As a lover of all things journaling, I was super excited to hear about the new book journal by Anne Bogel.
You see, I stopped reading for a long time…just didn’t find time for it…even though reading has always been one of my favorite things to do.
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I had a long commute and during that commute I was listening to a ton of podcasts.
I decided to try out some new podcasts and found “What Should I Read Next?” and it started me reading again! Anne Bogel (or Modern Mrs. Darcy) has a passion for reading that’s contagious.
So I think you will love this new book journal from Anne Bogel and have to share it with you. (Make sure you read the end of this post though to see some reasons you might not love it).
Size of the Book Journal
First of all, it’s super cute! It’s about the size of a B6 planner, coming in at 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.1 inches (according to Amazon, I didn’t measure this myself). This is going to easily fit in your purse or maybe even in a coat pocket!
That said, some people don’t like it because of this. They would prefer more space to write about their books and don’t like that the font is small.
I love that it has just a small amount of space on each page because I don’t want my journaling to ever feel like a chore!
What’s Included in The Book Journal
This may best be described as a journal to catalog your reading for a year. Keep that in mind if you’re someone who needs to start a journal or planner in January.
I recommend you just start it when you get it though. I started mine on September 25, 2021 and wrote that on the first page. There is only one section where this might be an issue and that is on the reading tracker page.
Here are the pages that’re included:
- Getting Started
- Journal Prompts About Reading
- Reading Tracker
- Book Lists
- Genre Favorites
- Seasonal Selections
- My “To Be Read” List
- My Reading Log
- Reading Goals
- Five Ways to Get More out of Your Reading Life
- Five Tips to Help You Read More
- Tips for Overcoming a Reading Rut
- A Book Club Guide
- Ten Questions That Work for Any Book Discussion
- Wonderfully Discussable Books
- Tools for the Reading Life
- More Book Lists
- Favorites and Other Logs
- Reflecting on My Reading Year
Here’s a short flip through for you 🙂
Table of Contents
When you first open the book you will see a table of contents. Anne added some really cool pages to this which are dispersed throughout the reading journal. When I was paging through (before looking at the table of contents), it felt like there was a nice surprise every few pages that included book recommendations and other things.
Even writing the list above, I noticed some things I didn’t the first time through. Little gifts.
Most of the table of contents pages include a number and a blank space to write your own title. This is similar to what you would find in a bullet journal index where you write in your own titles. This makes sense because most of the pages are going to be dedicated to books you read during the year.
Introduction and Getting Started
Anne is a fabulous writer. She kind of invites you into the journal and then recommends how to use the journal. Her passion for reading comes through as she describes the journal.
Reading Journal Prompts
There are a couple of different areas where she has you think through some of your reading habits and your preferences. The first section is called “A Snapshot of My Reading Life Right Now” and the second is “Diagnose Your Reading Taste.”
These were just a few pages but I liked that they made me thoughtful about what I was choosing to read and whether I was happy about that. It made me think about which kind of books I’d like to spend my precious reading time on.
Reading Habit Tracker
This is probably the section where you’re most likely going to notice that this is a yearly journal. In fact, I don’t think you’re going to notice it other than on these pages. (So please try to let go of your need to start this in January!)
I started my journal on September 25. I decided to write the rest of the days of September at the top of the page with little circles underneath them so that I could just start now!
Why wait? 🙂
I love using a habit tracker for things I like to do like reading. One of the benefits of using a habit tracker is that it encourages you to create streaks. You don’t want to have blank spots because you missed a day!
A note to the author: you may want to leave this section undated in the future to reduce anxiety in those who feel uncomfortable starting a dated journal at any time other than January.
Book Recommendation Lists
The author included book lists throughout the book. These include some of her favorite books in genres such as mystery, historical fiction, love stories, and more. Other book lists include books to read in a certain season of the year, long books, books about books, and so much more.
I love the idea of being able to check books off of a recommendation list, and I trust her recommendations after listening to her podcast.
Yes, some of her tastes vary from mine, but I think that the journal prompts in the beginning of the book will help you to figure out which book lists to pay attention to.
Throughout the book the author gives little reading tips, such as how to read more and reach your reading goals, and how to overcome a reading rut.
There are also quotes interspersed throughout the book.
A great surprise for me about this journal was how much it made me think about my reading choices.
Book Logs and Lists
Of course this book includes reading lists, since that is usually what you want to include in a book journal. There are two kinds of lists included in the main section of the book:
- Books to Read (32 Slots)
- Reading Log (Finished Books) (100 pages)
First, there is a list of books to read. The intention of these pages are to make sure you always have books to read next. These are limited in number, which made me stop and think about what I wanted to put on these pages.
I’ve decided that I’m only going to write the books I most want to read in this section. And with those, I’m only going to write the ones that I might forget about if I don’t write them down.
I tend to buy a lot of books, so don’t want to clog up these pages with things I am only marginally interested in or things I will obviously read, like this one that just came out from my favorite author Michael J. Sullivan.
The “Books To Read” section has you write down the book and why you have it on your to read list. This might help you to jog your memory of why you added it in the first place.
As an aside, this is part of why I like this journal. It is already making me much more thoughtful about which books I want to spend my time with.
Instead of buying all the books that sound kind of interesting, I can limit my purchases to things I will actually read.
