Starting a Book Journal

This year I’m going to try something new. I’m going to commit to keeping a book journal for the entire year.

What is a Book Journal?

A book journal is a way to keep track of what you read.

Also called a book log, reading log, reading journal, or book list.

Most people use them to jot down every book and audiobook they read or listen to. A good way to break this up is by year, but some people keep an ongoing list that can span decades.

Book journals can be as simple as listing the book title or as complex as including publisher info, page count, and media types. I plan to make mine somewhere in the middle. Enough info to remember the book, but not so much that it feels like a chore.

Some people even like to jot down some thoughts about each book including how they felt or their favorite parts.

Why Do I Want to Start a Book Journal?

Since starting this blog, I’ve realized that I have no idea how many books I read in an average month or year. Of course, it varies depending on what is happening in the rest of my life, but I’d really like to know how many books I’m consuming.

I don’t want to use this journal as a way to brag about how many books I can read in a year or anything like that. As a scientist, I want some hard data on how much I read, what times of year I read the most, and what types of books I actually read. At the very least, it’ll be a fun way to look back at the wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) books I’ve read.

What are the Options?

There are quite a few ways you can start a book journal so that’s what I’ll go over next:

Bound Journal

A bound journal is the classiest, most elegant way to keep a book journal. But it’s going to be the most labor-intensive. Hand-writing every entry takes time. Creating a balanced aesthetic takes time. And adding doodles or other notes takes time.

But all of this is worth it if you love to create art while keeping track of books.

I see a bound book journal as more a labor of love and a creative outlet than a data log. This one might be good for me because if it’s pretty, I’ll keep coming back for more!

Computer Spreadsheet

A computer spreadsheet to log books will be incredibly simple.

It’s quick to type up book info and you can even sort or filter the spreadsheet to pull up certain genres or authors. I find this very appealing because one of the reasons I want to keep a book journal is to look at the trends I follow while reading. Maybe I can find a pattern in the authors I chose, the times of year I read most or the length of books I enjoy.

Printout

If you want to mix and match computer-generated logs with handwritten entries, try a printout. There’s an infinite amount of free book log templates available for you to print at home.

Simply print the book journal and fill it in as you go!

Spiral Notebook

The spiral notebook is the little sister of the bound journal. It’s the same idea, but simpler and a bit more informal.

Handwriting every entry is intimate and might help me feel more connected to the books I’m reading. I look forward to lovingly notating each and every wonderful story I consume.

Phone Note/Text/Email

If you like simple, this one is for you. Using your phone to track your books is the easiest and shortest way to go.

Send a text or email to yourself of each book you read. If I choose this method, I will include the bare minimum of Title and Author.

It doesn’t get more basic than this, but at the end of the year, I’ll still have a comprehensive list of everything I’ve read over the year. It will also include an automatic time and date stamp.

Goodreads.com

Goodreads.com is an excellent website that can be used to track your reading list. Create a bookshelf for each month or year and add books that you’ve read to each one.

It’s also a good tool to get recommendations and book reviews!

I personally started using Goodreads only recently. So far I’ve used the site as a way to add books that I’ve read and rate a few of them. It’s not a complete list and probably never will be.

I don’t add the date that I’ve completed the books and I don’t rate all of them. Maybe I’ll create a separate bookshelf for 2022 to add all the details?

What to Include?

What do I plan to include for each entry in my book journal? Here are some ideas on what I might include:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Pulication Year
  • Page Count
  • Date Started
  • Date Finished
  • Media Type
  • Genre
  • Thoughts
  • Rating
  • Book Number

I’m not sure yet how many of these items I might include, I’ll have to work that out as I go. I can always start with more info and stop including extra bits if it turns out I don’t really need it.

Time to Start a Book Journal!

I’ll prepare my book journal journey over the next few weeks and I will be ready to go starting January 1st! I’m really excited to start a new long-term project like this. Don’t worry, I’ll share plenty of updates over the next year about how my book journal is progressing. Then, I’ll follow up on January 1, 2023 with a total recap!

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