances of your life.
Relate the book to what's going on in your life.For the sake of understanding the experience of reading a book, it may be a good idea to write in a few notes about what is actually happening in your life at the time of reading. Having a idea of what was going on (where you were living, who you were dating etc.) will bring a lot of the smaller details from that stage of your life back to you.
- With some given background in place, you can contextualize the book in question with the mindset you were in at the time. This can help explain why you focused on or wrote certain things in each entry.
- Obviously, more personal details should only be included if the book journal is totally private and not at risk of being read by anyone else.
Reflect on whether the book has changed you.Books are a source of fun and relaxation, but they also help us grow as people. Most books you read probably won't have a lasting impact, but a few inevitably will. If you feel like a book has permanently altered the way you see the world, you should make a clear note of it at the bottom of your entry.
- It may be helpful to put a note like this in boldface. That way, when you're scanning past entries months or years from now, you'll be able to quickly spot the ones that were especially noteworthy to you at the time.
Maintaining Healthy Reading Journal Habits
Make a periodical reading goal.Books are enjoyable, but actively reading takes a bit more motivation than watching TV or playing video games. Some people find it helpfully motivating to set goals for themselves. For instance, if you're not reading as much as you'd like, you can write something down along the lines of "I will read three books this month."
- Make sure the goal is realistic, and account for the fact that some books will take you much longer to read than others.
- Goodreads has an annual reading goal feature free for use by all accounts.If you sign up with an account, you can set a chosen book goal at the start of the year and see how you've done by the end of it.
Write your book entry as you read.Some book journal keepers prefer to wait until the end of a book to make their entry. Others find it enriches the experience of reading to be actively writing down notes as you go along. If you have a note journal at your side while you're reading, it may motivate you to have a stronger attention to detail.
- This is a very important part detail if you've been out of school for a while and find you've been losing your touch as a critical reader in the time since.
Finish your entry as soon as you're done reading.A longer-form journal entry can feel like a bit of a chore before you get into it. Some journal keepers make the mistake of procrastinating their entries until days or weeks after they've read the book. This defeats the purpose of keeping a book journal. You want your reflections to be as fresh as possible. Otherwise, you're not writing about the book itself so much as your memory of the book.
Keep your book somewhere safe.A book journal is a long-term commitment. Although you're encouraged to bring it along with you when you go on trips, accidentally losing your book journal could feel catastrophic depending on how much time and work you've invested in it. Make a habit of storing it in the same place when you're between books.
- Even if you don't publish your entries on a public blog, recording a second copy of your entries can be insurance against losing them permanently.
Take care of your book journal.If you're keeping track of your reading with a physical journal, you should take extra care to protect it from natural wear and tear. Even a high-quality leather book will begin to ear if it's given enough abuse.
- Take care to keep your book journal clear of food and drink spills, and put it in a special compartment in your backpack if you're taking it out someplace.
- Alternatively, if you're keeping your book journal up to date with a blog, make sure you keep close guard over your password info.
QuestionFrankly speaking, my reading life is poor and I really want to be a good writer and write many journals. How can I do it?Lord NeodeCommunity AnswerWrite a diary. This can be a good way to enjoy yourself while writing about funny daily happenings and events as well as learning to stay dedicated to something- diaries require you to write in them everyday, and this can improve your reliability for other people as well. This should also help you start reading frequently too.Thanks!
QuestionShould I change journals when going from elementary school to middle school?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can if you want, it would give you a fresh start on the next chapter of your life and experiences.Thanks!
- You should wait a few months at least before you start reading past entries. There won't be as much point in reading your own thoughts if the memory of the book itself is still fresh.
- Add a visual aid. Maybe draw a picture that represents something from the book that has been read, to the journal.
- Don't read books purely for the sake of increasing the size of your book journal. There is far too much stuff available to be reading to settle on something you're not interested in. Don't be afraid to stop reading something if it's not grabbing you.
Video: 2017 BOOK JOURNAL SET UP
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