Okay, full disclosure: I’ve been keeping records of what I’ve been reading for years now, but I’ve never kept a full-fledged reading journal, and honestly, I don’t know if I ever will.
I love seeing what other people have in theirs—pretty printed-out covers, details of genres, star ratings, book and character analysis—you name it, someone has probably done it. But being a minimalist, and reluctant to add more to my book-reading plate than I already have, I’ve decided to opt for something functional that suits me where I am right now. Though I’ve toyed with the idea of making up something beautiful and detailed, that isn’t something that I’m planning to pursue currently.
I started really thinking about keeping a reading journal when I came across a Booktube video about setting one up (and yes, I’m slightly jealous of this lady’s ability to scrapbook—I’d love to know how to do that!).
Since I have a bullet journal that I’ve hardly written anything in, and wasn’t sure what to use it for, I decided to convert it into something useful!
So without further ado, here are the spreads I currently have, that I love, and want to add more to . . . but hey, one thing at a time, right?
1. A Reading Log
I’ve consistently been keeping a reading log since 2018. It’s interesting to go back and see when I read some books, and has also been SUPER helpful in keeping track of books that I got for review and making sure they get reviewed! I also keep this list digitally, mostly because I can more easily search an Excel spreadsheet (but also because I like the graphs I can make based on gleaned data in there 😀 ).
2. Reviewing Log
This is based on the first log, but dedicated solely to the books I get for review. If you look closely, you may be able to see that some books have been on the list since 2017 (sorry, authors! I’m slowly starting to work back to those, I promise!). My favorite part is the colored pattern; as I read each book, the colored diagonals become my progress charts as I read, with 5% of the book represented by one diagonal line. So all the colored-in middles are the books I’ve finished reading. (In this case, pink generally means a book I got from NetGalley, and green represents books I got directly from the author.)
3. Book Lists and Reading Challenges
This is my newest, and therefore, most favorite section. I’ve wanted to keep track of book lists for a long time now, but never quite managed to figure out how to do that. I’m hoping this will do the trick; we’ll see! I may end up changing it again at some stage!
First up is the 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list, as voted on by Goodreads users. I’ve known about this list for quite a while, but never took much time to read through it. There are a lot of books on here that I want to read eventually! I’m not sure about some of them, but I thought it deserved a place in my journal. I’ve already read seven of these books, so that’s something of a start, I guess! 😀
This is my favorite spread so far. I’m a big fan of Lynn Austin’s books, and I know I haven’t even come close to reading all of them yet. I was thrilled to find a list of all of the ones she’s written so far, and also delighted to see how many of them I have read! Currently, there are 32 books on the list. I’ve read 12 of them, and have 9 more on my home bookshelf to read yet.
I’ve also recently discovered that I enjoy Ellen Vaughn’s writing, so since I ended up with extra space on the page, I decided to include the titles she’s written that I’d like to read eventually. We’ll see if I can find any of them!
I’ve been intrigued by the Buzzword challenge for a while, and since I was making lists anyway, I decided to add this to my journal! I don’t know if I’ll actually end up completing the challenge by the end of the year, but I’m planning on using the prompts to help me build my TBR lists over the next few months.
Peanut Blossom’s Book Bingo looked like so much fun I decided to include that in my reading journal, too! Again, I don’t know if I’ll end up finishing it by the end of the year or not—that’s not really a big deal to me—but I am hoping it will help me to keep picking a variety of books to read.
The one challenge I am planning to try to complete this year is the Read Your Bookshelf challenge. This one has been quite instrumental in getting me out of my old reading ruts this year, which I’m grateful for! I’ve been keeping track of this challenge digitally, but since it’s so fun to have an analog list that I can physically check off, I decided to add it to my reading journal as well.
And that’s what I have in my reading journal so far! I have ideas for lots of other lists I want to put in there—authors I want to read more of (John and Elizabeth Sherrill, for example), and series I want to complete. So far, I haven’t followed my impulses to actually do the research for said lists, but one day . . . !
Have you ever kept a reading log or journal? Do you set reading goals?