Keep a reading journal


In 2017 I kept my first reading journal - a very simple drawing of a bookshelf in my personal diary - every time I would finish a book I would add it’s name to the shelf. It was such an easy way to remember what I’d read and I could hardly believe how many books I’d actually got through by the end of the year! It also helped me do a round up of my favourite eight books at the year’s end - which were for 2017:

1. Story of a soul by St. Therese of Liseux
2. Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge
3. Dark Emu: Black Seeds by Bruce Pascoe
4. This House of Grief by Helen Garner
5. Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit
6. The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Fraser-Rowland
7. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
8. Storytelling with Children by Nancy Mellon

I decided to do it again in 2018 but instead of the bookshelf I drew a little front cover for each book and gave them a crude star rating (up to five stars with an extra heart symbol for those especially loved). My favourite eight for 2018:

1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. What the light hides by Mette Jakobsen
3. Island Magic by Elizabeth Goudge
4. Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird
5. Hammer Is The Prayer by Christian Wiman
6. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
7. Therapeutic Storytelling: 101 Healing Stories for Children for by Susan Perrow
8. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

And now in 2019, I’ve well and truly started my reading journal - this time drawing out the book covers but also leaving enough room to give a star rating AND a short comment. This feels like the best approach yet; I enjoy the challenge of visually depicting the front cover and being able to sum up in a few words the experience of reading it.

How about you? Do you keep a record of the books you’ve read or review them in some way? I have plenty of friends who use Goodreads to rate/review their books, but I much prefer the act of drawing/writing it out hardcopy and in a place like my journal which I use for so many things; daily to-dos, planning, ideas, noting down funny things my kids say, vivid dreams I’ve had, poetry, illustrating. It just seems right to include the books I’m reading in there too. In years to come I want to be able to look back at who I was through my journals; my words and preoccupations.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading at the moment…