So I guess my first Book Journal entry might as well be about….well…my Book Journal.
Yes, I have an actual, physical Book Journal. In fact, the one I use is Busy B’s Book Journal, which is designed specifically for book lovers. (Just to be clear – I have no affiliation with Busy B and this is just my personal review. I have requested permission to use my own photographs of the journal.) Here’s my little beauty:
My camera doesn’t show it all that well, but it’s a fabric cover with lovely pastel colours, which really drew me in, and a thin elastic strap to hold it closed – gorgeous design. Inside, it’s the perfect organisation tool for any book-lover.
To start with, as you open the journal, you have a pocket on the left-hand side filled with some sticky tabs and stickers and the journal is broken down into sections with the ease of cut-out tabs:
The first section, Book Club, I currently haven’t had any use for. I don’t belong to any book clubs, but have found myself considering joining/starting one. With sites like Goodreads these days, you can be a member of a book club without ever leaving your home. However, I don’t read consistently – I have spurts and have periods where I slow-down and therefore, I like reading at my own pace and a book club may not be ideal for me. Nonetheless, there is space in this section for dates & notes related to book club meetings.
The next section, ‘Read’ is the heart of the book, as this is where you keep track of what you have read and your thoughts on it. I’ve chosen to add a little more personalisation by adding in pictures of the book covers (I actually try to find the cover of the precise edition I read). I’m a very visual person, so by adding this little touch, I can very quickly recall my general thoughts or feelings towards a book.
Each page in this section has a blank star-rating for you to complete, as well as a ‘Final Word’ slot, where you can add your one-word reaction to a book. I really love this feature as it makes you zero-in on your overall experience of a book. There are some stickers included in that left-hand pocket for this. I would love the option to buy additional sheets of these stickers, as I think I’ll get through these in no time. You could always write in your own word (which is probably what I will do) or use/make other stickers, but it really looks pretty using the stickers provided.I use the sticky notes to add in extra info that I don’t want to clog up my mini-review – sometimes just a note that might signify something particular to me about my memories of the book, like ‘Christmas gift from X’, or ‘Read on holiday in X’, and other times to remind me of things like ‘made into a film – watch this’ or ‘part of a series – read the others!!’, and I find that this encourages my engagement with reading.
The options to categorise/ log info for the book are perfect – right down to tracking whether the copy you have is hard-copy, e-book or audio. I make great use of this functionality, as I utilise all three on a regular basis (in my Filofax, I have to carry around a list of books I own, as I have previously bought a book, only to find that I actually have it on Kindle!) – so this is a great organisation tool and helps me think about what I’m reading i.e. what authors or genres might I want to explore further?
The next section is ‘To Read’; a place to finally keep a concise catalogue of books you want to get to. Mine is actually the shortest that it has been in a very long time!! You even have a little space for ‘notes on each book – I use this to remind me what it was that I saw/read/heard that made me take an interest in the book and how much I wanted to read it.
The ‘On-Loan’ section is one I could have done with years ago!! I’m pretty hesitant about lending out my books anyway, but I do love to spread the joy of a good book and sometimes people are more receptive when you just hand it to them, so it’s great to have a section where I can document my borrowings (including those I have myself borrowed – my old library loans attest to my forgetfulness in this regard).
You finally also get the bonus of a notes section (every avid reader needs notes, right?). I actually decided to utilise this for more books that I have read, but don’t really have a lot to say about. Basically, I didn’t want them taking up pages in the pretty section!
I’ve had a lot of fun filling this in – I’ve had to remember as many books as possible from my past (I’m sure a fair few dozen are lost to the ether) and it’s brought back a lot of memories and also given me inspiration – there are books I can’t wait to re-read, series I always meant to finish and authors I want to look further into. There’s not a huge amount of space for the comments, which is great – it makes me narrow down what really stood out to me from each book in a concise way.
The overall layout layout of the journal is brilliant and with its colourful and organisational design, it supersedes any other book journals I’ve seen on the market. I’ve already decided that I’ll need another one when I run out space!!
Now that I’ve explained how I chronicle my book reading, I’ll also be posting book reviews/discussions, so be sure to check back for those, too.
Happy reading (and journaling)!