Start a Reading Journal for 2020

Reading has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a young girl I was way more interested in books than anything on television.

Reading spread ideas for your bullet journalUnfortunately, I haven’t been reading as much lately due to lots of other things going on.  Recently I discovered a podcast called “What Should I Read Next?” that inspired me to get back into reading.  A particular episode introduced me to #theunreadshelfproject2019 (Instagram) which I quickly decided to jump into.

In a nutshell, the challenge is about reading the books you already own rather than continuing to buy more and more books.

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Look at your bookshelf.  How many unread books do you have?  I’m embarrassed to say I have at least 1000. So I’m doing the challenge and reading some books I already own.  I’m also going to be quite selective in what I read and what I abandon and am going to track all of this in my journal.

What is a Reading Journal?

A reading journal is a place to track anything book related.  You can do this in several ways. You can use a dedicated reading journal for book lovers like this one where you journal just about what you are reading.  Or instead you could add book journaling into your regular journal practice, combining your book topics with your other life topics by adding book topics to your regular journal.  Some people choose to do a book journal online on a site like Goodreads.  

Why Should You Start a Reading Journal?

When you have a plan and write things down, you’re more likely to dedicate time to that plan.  If reading is important to you and you track it in a journal, you make space for reading to be a part of your life.  

I started a book journal many years ago because I have problems remembering what I read.  I don’t mean that I forget facts from books. I mean I forget whether I’ve even read a book.  It’s kind of crazy because I can read a book again like it is completely new to me (this can be awesome if I want to revisit a great book).

Although it is nice to read the book again as if it is new, it’s a bummer because while reading a book I’m completely into it.  I want to remember the experience. So, that’s where my journal comes in.

I started out with a dedicated reading journal where I just listed what I read with a few sentences about the book to help jog my memory.  This can be especially helpful when reading a book series to help remember where I left off.  

For example, I’m currently reading a series of books where the next book doesn’t come out for about six more months so I will need to write down what happened so far so I can jump right in.  I love these books and have cruised through them very quickly. Knowing I have so many books to go through, I don’t want to have to read them again before starting the next book.  

My Current Reading Journal

I’ve since switched to including book journaling in my bullet journal.  

I started a new journal this week and made a sticker of a bookshelf printable as my first page.  

A reading journal example with a bookshelf printable in a bullet journal

I got the printable from Heidi at startsateight.com.  I made it into a sticker using my Silhouette machine and added this font.  (I absolutely adore this font and have created daily word stickers for my journal using it.  I highly recommend purchasing this font if you like the look of hand lettering).  I am writing my currently reading titles on the spines of the books and then coloring them once the book is finished.  

My bullet journal also includes the rest of my life:  my appointments, to dos, collections and lists.  I love that everything is in one place and I carry it with me everywhere.  That’s why I switched from a dedicated book journal. I found I was forgetting to write in it!  That defeated the purpose. When I have it with me everywhere I go, it’s much easier for me to remember.  

Book Journal Supplies

Now, you don’t need to make your own stickers or anything like that.  You can keep things really simple, which I’ve done with my other pages.  All you really need is

That’s it!  No need to overcomplicate Other than some books to write about 🙂

What Do You Put In a Book Journal?

There are several ideas of things to put in a book journal.  

One of my favorites that I am starting this week is tracking for a book challenge!  I am doing the reading challenge from Modern Mrs Darcy.   I also set up a challenge on Goodreads.  You can connect with me here.  I’d love some Goodreads buddies.  

I’ve included a picture of my reading challenge item page.  (You can see why I like to make stickers using my favorite font haha.  I’m not very good at hand lettering, though I’m working on it with my Tombow markers).  

Bullet journal books to read for a book challenge spread

Here are some other ideas for your book journal pages:

  • Books I read
  • Books I want to read
  • Books I want to buy
  • Things to remember from books
  • Books I abandoned  (I love this idea!  Check out the cute sticker I put on this page from this shop on Etsy.  I think it is funny haha…book title I wrote on the page covered to protect the author).  A reading journal example of a page listing abandoned books
  • Authors to revisit
  • Books to reread
  • Books recommended by friends
  • Books I heard about and want to try (specify where and why)
  • My favorite books of all time (or of the year)

Reading Journal Ideas From Others:

You can find so many reading journal examples on Instagram (but don’t get overwhelmed, your journal does not have to look like that.  Mine won’t). 

This reading journal example is my favorite and was pointed out by Modern Mrs. Darcy in one of her courses.  I love this idea from @kacplanner

A book journal example of a book challenge using a drawn out bingo card. On the left hand side the person has descriptions of books and on the right hand side is the bingo card with stickers of small book covers showing when that book was read

As you can see, she’s turned a book journal into a bingo card and her chips are cute little book covers!  I absolutely love this and could totally see making the little book covers into stickers with the Silhouette.  That would be kind of fun 🙂  Maybe I’ll write a post on how to do that!

Here is another cute one that’s a list of books @tasseographic read for the year in 2016.  What a great drawing!

Reading journal example using a list of all the books the person read in a year with a beautiful owl drawing.

And a super cute bookshelf spread from @reiki_wahwah:

A reading journal example using a drawing of a shelf with stacked books.

There are a ton of ideas on Instagram if you’re looking for inspiration.  I looked under the hashtags #bookjournal and #bookjournals. Again, do not get discouraged by the gorgeous pages, just get inspiration. 

In my opinion the best part of your book journal is how it helps you with you reading life, not necessarily how it looks.  🙂

If you have any other ideas about what to put in a reading journal, I’d love to hear them.  Leave a comment!