Monday, March 22, 2021

SOL 22/31: Tracking my Reading Life!

Joanne Toft wrote a post about reading habits and journals that inspired this post. I jotted down "time of day, places, and book journals."  An idea for another book post popped into my head so I jotted it down beside the topics I remembered from Joanne's post. I decided to focus on my book journals.

My first book journal ever was begun in July of 1997. Interspersed in the blank pages are photos of women reading and quotes about the reading life. Unfortunately, I am a sporadic recorder of what I read. This book lasted me from July 1997 until the end of 2018. I frequently fail to write down what I've read.

In January of 2019, I started my second book journal. My previous journal had been purely chronological and I would label entries as PB (picture book), MG (middle grade), BC (book club). Adult books that weren't for book clubs did not have any label. When I started my new book journal (a blank book that my son purchased in India), I decided to label the top of the page as to genre. So I have pages and pages and pages of picture books (I've gotten better about recording them) with occasional pages labeled Middle Grade/YA books, and even fewer pages labeled Adult Books. When I pulled my book journals off the shelf, I found a note inserted in my first journal with the words picture book, middle grade, adult, and book club. Book club is not a category that I've used in my new journal, but I intend to do so going forward. 

I try to track when I read a book by month and use a star system for rating books. My 2020 two star adult reads were Where the Crawdads Sing, Harry's Trees, and A Place for Us. I had four two star MG reads (When Stars Are Scattered, Before the Ever After, King and the Dragonflies, and A Wish in the Dark) and one three star MG read, Echo Mountain. My three star picture book/children's book/adult book (a book for all of us) for 2020 was The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse.

Before I take leave of talking about my book journals, I have to share the pages I create in the back of the journal. They include Books Currently Not Available at KCLS (sometimes I request them before the library has purchased them), Shower Baby Gifts (a list of books I like to give for baby gifts), Kid Books to Recheck (I didn't get to them before they were due at the library), and Adult Books to Recheck (often with a page number that I reached before returning the book, The Moment of Lift, p. 115).

I have quite a few friends who use Goodreads for keeping track of what they read. I have another friend who uses an elaborate Excel spread sheet for recording what she reads. I prefer to use blank journals as my vehicle for tracking what I read. What's your system?


I wish I had started tracking sooner, but these two journals represent a priceless (albeit  incomplete) peek into the past 24 years of my reading life. 


  1. I use Goodreads. I love being able to set and track a goal

    I’m intrigued at your book journal

  2. Your book journals sound so cool - a special way to keep track of your reading. I use Goodreads, but I think I need to rethink my shelf names & tags.

  3. I love the idea of book journals! I used to keep a book journal, but now I only use Goodreads. My mom is a faithful keeper of book journals, and I love going through her notebooks and seeing her personal reviews, stories, and recollections of the books she reads. I like seeing some of the titles you mentioned that were some favorites of mine: Where the Crawdads Sing, Echo Mountain, and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse!

  4. I use Goodreads because no matter where I am, I'm typically able to record my reading! And I LOVED A Wish in the Dark - so good!

  5. Ramona, I am impressed with your reading journals. It is like your created menus for various restaurants. These journals are keepsakes, special time capsules of literary note.
    I use Goodreads to keep track of adult and young adult books that I have read. But there are SO many kids books that I read - maybe I should add them to Goodreads as well?

    1. I record children's books I love, not all the ones I read. But since I can never remember book titles, it's helpful to have them for a reference.

  6. I love your book journals! And I like how you deal with kids books! I add them to Goodreads, but I've never added them to my journal because there are too many! Adding the ones you love is smart! I am trying to start my book journal back after abandoning it last year. I miss having that physical record. Thanks for the peek into yours!