Wednesday, September 16, 2015

a look inside my book journal



It was a few months ago when I decided I wanted to keep a book journal. I'd seen a few book journals floating around the internet. There's the Moleskine Book Journal or the Reading Journal For Book Lovers and yet another The Book Lover's Journal. I read reviews and did my research about the layouts and contents within each of the books and found nothing that seemed entirely suited to what I want. So, I invented my own!



It seems really overwhelming. But let me break it down into the bits and pieces that were so important to me.

I wanted a book journal that promised me lots of flexibility and years of use, while presenting me with a way to organize the books I work through over that course of time. This means I needed:
  • Lots of pages
  • No specific letter organization (I hardly read books with Q or X titles)
  • A table of contents or the ability to make one
  • A page holder (like a ribbon)
This seemed easy enough, but I quickly realized book journals seemed to come with an inherent lettering system. Pages were labeled and tabbed so that navigation was easy and natural. However, I feel limited by the thought of eight pages allotted to each letter of the alphabet because I read all kinds of books that start with A, R, S, T and few with Q, U, X or Z.

So it seemed I needed to create a journal of my own. And between my love for the Moleskine Hardcover Notebook and my new business venture, this seemed written in the stars.


The blank pages allowed me to set up the journal however I wanted to which is lovely, but is also overwhelming. So, I did some research and checked Pinterest for book journal layouts. I found this one from Modern Mrs. Darcy so helpful and a great template for me to start designing my own Moleskine. Meld that template with bullet journaling's approach to tailoring your journal to yourself and we're here!

I started with a Table of Contents. Because I didn't want to allot a certain amount of pages to each letter or try to guess what letters work where, I decided to number all of my journal's pages and list each book by title in the alphabetical Table of Contents. This is not perfect because the books will not be in alphabetical order on each page, but I'm okay with that.

The trickiest part (so far) for me is remembering to put the book and page number in the Table of Contents each time you list a new one in the journal.


I wanted to be sure any future reader of my journal understood my approach to the book journal, so I listed my Notes & Rating rules in the front of the journal. I quickly realized there's a certain attitude that goes with each star that's assigned to a book and I want to be sure I'm on the same page as anyone who lays eyes on my bookish opinions.


I recommend writing down your rules. If you don't finish a book, what happens? How many pages do you owe a book before you put it down? Do you have a certain amount of time you allow yourself to read a book or no?

There were certain things that were important to include in my review. They are:
  • The title and author
  • The stars (as laid out by the Rules & Ratings page)
  • Date of publishing and number of pages
  • Date started - Date finished
  • How I found my book (via blog, Amazon recommendation, friend, library, etc) 
  • Favorite quotes with page number
  • My thoughts and reflections on the book
And so, this is how I laid it out: 




It seems really overwhelming. But the real task is writing down the things that are important to you, then laying them out in a way that's comfortable and easily managed by you. This might take some trial and error, but alas, it's not brain surgery.


So, hit me with the questions, with each and every one of the questions.

Want a book journal of your own (with your own personalized design)?

And, if you keep a book journal, tell me what's in it. What did I miss? What else should I add?

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