The next section is your reading log. This is where you write down your books that you’ve completed, rate the books, and answer some short questions about the books. Questions include:
- How I Discovered the Book
- Memorable Quotes
- Thoughts and Impressions
Then there are items where you can rate your book in a few different ways and a section on who you’d recommend it to.
I feel sort of conflicted about these pages because I prefer a visual representation of my book journaling. I will continue to use my printable bookshelf journaling page in addition to the pages in this book journal.
In my digital book journal I created pages that allow me to add a picture of the cover that I can click on to go to my written review, another way to have a visual representation of my reading. Sometimes I need all the help I can get to remember things 😉
Although these pages don’t fully work for me, I’m going to stick with it for awhile and see how I like it. I’m just going to supplement it by keeping a copy of my bookshelf printable in my main planner.
As a developer of planners, I know how hard it can be to make the questions relevant to each user. The prompts on the book pages aren’t really ones I would usually use. But that’s ok because I can write whatever I want to since it’s my book 🙂
For example, the first book that I logged was an audiobook so I didn’t have any quotes to add. Instead I wrote about some of my thoughts about how the book applied to my work.
I then wrote some short impressions or thoughts, which I find helpful because I can look back to see why I liked the book and whether I would want to read more like it.
At the bottom of the page, I wrote a note to myself that I liked listening to the book while drawing. This might be a good reminder in the future if I forget how much I liked that.
That’s an example of how I would make the journal page my own when using it if the prompts don’t work for me.
I recommend paying attention mostly to the structure of the book and whether it works for you rather than to the actual prompts. You don’t have to fill everything in as written, or at all. I probably won’t add the date I started or finished the book. I probably won’t write down themes, the length, or the year published because those things don’t really matter to me.
Just remember, it’s your journal. You can write whatever you want in those blanks or even leave them empty!
My Impressions of The Journal
Overall, I like the journal and think it’s pretty cute. I really enjoy the little tidbits she wrote throughout the book. I have another book of hers and find her writing inviting and thoughtful.
If you have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, the book I just mentioned is part of that! That’s a great find. Get a free month of Kindle Unlimited here and read it for free.
What I Love About The Journal
I love the size. It’s cute. I can carry it with me easily. It’s not going to take up a lot of space on my bookshelf, so if I do choose to have one of these each year it’ll be easy to keep.
I love the book lists because I value Anne Bogel’s reading recommendations and I like having them all in one place.
I love the table of contents, although the lines are understandably very small. The first book title I wrote in my new journal is only one word and took up the whole line. So, that might be an issue.
There are bookmarks to help you keep your place.
The journal prompts helped me to think about and be more intentional about my reading.
What’s Missing (For Me)?
I tend to read a lot of books at once. I didn’t feel like there was a place to put the books I’m currently reading but not finished with yet.
I could add them to the Reading Log section but those seem to be for finished books.
One thing I learned over the past few years is that you don’t have to finish a book if you don’t like it.
I don’t want to waste a page on a book I don’t want to finish, so I won’t be including my current reads in the book until they feel like a sure thing. Instead I will put those on my bookshelf printable. I put all the books I’m reading on the printable and then color them in when they are done.
I also have some issues with remembering what I read, so I like to keep track of my series. Although I could page through the book to find which book I last read in a series, I like to keep these all together. It’s just easier for me.
I created a series tracker for this purpose and will continue to use that as well.
If you like digital journaling, the digital reading journal includes all of the reading journal pages I’ve created so far.
Should You Buy the Book?
So, do I recommend this book? Yes. I’m overall happy with it.
If you like cute journals and want to have somewhere to reflect on your reading that doesn’t take a lot of effort or time, this is a great little book.
My favorite thing about the book so far is that it made me much more intentional about what I choose to read.
I think most readers and lovers of books will like the journal because of the thoughtful prompts, book recommendation lists, and other special things that are included. It’s a pretty journal with different colored pages, which makes a planner lover’s heart sing.
I’m not sure about whether most readers will love the book logging sections. There are 32 spots for books “to read” which on the one hand helps you to limit what you put there and be intentional, but on the other hand that is sort of limited.
I like it right now because it made me really think about whether or not to put something there.
Also, if you’re someone who likes to write lengthy thoughts about a book, this is not the journal for you. You need to go into this journal with the mindset that you’re going to just write a few things in there (unless you write very small). I’d consider this to be more of a quick reference to your reading instead of a full blown book review journal if that makes sense.
I don’t like to write a lot about a book, so that works for me. However, I still find that I want to supplement this with my other reading journals, mostly for the visual aspect or for tracking things like series.
Looking at online reviews, the biggest complaints are the size of the book (not enough space) and the print. The font used in the book is pretty small. Others have complained about the need to start it in January, but remember, that’s not really true. You can start it at any time.
Overall, I think this is a great little book and I’m happy I purchased it.
One more thing because I know how you are 🙂
You’re going to get this book and be scared to mess it up because it’s so pretty. We’ve talked about fear of writing in a blank journal before.
This book is so cute that you’re going to feel that here as well.
Open up the cover and on the first page it says “I started this journal on….” WRITE THE DATE! Now you have to start it. You’ve already messed it up by writing on it!
It’s fine 🙂 USE IT!