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Keeping a Book Journal

If you are an avid reader, sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all the different titles that you’ve read. An easy solution is to keep a book journal. It’s something I’ve been doing for a few years now in various forms and it’s a wonderful way to revisit your thoughts on the books you’ve read and to keep track of all the titles you’ve actually made it through.

When I first started keeping a book journal, I dove in. I kept a notebook, and wrote long entries each time I finished a title that listed a bit of the plot and what I thought about the book. In some ways it also acted a bit like a diary of that time of my life. I occasionally revisit that journal and am pleased by how much my compiled thoughts can take me back to the book I was reading and to that time in my life.

After awhile of keeping that kind of book journal, however, I found that I was writing less and less about each title, and not documenting a book at all if I didn’t feel like I had time to put my thoughts down in any coherent form. For me, the biggest part of keeping a book journal is keeping track of what I’ve read. So all the detail of my thoughts about the book isn’t really what I need.

Now I keep a very different book journal. It’s an ingenious idea I stole from someone else (I won’t try and lay claim to it, but neither can I remember whose idea it was in order to give them credit): I bought an address book, and I use it for my journal. Address books come already organized by letter, so you don’t have to come up with any elaborate filing systems. In the few lines that are intended for each address, there’s just enough space for the title and author of the book, and a couple of quick words on what I thought of it. (I also include the date that I read the book, I’m not sure why!) I’ve been surprised by how much these little snapshots of titles serve to jog my memory of the book – almost as much as the long entries I used to do, but because they take so little time to write, I actually get around to completing them.

Do you keep a book journal? What do you do? Share your ideas in the comments field.

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