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How to Start a Reading Journal

Hello and welcome dear reader! Belle here. Arya thought it would be a good idea for me to share how I made my reading or book journal. I am in no way an expert when it comes to journaling and there are so many different ways for one to journal, but I will share my journaling ways to see if it will inspire you. I never thought I would be a person who keeps up with a reading journals. Now that I do it, I find it helpful to me as an avid reader.

Why I Book Journal:

Through my many years of reading, I have found that I forget what I read, the plot of the books I have read, or what my overall thoughts on my previous reads. So in order to have a way of solidifying what I have read into my mind I started a reading journal. All of my past reads are in one place and I have the option of being able to look back at the progress of my reading for the year.

I know there are apps that one can download onto their phone to do the same things as my physical reading journal. Personally, I have tried some of those apps and have found that they do not work for me the way I need. All of the apps I have tried track reading time in hours and minutes. For me, this method was not conducive to my schedule as some of my reading is done during five-minute breaks in between my college courses. This leads to the app not being beneficial to me and makes journaling the best way for me to track what I have read.

How I got into Journaling:

I was introduced to the idea of journaling by my roommate who is an avid bullet journaler. Of course, her journal is used to keep track of her college course assignments but without her, I would have never thought to use journaling as a tool to use with my reading. There was a lot of trial and error to find the best way for the journal to work for me but I eventually found what supplies and spreads work best for me as a reader.

What is needed to make a reading journal:

In reality, all you need to start a reading journal is a love for reading, a writing utensil, and a notebook. A reading journal is something that can be as detailed and extravagant or as simple as the creator wishes the journal to be. When it comes to my personal reading journal I use it as a way to show love for books and show my personality.

For my journal, I chose to use a cheap bullet journal I received for Christmas. I prefer to use a bullet journal rather than a lined notebook as I enjoy the way the bullets allow me to keep my journal spreads looking uniform. In order to create my spread, I like to use Papermate Flair medium tip pens in different colors. I use these to add some much-needed color to the journal. A 0.7 red pen is used to write my book reviews and a 1.0 black pen is used to write any quotes that I like.

There are some people that invest in washi tape, stamps, and stencils to use in their reading journals. The reason these supplies are chosen is due to the fact that certain people use their reading journals as a way to showcase their creativity. While this is certainly an ok thing to do, it is important to note that one does not need to spend a lot of money and invest in a lot of craft supplies to have a reading journal and have it be successful for you.

Overall Journal Spreads:

For those of you who are new to journaling, a spread is essentially the page layout for each page of your journal. In my journal, I have three spread designs that I use. There are many different kinds of spreads that can be created but these are the ones that I have found that are the most useful for me. The first spread I have is an overall book log. The page is full of hand-drawn images of little book outlines and one outline gets filled in with each book I complete. Having this spread gives me the ability to track how many books I read a year.

The second spread I have is just a place for me to put down any recommendations I receive from a YouTube video, Instagram, book store employees, or Arya. Having these recommendations in one place allows me the opportunity to keep a list of books I need to look into before adding the books to my TBR (To Be Read) list. If I did not have this spread, I would have too many lists of books to keep track of and could lose a recommendation of a book that I may really like.

My last type of spread is one that is repeated throughout the entire journal. I have a two-page spread for each book I read. The first page of the spread contains the book’s information such as its title and the author. I also include the dates that I started and ended the book, my rating out of five stars and my overall review of the book. Having the second page is something that is my personal preference since this is where I will copy any quotes from the book that I liked. Words have always influenced my life so I like to have the space to be able to keep track of lines that I find empowering, humorous, or meaningful in one place.

In the end, reading journaling is not for everyone. Arya is the type of person that does not have the time or patience to sit and fill out a spread after finishing a book. Yet for some people, this is an excellent way to keep track of books that were read and personal thoughts on the book. It is worth a try as it does not require much and could be very beneficial to many readers. I hope that this guide was helpful to you and that you enjoyed it. Thank you so much and stay tuned for our next article.


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